Drew Hare threw for two touchdowns and ran for one, and Northern Illinois wrested the Mid-American Conference title from Bowling Green in emphatic fashion Friday night, beating the Falcons, 51-17.
The Huskies (11-2) are MAC champions for the third time in four years, and they avenged a loss to Bowling Green in last season’s title game, when the Falcons spoiled Northern Illinois’ bid for an undefeated season.
Unlike the last couple years, Northern Illinois isn’t making a push for one of college football’s top bowls, but there is little doubt where the Huskies stand in the MAC. This was their fifth straight appearance in the league title game.
Bowling Green (7-6) came into the game with one of the nation’s most fast-paced offenses, but the Falcons were upstaged by Northern Illinois, which finished with 552 yards in 100 plays from scrimmage.
Northern Illinois set a MAC title game record with its 51 points, eclipsing the old mark of 49 by Marshall in 2002 and Miami (Ohio) in 2003.
The Huskies led, 20-10, at halftime before breaking the game open in the third quarter. Hare threw a four-yard touchdown pass to Juwan Brescacin, and Cameron Stingily’s two-yard scoring run made it 34-10.
Hare threw for 218 yards, successfully guiding Northern Illinois to another title after replacing Jordan Lynch, the Heisman Trophy candidate who played quarterback for the Huskies last year. Bowling Green also had a different quarterback for this season’s title game after losing Matt Johnson to a hip injury in the season opener.
Bowling Green’s James Knapke was intercepted twice in the first quarter — both times when the ball bounced to the defensive back who picked it off.
Kansas hires Texas A&M’s Beaty as coach
Kansas announced Friday that it had hired Texas A&M assistant David Beaty to be its third coach in five years. Beaty spent time at Kansas on the successful staff of Mark Mangino and failed staff of Turner Gill, giving him unique insight into the program’s peaks and valleys.
“My family and I are honored and humbled to be back here,” said Beaty, who was introduced to the crowd during halftime of the Jayhawks’ basketball game against Florida on Friday night.
“I won’t sleep until I give you something to be proud of at Memorial Stadium,” he said.
Beaty emerged from a cluster of candidates that all had ties to the program, including Clint Bowen, the longtime defensive coordinator who served as interim coach when Charlie Weis fired.
Beaty said that Bowen, a Lawrence native and Kansas alum, has agreed to remain on staff.
Beaty, who had been interviewed over the phone, arrived on campus for a more formal interview and tour of the facilities Friday. The school planned a news conference for Monday.
Seminoles’ Williams out of title game
Florida State Coach Jimbo Fisher declared senior running back Karlos Williams out for the Atlantic Coast Conference title game against Georgia Tech because of a concussion he suffered last week against Florida.
In addition, linebacker Terrence Smith, who returned an interception 94 yards for a touchdown against the Gators, is questionable because of a knee injury.
Freshman Dalvin Cook, the team’s leading rusher with 728 yards off the bench, will start against the Yellow Jackets. Redshirt freshman Matthew Thomas is likely to start in place of Smith if he doesn’t play.
Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty is set to play against Kansas State on Saturday night, one week after suffering a concussion. School officials said Friday that Petty has been medically cleared for the sixth-ranked Bears when they play the ninth-ranked Wildcats. The winner is guaranteed at least a share of the Big 12 title, with Baylor the defending champion. … California safety Avery Sebastian will transfer for his final season. Sebastian announced the move Friday. He will graduate from Cal but has one year of football eligibility remaining. He is allowed to transfer without sitting out a year to pursue a graduate degree in a program not offered at Cal.