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  Quarterback Rocky Lombardi ran for three touchdowns and Jay Ducker ran for 146 yards on 29 carries to power Northern Illinois to a 41-23 victory over Kent State in the Mid-American Conference title game on Saturday. It is the Huskies' (9-4) sixth MAC title in the last 11 years and first since 2018 when it beat Buffalo. Kent State (7-6) was shooting for its first conference championship since winning it in 1972. Momentum appeared to be shifting to the Golden Flashes at the start of the second half. Andrew Glass kicked a 41-yard field goal on the opening drive for their first points of the game and the Kent State defense forced Northern Illinois to punt for the first time.

But on the next drive Dustin Crum, the MAC's most valuable player this season, was intercepted by C.J. Brown who returned it 26 yards for a touchdown as the Huskies went ahead 24-3. The Golden Flashes cut the deficit to 24-10 with 27 seconds left in the third quarter when Crum hit Nykeim Johnson on a 17-yard scoring strike. The Huskies ended Kent State's comeback hopes when Lombardi scored on a 3-yard keeper with 10:54 left making it 31-10. He added a 2-yard TD run nearly four minutes later. Kent State's Collin Schlee ran four yards for a touchdown and also threw a 7-yard TD pass to Luke Floriea as time expired to close out the scoring. Northern Illinois held Crum to 27 yards passing in the first half while building a 17-0 lead. - Northern Illinois/AP College Football


rSr/2023 QB Rocky LombardiNorthern Illinois
News Source: Northern Illinois/AP College Football



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