2018 MAC Championship Game
Northern Illinois Huskies vs. Buffalo Bulls
Senior Photographer: Charles Rush
Senior Writer: Kamilah McLeod
November 30, 2018
The 2018 MAC Championship Game was a NCAA Division I college football conference championship game for the Mid-American Conference (MAC), that was played on November 30, 2018. It was the 22nd Mid-American Conference Championship, and was played at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. Sponsored by the Marathon Petroleum Corporation, the game was officially known as the Marathon MAC Championship Game.
Northern Illinois Huskies went undefeated 6-0 in conference play, until the Huskies lost to Miami on November 14. The Huskies were able to clinch the West Division, after the last remaining contender, Western Michigan, lost their third conference game also that weekend, eliminating the Broncos from contention. Northern Illinois makes their first appearance in the title game since 2015.
Buffalo Bulls was able to clinch the East Division after defeating the Falcons of Bowling Green at the end of the season, compelling a conference record of 7-1. The Bulls make their first appearance in the game since 2008.
Trailing by as many as 19 points late in the third quarter, Northern Illinois rallied to win the Marathon MAC Football Championship game over Buffalo, 30-29, NIU took its first lead of the game with 1:09 to play as the Huskies captured their fourth MAC title in eight seasons. NIU scored the final 20 points of the game, culminating in a 35-yard touchdown pass from sophomore Marcus Childers to senior D.J. Brown as the Huskies completed the comeback. Childers finished the game 21-of-33 passing for a career high 300 yards and four touchdowns while also gaining 58 yards on 15 carries, and was named the game's Offensive MVP. Junior Sutton Smith was named the MAC Championship Game Defensive MVP after finishing with 10 tackles, including a pair of sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss. Brown finished the game with four catches for 84 yards and two touchdowns.
This was a great game, witnessing two worthy opponents, with an awesome battle on the turf. What a way to make history.