Recap: Western Mich vs. Northern Ill
Kalamazoo, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - Drew Hare threw for 159 yards with a touchdown and ran for a pair of scores in the fourth quarter, as Northern Illinois rallied from a halftime deficit and captured a 31-21 win over Western Michigan to earn a berth in the Mid-American Conference championship game.
The Huskies (10-2, 7-1 MAC) simply needed a win to claim the West Division title for the fifth straight year and went into the break down 21-10, but stormed back with 21 unanswered points in the final 30 minutes to notch their sixth straight victory.
Northern Illinois will face East champion Bowling Green in the conference title game next Friday in Detroit.
Western Michigan (8-4, 6-2) needed a win Friday and some help to reach the MAC title game and ripped off 21 straight points after falling behind 7-0, but the Broncos did themselves in by committing six turnovers in the contest.
Christian Hagan's 40-yard field goal started Northern Illinois' comeback in the final minute of the second quarter, trimming the Huskies' deficit to 21-10.
Akeem Daniels pulled NIU within four with just over five minutes left in the third quarter with a 21-yard touchdown run to cap a 90-yard drive. The Huskies had stopped Western Michigan's first possession of the second half at their own 10.
After a Northern Illinois interception and a series of punts, the Huskies went in front with 11:37 remaining in the contest on Hare's 2-yard touchdown run.
Hagan missed a 27-yard field goal attempt on NIU's next series, but Western Michigan quarterback Zach Terrell fumbled a few plays later and the Huskies took advantage of a short field to march 26 yards for the clinching touchdown. Hare capped the four-play set with another 2-yard run to make it 31-21 with just 46 seconds to play.
Terrell was intercepted for a second time on the next play from scrimmage. He finished 23-of-33 for 256 yards with a touchdown in defeat.
Hare put the Huskies on the board first with a 65-yard touchdown pass to Aregeros Turner on the first play after the opening kickoff, but Andrew Haldeman kicked a 29-yard field goal to start Western Michigan's run of 21 straight points.
Terrell threw a 13-yard TD pass to Corey Davis later in the first quarter and Jarvion Franklin added a 2-yard touchdown run in the closing seconds of the period. A missed PAT left the score 16-7, but Haldeman kicked a 44-yard field goal early in the second quarter and a safety pushed the margin to 21-7.Game Notes