DETROIT-What took over three months to build came crashing down in an excruciating 30 minute half. Bowling Green jumped all over NIU in the first half, totaling almost 400 total yards of offense and snatching a 31-13 lead that the Huskies couldn’t erase.
“They came out and played a great first half. I thought we responded in the second half but it was too big a hole," said NIU coach Rod Carey
“We came out and we were kind of flat and before we knew it, they were up by 10 points and they were up by 17 points, and we never really got into that rhythm,” said NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch
It was the Huskies fourth straight year reaching the MAC title game here in Detroit, something they thought would be an advantage. But it was the Falcons who showed poise and came up with production when it mattered most.
“We would’ve been absolutely crushed if we didn’t win this game. We came into this game thinking that we were the better team and that we were going to win," says Bowling Green coach Dave Clawson
“I took it a little personally, just a little bit of motivation. But when it came down to it you still have got to execute the plays that coach calls and not get overwhelmed in that kind of stuff," says Bowling Green quarterback Matt Johnson
Presumably gone are any hopes of a BCS bowl, or Heisman chances for Lynch. But the Huskies still have a strong 12-1 mark and a bowl game to play to close out their year. They plan on moving forward with their heads held high.
“I just told the defense, keep their composure, try to lift their heads up when they were down," said NIU safety Jimmie Ward. "I just try to do the best I can do.”
“We’ve got great senior leadership on this team," says Lynch. We’re going to bounce right back and play our butts off in a bowl game.”
“This team has accomplished a lot," says Carey. "This game doesn’t define us. One game doesn’t define a season in any way, shape or form. And we’re not going to let it.”