Loss to Ohio keeps Northern Illinois from clinching spot in MAC title game

Loss to Ohio keeps Northern Illinois from clinching spot in MAC title game

Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson throws during the first half against Ball State on Tuesday.

(Darron Cummings / AP)

Greg Windham and J.D. Sprague each threw a touchdown pass, Josiah Yazdani kicked four field goals and Ohio kept Northern Illinois from advancing to the Mid-American Conference title game with a 26-21 win Tuesday night in Dekalb, Ill.

A.J. Ouellette rushed for 140 yards in 30 carries to help the Bobcats (8-4, 5-3) put the Huskies (8-4, 6-2) in a holding position. Northern Illinois has to hope Western Michigan beats Toledo on Friday, which would create a tie among those three, to advance to the title game against East Division champion Bowling Green. The Huskies beat both teams and would win a three-way tiebreaker.

Bowling Green rolls

Matt Johnson threw for 236 yards and had three total touchdowns, Travis Greene ran for 97 yards and two scores, and Bowling Green beat Ball State, 48-10, at Muncie, Ind. Six rushers combined for 337 yards and five touchdowns for the Falcons (9-3, 7-1 in the MAC). Host Ball State finished 3-9, and 2-6 in conference play


Falk’s status unclear

Washington State quarterback Luke Falk appears to be questionable for Friday’s Apple Cup game against rival Washington, and Peyton Bender could get first college start when the No. 20 Cougars face the Huskies in Seattle.

Bender has been used in each of the last two games because Falk was taken off the field. Falk was checked for a concussion against UCLA on Nov. 14 and cleared to return, but he was taken on a backboard last Saturday in the third quarter against Colorado. Coach Mike Leach has declined to provide an update on Falk’s status, but indications are he suffered a concussion against the Buffaloes.

Cook a game-day call


Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook probably will be a game-day decision for the No. 5 Spartans as they attempt to clinch the Big Ten East Division title against Penn State this weekend. Cook did not play in last Saturday’s win over then-No. 3 Ohio State in Columbus because of a shoulder injury.

Awards finalists

Alabama running back Derrick Henry, Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey and Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson were announced as finalists for the Maxwell Award, given to the nation’s best player, and UCLA’s Ka’imi Fairbairn is one of three finalists for the Lou Groza Award, given to the nation’s outstanding kicker.

Nine awards will be handed out Dec. 10 during ESPN’s college football award show. Finalists for other key awards include: Temple linebacker Tyler Matakevich, Penn State end Carl Nassib and Alabama linebacker Reggie Ragland for the Chuck Bednarik Award (best defensive player); Henry, McCaffrey and LSU’s Leonard Fournette for the Doak Walker Award (running back); Watson, TCU’s Trevone Boykin and Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield for the Davey O’Brien Award (quarterback); and Baylor tackle Spencer Drango, Stanford guard Joshua Garnett and Alabama defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson for the Outland Trophy (interior lineman).


The NCAA football oversight committee will wait until next week to complete a plan for matching sub-.500 teams with bowls if there are not enough bowl-eligible squads to fill 40 games. There are 71 teams that have won at least six games and secured at least a .500 record, the minimum for playing in the postseason. If nine more teams don’t become bowl-eligible, losing teams would fill the remaining spots. Eighteen teams can reach bowl-eligibility over the next two weeks. . . . Wisconsin running back Corey Clement said he will return for his senior season if his NFL draft projection is third round or worse. . . . Jack Cosgrove, winningest football coach in Maine history with a 129-135 record, will step down after 23 years.