2021 MAC Championship Game Pick and Prediction: How to watch Northern Illinois vs. Kent State

The race for the MAC Championship Game this year was one of the best in recent memory. Midweek MACtion brought championship game implications each week. In the end, two very deserving college football teams rose to the occasion and seized their moments. The Northern Illinois vs. Kent State battle features two teams ready to duke it out for MAC supremacy.

Northern Illinois vs. Kent State | 2021 MAC Championship Game pick and prediction

  • Spread: Kent State -3
  • Total: 74
  • Moneyline: Kent State -150 / Northern Illinois +130

The Golden Flashes of Kent State are one formidable offensive unit. They utilize a true dual-threat at quarterback, with Dustin Crum running the show. Crum lit up the field yet again, running for 565 yards and a career-high 11 touchdowns this season. He also threw for 2,794 yards and another 15 scores. Crum now has 50 career passing touchdowns and another 23 on the ground as the fifth-year senior from Grafton is looking for his school’s first-ever MAC Championship Game victory.

Standing in their way, of course, is Northern Illinois. The Huskies are appearing in their conference-record ninth MAC title game, three more appearances than any other school since the conference began playing championship games in 1997. With another win, the Huskies would join Marshall as six-time MAC Championship Game victors, the most all-time.

Leading the way for NIU is former Michigan State QB Rocky Lombardi. The Huskies have won seven of their last eight games with Lombardi leading the charge. He’s thrown for 2,314 yards and 13 touchdowns while rushing for another 5 TDs and 389 yards.

NIU’s ground attack may be too much for Kent State

NIU matches up against Kent State’s defense incredibly well, as both Jay Ducker and Harrison Waylee have proven to be great in the open field. The Golden Flashes have struggled against top rushing attacks in the conference this season, giving up the following numbers on the ground:

Week 6 – 326 yards, 4 TDs vs. Buffalo
Week 7 – 341 yards, 5 TDs vs. Western Michigan
Week 11 – 235 yards, 4 TD vs. Central Michigan

In their meeting earlier this season, Kent State limited NIU on the ground but still allowed 4 rushing scores. And that was without Waylee toting the rock. That’s the biggest difference in the MAC Championship Game.

MAC Championship Game Pick and Prediction: NIU 47, Kent State 42

Top prospects playing

Who are the top 2022 NFL Draft prospects playing in the MAC Championship Game in 2021? Both teams boast a trio of players who could hear their name called in April.

Kent State

  • Dustin Crum, QB
  • Elvis Hines, CB
  • Keith Sherald Jr., S

Northern Illinois

  • Trayvon Rudolph, WR
  • Tyrice Richie, WR
  • Clint Ratkovich, FB

How to watch Northern Illinois vs. Kent State

  • Start time: Saturday, December 4, 12 PM ET
  • Location: Ford Field, Detroit, MI
  • Channel: ESPN
  • Live streams: 
    • YouTube TV
    • fuboTV
    • Hulu + Live Sports
    • ESPN+

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