MAC Championship Game 2011: Northern Illinois Rallies For 23-20 Win Over Ohio

Nothern Illinois dug itself out of a 20-0 deficit to beat Ohio, 23-20, on a last-second field goal.

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MAC Championship Game Final Score: Northern Illinois Rallies To Beat Ohio, 23-20

The 2011 MAC Championship Game wasn't a high-scoring shootout like most expected it would be, but it did provide some serious drama in the form of a comeback. Northern Illinois trailed 20-0 in the second half of the game and appeared to be well on its way to losing. However, the Huskies battled back, and thanks to 23 unanswered points, they won by a field goal to clinch their first MAC title since 1983.

After one half of action at Ford Field, this game appeared to be as good as over. Ohio kicked a pair of field goals and had a pair of touchdowns in the first half to go on top by a score of 20-0. Although NIU got on the board with a TD in the third quarter, the Huskies found themselves trailing by 13 points with less than nine minutes left. To make matters worse, Ohio was driving and was a touchdown away from putting the nail in the coffin. Instead of that, however, Ohio opened the coffin up when Tyler Tettleton was picked off deep in NIU territory.

The Huskies quickly capitalized on the interception with a four-play, 63-yard touchdown drive that only ran 1:13 off the clock. The Huskies missed the extra point, but this was now a one score game, and NIU got the ball back after an Ohio drive resulted in a punt and only ran three minutes off the clock. Once again, it didn't take NIU long to score, and after only 1:44 the Huskies were back in the end zone to tie the game up at 20.

Ohio once again couldn't do much offensively and had to punt. The Huskies took over at their own 36-yard line with 1:18 to play. Thanks to a 27-yard pass from Chandler Harnish to Perez Ashford on the opening play of the drive, NIU quickly moved into Ohio territory. Thanks to a 15-yard pass to Martel Moore two plays later, NIU moved into field goal range. After a three-yard run to set up the kick, Mathew Sims made a 33-yard attempt as the clock expired to give NIU a 23-20 victory.

Following their first MAC championship in nearly 30 years, the Huskies are likely headed to the Bowl. Ohio, on the other hand, is likely off to Boise for the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

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