Illustration: James H. Jimenez; photo: Gregory Shamus (Getty Images)
We take a look back at what was arguably the Golden Age of the MAC.
The first team in our Best of the Decades, the All-2010s team, illustrates the many high points of the past decade in #MACtion.
We have some of the MAC’s all-time great teams represented here (the Jordan Lynch-led NIU teams, the WMU Cotton Bowl team, etc.), in addition to some tremendous individual performers. It was truly an unforgettable decade for followers of the Mid-American conference.
In fact, it was such a loaded decade, we ended up debating several ties so much, we ended up delayed a bit. (Editor’s note: we’re SUPER sorry about that, but it’s totally gonna be worth it.) As a result, there are some noticeable changes, the biggest being allowing for multiple entries at different positions and expanding the list of running backs from two to three for each decade.
Did your favorite player make the cut? Let’s find out, together.
- Stats: 6,209 passing yards, 61.8% completion rate, 51 passing touchdowns, 14 interceptions, 4,343 rushing yards, 48 rushing touchdown, 17-yard receiving touchdown
- 2012 & 2013 MAC Offensive Player of the Year, led NIU to the Orange Bowl in 2012
- #MACtion Moment: Against Toledo in 2012, he gained 469 total yards and threw three touchdowns in a 31-24 win over the Rockets.
- Stats: 12,100 passing yards, 65.5% completion rate, 96 passing touchdowns, 31 interceptions, 620 rushing yards, 13 rushing touchdowns
- In 2014, led the MAC in passing yards (3,443), completion percentage (67.9%), yards per attempt (9.4), and passing efficiency (164.4); led the Broncos to a Cotton Bowl appearance in 2016
- #MACtion Moment: throwing for 445 and four TDs against Buffalo in 2016
- Stats: 325 rushes, 2,342 rushing yards, 24 rushing touchdowns, 99 receptions, 1,194 receiving yards, 12 receiving touchdowns
- A Consensus All-America honoree in 2012, he led the NCAA in kickoff return yards per return (36.9) and led the conference in yards from scrimmage (1,990) and touchdowns (23) that season
- #MACtion Moment: Rushed for 241 yards and two score at Bowling Green in 2012
- Stats: 4,867 rushing yards, 5.2 yards per carry, 52 rushing touchdowns, 61 receptions, 670 receiving yards, four receiving touchdowns
- 2014 MAC Offensive Player of the Year, led the MAC in rushing touchdowns in 2014 (24) and 2016 (12)
- #MACtion Moment: Ran for 281 yards and a score in 41-0 win at Akron in 2016
- Stats: 4,945 rushing yards (#3 in MAC history), 6.3 yards per carry, 44 rushing touchdowns, 73 receptions, 555 yards, receiving touchdown
- #MACtion Moment: Rushing for 265 yards and two scores against Bowling Green in 2014.
- Stats: 331 receptions (#1 in MAC history, #4 in NCAA history), 5,278 receiving yards (#1 in MAC and NCAA history), 52 receiving touchdowns (#1 in MAC history, #2 in NCAA history)
- 2016 MAC Offensive Player of the Year, 2016 Consensus All-America
- #MACtion Moment: Hauling in 12 catches for 272 yards and three touchdowns at Ball State in 2016
- Stats: 204 receptions, 3,700 receiving yards, 37 touchdowns, 15 carries, 113 rushing yards
- Led the MAC with 20 yards per reception in 2012
- #MACtion Moment: Hauled in 10 catches for 208 yards and a score against WMU in 2012, caught the game-tying toss at the end of the 2014 Bahamas Bowl vs. WKU to complete a three-score comeback attempt.
- Stats (two seasons): 160 receptions, 2,285 receiving yards, 18 receiving touchdowns, 29 rushes, 206 yards, three rushing touchdowns
- In 2016, he was second in the MAC with 87 receptions and third with 1,156 receiving yards
- #MACtion Moment: In his first game as a Huskie, recorded nine catches for 213 yards against UNLV in 2015.
- Stats (two seasons): 158 receptions, 2,638 receiving yards, 23 receiving touchdowns
- Led the MAC in receiving yards (1,544), yards per reception (16.7), and touchdowns (16) in 2015
- #MACtion Moment: Went off for 261 yards and three scores on seven receptions against Memphis in 2015
- Stats: 83 receptions, 1,159 receiving yards, 11 touchdowns
- #MACtion Moment: Hauled in 10 catches for 136 yards and two TDs at Ohio in a 26-23 win in 2017
- Stats: 70 catches, 832 yards, 22 touchdowns in four seasons (two seasons as a starter)
- #MACtion Moment: Picking up three touchdowns on six receptions for 94 yards vs. rival BGSU in 2016
- Three-Time Second Team All-MAC, led Miami to MAC Championship in 2010
- #MACtion Moment: helped Miami rack up 470 total yards in a 27-20 win over CMU in 2010
- Third Team AP All-American in 2012, #1 overall pick in 2013 NFL Draft, two-time All-MAC selection
- #MACtion Moment: Paved the way for 506 total yards in a 42-31 win over WMU in 2012
- Third Team All-MAC in 2015, First Team All-MAC in 2016, and named All-American by three different publications (AFCA, FWAA, Phil Steele)
- #MACtion Moment: Allowed the Broncos to set a program record for individual rushing yards with 281 at Akron in 2015
- All-MAC selection at both tackle positions, All-American selection in 2018
- #MACtion Moment: Led the Huskies to a 577-yard performance in a 48-17 win over Bowling Green in 2017
- Three-time All-MAC selection, set school records for starts at OL (50)
- #MACtion Moment: Cleared the way for 546 total yards in a 48-32 win at Miami
- Stats: 162 total tackles, 41 TFLs, 20 sacks, interception returned for a touchdown, four passes defensed, eight forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries (one for a touchdown)
- Led the MAC with four forced fumbles in 2018
- #MACtion Moment: Had seven tackles, four TFLs, two sacks, a pass defense, and a forced fumble in a 17-7 win over CMU in 2018.
- Stats: 220 total tackles, 45.5 TFLs, 26 sacks, eight forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, three passes defensed
- #MACtion Moment: Had four sacks and a forced fumble in a 56-9 win over Ball State in 2017
- Stats: 139 total tackles, 58.5 TFLs, 30 sacks, seven forced fumbles, six fumble recoveries (three for touchdowns), four passes defensed
- MAC Defensive Player of the Year in 2017 and 2018, Consensus All-America in 2017
- #MACtion Moment: Recorded 5.5 TFLs, 2.5 sacks, and returned a fumble for a touchdown in a 35-31 win over WMU in 2017
- Stats (three seasons): 144 total tackles, 26 TFLs, 17 sacks, eight passes defensed, forced fumble
- #MACtion Moment: Tallied six tackles and three sacks in a 28-10 win at Kent State in 2010
- Stats: 340 total tackles, 40.5 TFLs, 16.5 sacks, ten forced fumbles, three passes defensed, interception
- 2015 MAC Defensive Player of the Year, led conference in TFLs (20), sacks (11.5), and forced fumbles (four) that season
- #MACtion Moment: Registered 11 tackles, 4.5 TFLs, two sacks, a pass defense, and an interception in a 37-28 win at Miami
- Stats: 399 total tackles, 25 TFLs, sack, two interceptions, six passes defensed, three forced fumbles, fumble recovery
- Led the MAC with 158 total tackles in 2018
- #MACtion Moment: Recorded 18 tackles and a sack against NIU in 2018.
- Stats: 327 total tackles, 74.5 TFLs, 28.5 sacks, four interceptions (two returned for touchdowns), 21 passes defensed, 16 forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries
- 2013 MAC Defensive Player of the Year, led the MAC in TFLs for three straight seasons, led conference in sacks (10.5) in 2013, has the most career fumbles forced (16) in NCAA since 2005
- #MACtion Moment: Racked up 2.5 sacks and had a 45-yard pick-six at Ohio State in 2013
- Stats: 373 total tackles, 43.5 TFLs, 18 sacks, seven interceptions (two returned for touchdowns), 15 passes defensed, five forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries
- Had the most interception-return touchdowns (two) in the MAC in 2015
- #MACtion Moment: Had 12 tackles, three sacks, and a fumble recovery in a 38-10 win over Toledo in 2017
- Stats: 424 total tackles, 15 TFLs, three sacks, interception, seven passes defensed, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries
- Led the MAC in solo tackles for three years straight
- #MACtion Moment: In his final game as a Flash, recorded ten tackles and a fumble recovery in a 27-24 win over CMU in 2016
- Stats: 117 total tackles, seven TFLs, 14 interceptions (two returned for touchdowns), 33 passes defensed
- Led the NCAA with nine interceptions in 2015
- #MACtion Moment: Made five tackles, defended four passes, and reeled in an interception in a 31-24 at EMU in 2016
- Stats: 127 total tackles, 13 TFLs, two sacks, 12 interceptions (five returned for touchdowns), 35 passes defensed, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries (one returned for a touchdown)
- #MACtion Moment: Registered a sack and an 85-yard pick-six at CMU in a 49-10 win
- Stats (one season): 72 tackles, four TFLs, seven interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), nine passes defensed, forced fumble
- 2014 MAC Defensive Player of the Year
- #MACtion Moment: Reeled in a pair of picks, including a pick-six, in his last game as a RedHawk against Ohio in 2014
- Stats: 318 tackles, six TFLs, two sacks, 11 interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), 14 passes defensed, three forced fumbles, fumble recovery
- Led the MAC with seven interceptions in 2013
- #MACtion Moment: Recorded nine tackles and a 62-yard pick-six in a 55-24 win over Purdue in 2013
- Stats: 96.0% extra point percentage, 84.4% field goal percentage, 325 points
- Highest career field goal percentage in the MAC since 1956
- #MACtion Moment: Made five field goals and two extra points in a 29-23 win over Cincinnati in 2012.
- Stats: 251 punts, 10,485 punt yards, 41.8 yards per punt
- Led the NCAA in punting yards (3,682) in 2013, led the MAC in yards per punt (46.6) in 2013
- #MACtion Moment: Punted seven times with an average of 52.7 yards per punt against Ohio in 2013
- Stats: 28.2 yards per kickoff return, four touchdowns
- #MACtion Moment: had a 100-yard kickoff return for a score against NIU in 2013
- Stats: 24.6 yards per kickoff return, five touchdowns, 10.2 yards per punt return, one touchdown
- Most career return yards in the MAC (3,193) since 1976
- #MACtion Moment: Averaged over 45 yards per return and took one back for a score against Michigan State on two different occasions (2015 and 2017)
- Career at NIU: 23-4 (15-1 MAC) in two years, two MAC West division titles, two MAC championships
- #MACtion Moment: Coaching the 2012 NIU Huskies to a 12-1 record, becoming the first MAC team to “bust” the BCS and qualify for the Orange Bowl