Northern Illinois at Kent State (6.5, 67.5)
For the first time since 2003, two ranked teams will meet in the Mid-American Conference championship game when No. 17 Kent State and No. 21 Northern Illinois meet Friday at Ford Field in Detroit. Recording-breaking seasons have both teams on the brink of program history and the stakes couldn’t be much higher for either team as a possible automatic bid to a BCS game awaits the winner. Although the MAC is not an automatic-bid BCS conference, league champions from mid-major conferences can receive one if they finish the season ranked in the top 16 and above a champion from an automatic-qualifying conference in the final BCS standings. The Golden Flashes enter the game on a school-record 10-game winning streak and have defeated 12 straight conference foes overall. The Huskies, winners of 11 straight, are riding a 16-game conference winning streak – a run that began with a 40-10 victory over Kent State last season.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2
LINE: Northern Illinois -6.5, O/U 67.5.
ABOUT NORTHERN ILLINOIS (11-1, 8-0 MAC): The Huskies will be seeking their second straight MAC title behind coach Dave Doeren and have already set a school record for victories. The offense is in the capable hands of darkhorse Heisman Trophy candidate Jordan Lynch, who extended his own FBS record of consecutive 100-yard rushing performances by a quarterback to 10 in the Northern Illinois’ 49-7 victory over Eastern Michigan on Saturday. In the same game, sophomore Tommylee Lewis became the first player in school history to score three kickoff return touchdowns in his career.
ABOUT KENT STATE (11-1, 8-0): The Golden Flashes, who have already locked up their first postseason game since the 1972 Tangerine Bowl, possess two 1,000-yard rushers in Dri Archer (1,373) and Trayion Durham (1,199), and as a result, rank 11th in the FBS in rushing offense. Archer – the school’s single season record-holder in touchdowns with 21 – leads the nation in kick return average, is fifth in all-purpose yards and tied for ninth in scoring. Kent State also ranks second in the FBS with a plus-20 turnover margin and 35 forced turnovers.
* Huskies are 7-1-1 ATS in their last nine games overall.
* Golden Flashes are 4-0 ATS in their last four vs. a team with a winning record.
* Huskies are 5-0 ATS in their last five meetings.
* Under is 4-1 in the last five meetings.
1. Northern Illinois has won five straight games in this series.
2. Only Ohio State and Middle Tennessee have matched Kent State’s six-win increase from last season.
3. The Huskies and Golden Flashes are among five FBS teams to have won 15 of their last 17 games overall.