MAC Championship Preview Capsule

The Associated Press Published:

FRIDAY

No. 18 Kent State (11-1) vs. No. 19 Northern Illinois (11-1), 7 p.m. (ESPN2)

Line: Northern Illinois by 6.

Series Record: Northern Illinois leads 16-7.

WHAT'S AT STAKE

How about a spot in the Orange Bowl? As crazy as it sounds, the winner of this game could end up in a BCS bowl if it can crack the top 16 of the BCS rankings. Right now Kent State is at No. 17 and Northern Illinois is at No. 21.

KEY MATCHUP

Northern Illinois QB Jordan Lynch against Kent State's defense. Lynch does everything for the Huskies on offense. He's thrown for 23 touchdowns and run for 16, and the Golden Flashes will have to keep him under control.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Kent State: RBs Dri Archer and Trayion Durham. Archer has rushed for 1,337 yards, Durham for 1,176. Each has 14 touchdowns, and their success allows quarterback Spencer Keith to be more of a facilitator. Archer also excels as a kick returner.

Northern Illinois: WR Martel Moore is Lynch's top target. He has 67 catches for 1,015 yards and 11 touchdowns on the season.

FACTS & FIGURES: Kent State ranks second among major college teams with a plus-20 turnover margin. ... The two teams didn't play each other during the regular season. Northern Illinois won their 2011 meeting 40-10. ... Northern Illinois has won 16 straight against MAC opponents, including its victory over Ohio in last year's title game. ... The Golden Flashes are seeking their first MAC crown since 1972. Northern Illinois won its first since 1983 last season. ... Lynch needs 92 yards to break the major college mark for most yards rushing by a quarterback in a season.