DETROIT — Kent State’s magical season stopped suddenly in double overtime as they lost the MAC Championship game to Northern Illinois 44-37. Kent State saw Northern Illinois score a touchdown on its second possession. The Flashes’ chances came down to a fourth down and Spencer Keith threw an interception to seal the game for the Huskies.
Kent State struck first as Dri Archer streaked 15 yards into the end zone in the first quarter for a 7-0 lead. The touchdown was set up by the special teams as Darius Polk forced a fumble that the Golden Flashes recovered. Kent added 3 more points on a field goal, but the lead did not stick.
Northern Illinois got on the board late in the first quarter thanks to a Matthew Sims 27 yarder and Kent State led 10-3 after one. Jordan Lynch, whom Northern Illinois is touting for the Heisman, fired a 14 yard TD pass to wide open Martel Moore with 11:03 left in the half and the game was knotted at 10 apiece.
Northern Illinois took the lead 17-10 with 5:53 to go in the second quarter as Akeem Daniels punched it in from short distance. The Huskies capped a 12-play drive to reach paydirt.
Kent State came back in the third quarter to get another Cortez field goal and trail 17-13.
Northen Illinois may have salted things away in the third quarter when Jordan Lynch sprinted 44 yards, breaking Denard Robinson’s single season rushing record for quarterbacks. Lynch then scored on a short run and the Huskies were in command. A field goal late in the third quarter gave the Huskies a two touchdown lead heading into the final quarter.
The Golden Flashes cut the lead to just seven points with under five minutes left as Spencer Keith dove into the end zone on a five yard run. That made it 27-20. But only 15 seconds later, Kent State tied the game. Zack Hitchens rumbled 22 yards with a fumble and it was all tied up at 27.
Jordan Lynch and the Huskies came back to take the lead on another TD run by the QB and they led 34-27.
Kent State showed great poise late in regulation as Spencer Keith hit Tim Erjavec from Lake Catholic on a 22 yard strike with 44 seconds left. It was 34 all to force overtime.
The two teams traded field goals in the first overtime.
Jordan Lynch leaped into the end zone in the second overtime to give the Huskies a 44-37 lead. That set the stage for the fateful last possession for the Flashes.
Kent State saw its chances to go to a BCS Bowl dim due to the loss.