The Huskies (7-3, 6-0 MAC) clinched their seventh division title in nine years Tuesday night when Western Michigan fell to Ball State 42-41 in overtime.
NIU — which takes on Miami of Ohio in Wednesday’s home finale at Huskie Stadium (7 p.m., ESPNU, WIND-AM 560) — will meet the East champion, likely Buffalo , on Nov. 30 at Ford Field in Detroit.
Sports data website teamrankings.com ranks NIU’s slate of at Iowa, home versus Utah, at Florida State and at BYU as the fifth-hardest, behind only UCLA, Michigan, Clemson and Pittsburgh.
But defensive tackle Ben LeRoy of Wilmette blocked the extra-point attempt, and cornerback Jalen McKie grabbed the ball on a bounce and ran it back for a two-point play, three-point swing and 29-26 lead.
Last Wednesday against Toledo , it was All-America defensive end Sutton Smith who blocked a punt with the Huskies leading 10-9 late in the second quarter.
Smith won’t win the Heisman Trophy , but a second straight MAC Defensive Player of the Year award seems possible.
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