Bowling Green tops No. 16 Northern Illinois 47-27

Matt Johnson was motivated by the hype surrounding Jordan Lynch

and wanted to be the best quarterback in the Mid-American

Conference title game.

Johnson was without a doubt better than Lynch on Friday

night.

Johnson threw four of his career-high five touchdown passes in

the first half to help Bowling Green rout No. 16 Northern Illinois

47-27 to win the MAC championship and knock the Huskies out of a

spot in a marquee bowl.

”There was a lot of talk about Jordan Lynch being up for the

Hesiman,” Johnson said. ”It’s well-deserved, but I did take it a

little personal.”

Johnson was 21 of 27 for a career-high 393 yards, connected with

five teammates for scores and didn’t throw an interception. He

broke a MAC championship record with the five TD passes.

The Northern Illinois (12-1) loss improves the chances of Baylor

or Oregon getting an at-large bid to a BCS bowl game.

”It’s a tough one to swallow,” Lynch said.

Lynch ran for 126 yards and two TDs to break his own

single-season record for yards rushing by a quarterback in major

college football, but didn’t take advantage of an opportunity to

impress Heisman Trophy voters.

He was 21 of 40 for 219 yards with a TD and two interceptions,

including one in the fourth quarter that set up Johnson’s fifth TD

that put Bowling Green up 40-20.

After Lynch threw an incomplete pass to turn the ball over on

downs on the ensuing drive, he was taunted by Falcons fans: ”No

more Heisman! No more Heisman!”

The senior said it was ”unacceptable,” to throw two

interceptions.

”I expect a lot of myself and I didn’t live up to my

expectations,” Lynch said.

The Falcons (10-3) won the MAC title for the first time since

1992 – months after Johnson was born – and just three years after a

2-10 record put coach Dave Clawson’s job in jeopardy.

The turnaround and impressive win against the Lynch-led Huskies

will likely lead to bigger schools trying to lure Clawson away, a

topic he refused to address when asked if he would coach Bowling

Green again to close out his fifth season.

”There’s no comment on that,” he said.

Bowling Green’s Travis Greene had 133 yards rushing to give him

1,555 this year, surpassing the school’s single-season record set

by Fred Durig in 1951, and his a 16-yard TD made it 47-20.

Alex Bayer had seven receptions for 124 yards and a TD that gave

the Falcons a 31-13 lead at halftime. Ronnie Moore caught four

passes for 145 yards and a TD – all in the first quarter.

”We came into this game truly believing we were the better team

and that we were going to win,” Clawson said.

Lynch was held to just 35 yards rushing in the first half and

when forced to pass, he was often off the mark as he completed just

half of his attempts by halftime. He seemed to throw one pass too

high, but Juwan Brescacin leaped to snag the football with his left

hand in the end zone to tie the game midway through the first

quarter.

Tyler Tate’s 25-yard field goal with 6:49 left in the first half

put Bowling Green ahead for good.

Lynch ran for a TD to pull the Huskies within 11 points early in

the third quarter, but they couldn’t get closer.

In the third, Lynch surpassed his yards rushing total from last

season – 1,815 – and will have 1,881 yards rushing going into a

lackluster bowl game. He and the Huskies lost for the first time

since Jan. 1, 2013, when Florida State dominated them in the Orange

Bowl.

Instead of going back to a BCS game and helping the MAC get a

big check to split among its schools, Northern Illinois might end

up coming back to Detroit in a few weeks for the Little Caesars

Pizza Bowl.

The Falcons, though, don’t mind that their victory cost the

athletic department a lot of money.

”We won a championship, but we’re not going to be able to buy

jock straps next year,” Clawson joked.

Follow Larry Lage on Twitter: http://twitter.com/larrylage