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MAC Championship Game: Northern Illinois (9-3) vs. Ohio (9-3)

December 02, 2011

The first conference championship game of the weekend kicks off Friday night at 7 Eastern from Ford Field in Detroit when Northern Illinois and Ohio University meet. The Huskies, who have won seven games in a row, are 3.5-point college football bets favorites on Championship 2011

Both teams are looking for redemption as Ohio lost to Central Michigan in the 2009 title game and Northern Illinois lost to Miami (Ohio) in the championship game last season, falling 26-21 on a touchdown with 33 seconds remaining.

The best player on the field will be NIU QB Chandler Harnish, who was named the MAC MVP and Offensive Player of the Year. The senior ranks 15th in the country and third in the MAC in rushing yards per game with 112.6 and averages 7.9 yards per carry with 1,351 yards on 172 runs. Harnish also ranks 15th in the country in passing efficiency with a 154.36 mark as he is completing 63 percent (203-of-322) of his passes for 2,692 yards with 23 touchdowns and four interceptions.

He has accounted for 34 total touchdowns in 2011 with 23 passing and 11 rushing, and his rushing yardage total ranks fourth among the list of 10 players that have passed for 2,000 yards and run for 1,000 in a single season all-time. He has run for 100 or more yards in each of the Huskies’ last four games and six times overall with a career best of 229 yards on the ground versus Western Michigan (Oct. 15).

A four-year starter, Harnish has totaled 2,955 career rushing yards and 8,420 career passing yards and needs only 45 rushing yards to become only the third quarterback in FBS history to rush for 3,000 yards and pass for 8,000 yards in a career.

Ohio U landed a league-high 11 players on the all-MAC team. QB Tyler Tettleton was named to the All-MAC third team. He has set 11 single season school records in his first season as a starter. He has accounted for 34 touchdowns (26 passing; 8 rushing) and he is also one of just seven quarterbacks nationally that have thrown 26-or-more touchdowns and seven interceptions or less.

A win over Northern Illinois would give the Bobcats’ first-ever Mid-American Conference Championship game title. The Bobcats rank third in the MAC in total offense (461.0) and fourth in total defense (351.1).

Friday night’s game will mark the 19th meeting between the two teams. The series is tied at nine wins apiece. The first time the two teams met was back on Nov. 23, 1968 with Ohio earning a 28-12 victory in Athens, Ohio. The last meeting took place on Nov. 21, 2009 in Athens, Ohio. In that contest, Ohio defeated Northern Illinois 38-31.

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Sportsbook Advisor Pick: Frank Solich is the man and has a great program at Ohio. We like them getting the points.

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Friday, December 2nd, 2011 College Football Betting 2011

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