Northern Illinois (No. 21) will take on Kent State (No. 17) with the MAC Championship at stake and a potential BCS bid for the winner. If either team were to earn that BCS bid, it would be the first in the conference's history.
The Golden Flashes finished the regular season with an 11-1 record and are fresh off a season-finale victory over the Ohio Bobcats, 28-6.
The Huskies finished the season with the same record as the Golden Flashes and also won their season finale against the Eastern Michigan Eagles, 49-7. Northern Illinois is looking to retain its MAC crown for yet another season after an incredible 2011 MAC championship victory.
Clearly, both teams are coming into this game with a ton of momentum on their side and the stakes couldn't be any higher for either of these programs. This is easily the biggest game in either Kent State's or Northern Illinois' history.
Let's take a look at everything you need to know for the MAC Championship.
When: Friday, November 30 at 7 p.m. ET
Where: Ford Field, Detroit, Mich.
Watch: ESPN 2
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Radio: WHLO 640 AM
Players to Watch
Dri Archer, RB
As the team's leading rusher, Archer played a huge role for the Golden Flashes this season. Archer compiled 1,337 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground in 2012.
Adding to Archer's importance on this team, he was also Kent State's leading receiver with 458 yards and four touchdowns as well.
This team's offense goes through Archer in both facets, so look for the Golden Flashes' running back to play a major role in this championship game.
Trayion Durham, RB
Along with Archer, Durham is the second half of one of the best rushing attacks in the country. He ran for 1,176 yards during the regular season and also notched 14 touchdowns like Archer.
However, Durham isn't as important to this offense as Archer is considering he isn't a threat to catch the ball out of the backfield. Still, that doesn't diminish entirely how important he is to what the Golden Flashes do.
Jordan Lynch, QB
This offense lives and dies with Lynch behind center. There is no mistaking the fact that Lynch is vital to everything the Huskies do on the offensive end.
Lynch threw for 2,750 yards and 23 touchdowns to only four picks on the season. The Huskies' signal-caller was also the team's leading rusher, compiling an astounding 1,611 yards on the ground with 16 touchdowns.
Even if Kent State can get some pressure on Lynch, his blazing speed will make it almost impossible to sack him. When Lynch is rolling out of the pocket, that is a nightmare for opposing defenses because he is so versatile when the ball is in his hands.
Martel Moore, WR
Lynch is good, but he can't do this all on his own. If the running lanes aren't there for the Huskies' quarterback to take advantage of, Lynch must move the ball through the air to his No. 1 receiver.
Moore was outstanding for the Huskies this season. The senior receiver caught 67 passes for 1,015 yards and 11 scores. He gives the Huskies another option to go to in order to make big plays as evidenced by his longest reception of 73 yards this season.
But not only will Moore make a big play from time to time, he also gains consistent and solid yardage when he catches the ball, averaging 15.1 yards per catch.
The versatility of the Huskies' offense will be the difference-maker in this game. The Golden Flashes must game-plan for all the things the Huskies can throw at them on both the ground and through the air.
Kent State doesn't enjoy that same balance in its offense. Quarterback Spencer Keith can hold his own behind center, but he doesn't have anywhere near the ability to throw the ball that Lynch can.
The Golden Flashes are heavily reliant on their rushing attack and the Huskies have a superior defense that won't allow it to get going. Without much respect for the pass, Northern Illinois can focus on stopping the run, and once that's accomplished Kent State will have to rely on the weakest part of its offense, and that will spell disaster.
In the end, Northern Illinois' defense will be too much for Kent State's offense to overcome and the explosive Huskies offense will put up enough points on the board to get the job done.
Northern Illinois 28, Kent State 17
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!