DETROIT – 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 potential spot in a Bowl Championship Series game.
“There was a lot of talk about Jordan Lynch being up for the Heisman,” Johnson said. “It’s well deserved, but I did take it a little personal.”
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Johnson was 21 of 27 for a career-high 393 yards, connected with five teammates for scores and wasn’t intercepted. He surpassed 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 game.
“It’s a tough one to swallow,” Lynch said.
Lynch ran for 126 yards and two TDs to surpass his record for yards rushing by a quarterback in a season 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 passes that were picked off.
“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 three years after a 2-10 record put coach Dave Clawson’s job in jeopardy.
The turnaround and impressive victory against the Lynch-led Huskies will likely lead to bigger schools trying to lure Clawson away, a topic he declined to address when asked if he would coach Bowling Green in future seasons.
“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 season record set by Fred Durig in 1951.
Alex Bayer had seven receptions for 124 yards and a TD that gave the Falcons a 31-13 lead at halftime.
“We came into this game truly believing we were the better team and that we were going to win,” Clawson said.
Arizona St. hosts Pac-12 title game
TEMPE, Ariz.– Not long after Arizona State’s late rally fell short in an early season loss at Stanford, receiver Jaelen Strong said he hoped the Sun Devils would get another chance at the Cardinal in the Pac-12 Championship.
He and the rest of the Sun Devils get their wish on Saturday.
In a rematch of a September game filled with huge momentum swings, No. 7 Stanford will face No. 11 Arizona State in the Pac-12 Championship with a spot in the Rose Bowl on the line.
“It’s a chance to redeem ourselves,” Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton said.
Stanford won the initial game 42-28 by racing to a 29-0 halftime lead and holding on as the hard-charging Sun Devils scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
Both teams have 10-2 records. The Sun Devils are 8-1 in conference play and Stanford is 7-2 in the Pac-12.
Arizona State has won seven straight games.
• Notre Dame (8-4) reportedly plans to accept a bid to the Dec. 28 Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium in New York.
The opponent will be a team from the American Athletic Conference, previously the Big East.