Dec. 2, 2011
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DETROIT, Mich. -
Senior wide receiver LaVon Brazill had a game-high 124 yards receiving, but it was not enough as the Ohio University football team (9-4) dropped a heartbreaking 23-20 decision to Northern Illinois Friday night in the Mid-American Championship game at Ford Field.
Brazill's (Lantana, Fla.) 124-yard receiving performance was his sixth on the year. His performance also ranks 10th all-time in championship game history. Sophomore Tyler Tettleton (Norman, Okla.) passed for 218 yards through the air and accounted for a pair of touchdown (one passing and one rushing).
Defensively, Ohio forced NIU into a season-high four turnovers. Senior linebacker Noah Keller (Kearney, Neb.) tallied a game-high 13 tackles. He also recorded a half sack, forced a fumble and recovered another.
NIU senior quarterback Chandler Harnish passed for 250 yards and three touchdowns.
Ohio took the early lead thanks to a 30-yard field goal by junior kicker Matt Weller (Twinsburg, Ohio). Weller's field goal was set up by senior linebacker Noah Keller's first inception since Sept. 26, 2009.
The Cats' increased their lead to 10 with 4:05 to go in the first quarter, following an eight-play, 70-yard drive which spanned 3:57.
Tettleton was a perfect 3-for-3 for 33 yards on the series, but it was senior wide receiver Phil Bates (Omaha, Neb.), who capped the drive as it hit sophomore Donte Foster (Cincinnati, Ohio) for a 24-yard touchdown. Bates' touchdown pass was his second on the year.
The Bobcats added another score as Weller connected from 21 yards out, capping a 15-play, 69 yard drive that spanned 6:19 to make the count 13-0 with 6:19 to play in first half. It was Ohio's ninth drive of the year that lasted more than five minutes.
Ohio added another score before the half as Tettleton dashed into the endzone from 18 yards out to make the score 20-0. The Cats' drive began on its own 13-yard line after Keller recovered Harnish's fumble.
At the half, the Bobcats had outgained NIU 302-92. It was also the first time NIU had been shut out during the first half of play.
In the second half, Northern Illinois got on the board with 6:19 remaining in the third quarter as Harnish hit Nathan Palmer for a 39-yard touchdown reception. The struck again with 7:36 to play as Harnish hit Martel Moore for a 32-yard touchdown.
The Huskies would go on to score the final 10 points of the game with the final three coming off the leg of kicker Matthew Sims from 33 yards out.