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NIU clinches MAC West title with OT win at Buffalo

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NIU Huskies

GETZVILLE, N.Y. (WREX) — The NIU Huskies continued their big turnaround from a season ago, winning 33-27 at Buffalo in overtime to clinch the MAC West title. 

The Huskies got off to a 24-10 lead, with a Trayvon Rudolph 75-yard touchdown run tying the game at 10 in the 2nd quarter. The Huskies added scores on a 47-yard run from Antario Brown and a 7-yard run from Clint Ratkovic to take the two touchdown lead in the 2nd half.

But Buffalo stormed back and tied it at 24. The Bulls then hit a late field to tie it at 27. Northern Illinois had a chance to win it as time expired for a 2nd straight week, but John Richardson's field goal attempt was pushed wide by a strong wind, sending this one to overtime.

Buffalo was inside the 5-yard line on its first possession of overtime, but fumbled on 3rd down and the Huskies pounced on it. On their first play after that, NIU's Clint Ratkovich rumbled 25 yards for the game-winning touchdown, helping the Huskies secure a spot in Detroit for the MAC Championship game the first weekend of December. It's been a big turnaround from when the Huskies went 0-6 a year ago during the COVID-19 shortened season. The Huskies finish up the regular season at home next week against Western Michigan.

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Sports Director

Derek Bayne joined 13 WREX as the sports director in December of 2011. He grew up in the Chicago suburbs and moved back to Illinois after working several years in North Carolina. For any sports story ideas or tips, you can email dbayne@wrex.com.

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