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N. Illinois Wins MAC In Double OT

In incredibly close game, Kent St. falls, 44-37

December 1, 2012
By NOAH TRISTER AP Sports Writer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

DETROIT - Jordan Lynch ran for three touchdowns, including a 2-yarder in the second overtime, and Demetrius Stone's interception in the end zone gave No. 19 Northern Illinois a 44-37 victory over No. 18 Kent State in a stirring Mid-American Conference championship game Friday night.

Both teams were hoping a win would boost them into the top 16 of the BCS rankings and give them a berth in one of college football's marquee bowls. Northern Illinois (12-1) dominated for much of the night, but the Golden Flashes (11-2) tied it at 34 in the final minute of regulation.

Kent State trailed 27-13 earlier in the fourth before scoring two touchdowns in a 15-second span.

It was 34-all at the end of regulation, and after the teams traded field goals in the first overtime, Northern Illinois needed only two plays to reach the end zone. A 23-yard run by Akeem Daniels set up Lynch's final TD.

Kent State reached the 9, but on fourth down, Spencer Keith had to scramble to his right and throw a desperation pass that was picked off by Stone in the end zone.

Northern Illinois won its second straight MAC title, the first team to do that since Central Michigan in 2006-07.

Lynch threw for 212 yards and ran for 160, but it almost wasn't enough. Northern Illinois' three previous trips to the MAC title game were decided in the final minute, and this one took even longer.

Down by two touchdowns, Kent State rallied in stunning fashion. Keith's 5-yard touchdown run with 4:53 remaining in the fourth quarter capped a 96-yard drive. Then Lynch fumbled on what looked like a botched exchange with Daniels, and Zack Hitchens picked up the ball for the Golden Flashes and went 22 yards to the end zone.

Lynch weaved his way to a 9-yard touchdown run with 3:12 remaining, but Kent State again had an answer. Keith scrambled to his left and threw a 19-yard scoring pass to Tim Erjavec with 44 seconds to play.

Kent State came in ranked 17th in the BCS standings, meaning a win might have put the Golden Flashes in the top 16 and in position for a bid to a top bowl. The Huskies are 21st in the BCS standings and will need a bigger jump in the rankings.

It was the first MAC championship game to go to overtime.

Pac-12

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) - Kevin Hogan threw for 155 yards and a touchdown and ran for 47 yards and another score to help eighth-ranked Stanford beat No. 17 UCLA 27-24 in the Pac-12 championship game Friday night.

As a defender barreled into him, Hogan hurled a 26-yard tying touchdown to Drew Terrell on third-and-15 early in the fourth quarter. Jordan Williamson kicked his second field goal from 36 yards with 6:49 remaining for the go-ahead score to seal Stanford's first conference title since the 1999 season.

UCLA quarterback Brent Hundley almost brought the Bruins (9-4) back, but Ka'imi Fairbairn missed a 52-yard field goal wide left in closing moments for a disappointing loss.

The Cardinal (11-2) will play the winner of the Big Ten title game between Nebraska and Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1.

 
 

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