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Northern Illinois wins 11th straight game

The SportsXchange

YPSILANTI, Mich. -- Northern Illinois won its 11th consecutive game Friday and finished with an 8-0 record in Mid-American Conference play with a 49-7 victory in the snow over Eastern Michigan in Rynearson Stadium.

The Huskies will play No. 23 Kent State in the MAC championship game next Friday in Detroit. The Golden Flashes (11-1, 8-0) won the MAC East Division with a 28-6 victory over Ohio on Friday.

Akeem Daniels rushed for three touchdowns and Tommylee Lewis returned a kickoff 93 yards for a score for the MAC West Division-champion Huskies (11-1), whose only loss came to Iowa by one point in the season opener.

NIU reached 11 wins in the regular season for the first time in school history to match the Huskies' win total from each of the past two seasons.

"It means a lot to be a part of history," said NIU Head Coach Dave Doeren. "Anytime you do something that has never been done, that's pretty special. The guys did a nice job executing today. We tried to get some guys some numbers, especially Martel (Moore) with the 1,000-yard season. That's pretty rare around here."

Moore had nine catches and recorded his sixth 100-yard receiving game of the season with 116 yards and a 43-yard touchdown catch.

Northern Illinois takes a 16-game Mid-American Conference win-streak into the MAC Championship game.

Daniels rushed for 112 yards on 12 carries and quarterback Jordan Lynch also topped 100 yards on the ground, gaining 107 on 20 carries. Lynch completed 16 of 25 passes for 168 yards and a touchdown.

"I'm really happy for Akeem," Doeren said. "He's been getting better all year. He's been doing a lot of unselfish things - blocking for Jordan, and in our protection schemes - so to see him run like that and get in the end zone four times was great."

Eastern Michigan (2-10, 1-7) scored its only touchdown on a 20-yard pass from Tyler Benz to Matt Boyd in the first quarter that tied it at 7.

From there, Northern Illinois cranked up its offense.

After Daniels' 25-yard touchdown run and Lewis' kickoff return gave the Huskies a 14-7 lead at the end of the first quarter, Northern Illinois tacked on two touchdowns in the second quarter to open a 28-7 cushion at halftime.

Daniels scored his second touchdown on a 20-yard run and Lynch threw a 56-yard scoring pass to Martel Moore with 53 seconds left in the second quarter.

Daniels added two touchdowns in the second half. The first came on a 19-yard run in the third quarter that capped a 10-play, 73-yard drive and the second was a 16-yard scamper in the fourth quarter.

Jacob Brinlee capped the rout with an 11-yard run with 1:23 left.

NOTES: Junior corenrback Sean Evans returned an interception 32 yards for the Huskies. ... Northern Illinois' defense held Eastern Michigan to 227 total yards.
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