DETROIT (AP) — Matt Johnson was motivated by the hype surrounding Jordan Lynch and wanted to be the best quarterback in the Mid-American Conference title game.
Johnson was without a doubt better than Lynch on Friday night.
Johnson threw four of his career-high five touchdown passes in the first half to help Bowling Green rout No. 16 Northern Illinois 47-27 to win the MAC championship and knock the Huskies out of a spot in a marquee bowl.
"There was a lot of talk about Jordan Lynch being up for the Hesiman," Johnson said. "It's well-deserved, but I did take it a little personal."
Johnson was 21 of 27 for a career-high 393 yards, connected with five teammates for scores and didn't throw an interception. He broke a MAC championship record with the five TD passes.
The Northern Illinois (12-1) loss improves the chances of Baylor or Oregon getting an at-large bid to a BCS bowl game.
"It's a tough one to swallow," Lynch said.
Lynch ran for 126 yards and two TDs to break his own single-season record for yards rushing by a quarterback in major college football, but didn't take advantage of an opportunity to impress Heisman Trophy voters.
He was 21 of 40 for 219 yards with a TD and two interceptions, including one in the fourth quarter that set up Johnson's fifth TD that put Bowling Green up 40-20.
After Lynch threw an incomplete pass to turn the ball over on downs on the ensuing drive, he was taunted by Falcons fans: "No more Heisman! No more Heisman!"
The senior said it was "unacceptable," to throw two interceptions.
"I expect a lot of myself and I didn't live up to my expectations," Lynch said.
The Falcons (10-3) won the MAC title for the first time since 1992 — months after Johnson was born — and just three years after a 2-10 record put coach Dave Clawson's job in jeopardy.
The turnaround and impressive win against the Lynch-led Huskies will likely lead to bigger schools trying to lure Clawson away, a topic he refused to address when asked if he would coach Bowling Green again to close out his fifth season.