- Scott Powers, ESPN Staff Writer
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How it happened: Another MAC offensive slugfest appeared to be on the horizon when Bowling Green scored on its first play and Northern Illinois answered two plays later. At 14:00 of the first quarter, there had already been 152 yards accumulated and 14 points scored. Even Northern Illinois, which was coming off its 63-point game against Toledo, couldn’t keep up that tempo. The Huskies didn’t strike as quickly from that point on, but they did continue to move the ball and put points on the board. They built a 24-7 lead in the second quarter and held Bowling Green off the rest of the way. Bowling Green’s offense faltered after its hot start. The Falcons found the end zone just once more on the night.
What it means: The victory brings Northern Illinois closer to the MAC West Division title. It improved to 5-1 in the conference. Toledo entered the evening with the same record, but Northern Illinois owns the tiebreaker after defeating the Rockets last week. Toledo was also in action against Western Michigan on Tuesday, but the game was still ongoing when Northern Illinois’ game completed.
Player of the game: Northern Illinois quarterback Chandler Harnish continued his dominance in the MAC. He was 16-of-26 passing for 294 yards and two touchdowns and he ran for 151 yards and one touchdown on 17 carries. He leads all FBS quarterbacks in rushing yards. He sat most of the fourth quarter with the game secured.
Outside the box: Northern Illinois’ defense has had its troubles this season, and it looked as if those troubles might continue Tuesday after allowing the first play to go for a touchdown. But the Huskies’ defense stepped up after that. With its shutout of Bowling Green in the second half, it was the first time the Huskies blanked a team for an entire half this season.