W Michigan 7

(7-4, 5-3 MAC)

N Illinois 42

(7-4, 6-2 MAC)

Coverage: ESPN2

1:35 PM ET, November 23, 2005

Huskie Stadium, Dekalb, IL

1 2 3 4 T
WMU 7 0 0 07
NIU 7 21 14 042

Top Performers

Passing: D. Nicholson (NIU) - 160 YDS, 1 TD

Rushing: G. Wolfe (NIU) - 36 CAR, 277 YDS, 5 TD

Receiving: S. Hurd (NIU) - 4 REC, 119 YDS, 1 TD

Wolfe runs Northern Illinois into MAC title game

DEKALB, Ill. (AP) -- Garrett Wolfe ran for 277 yards and five touchdowns to help Northern Illinois secure its first spot in the Mid-American Conference championship game with a 42-7 victory over Western Michigan on Wednesday.

The Western Division champion Huskies (7-4, 6-2) will play Akron or Bowling Green in the championship game Dec. 1 in Detroit.

"We finally accomplished our goal to get to the MAC Championship," Huskies safety Ray Smith said. "Now we have to finish the goal and win it."

Wolfe ran for 156 yards and three TDs in the first half and Sam Hurd caught a 53-yard touchdown pass from Dan Nicholson.

"My teammates give me a lot of credit, but I was running in daylight," Wolfe said. "Those guys do an unbelievable job of blocking for me."

The Huskies, who finished with 526 yards of total offense, scored four times in 12 minutes to take a 28-7 lead at halftime.

"They just came out and smashed us in the mouth," Western Michigan receiver Greg Jennings said.

Nicholson finished 8-of-13 for 160 yards passing. Hurd led the Huskies receivers with four receptions for 119 yards.

"It feels great to go out and win and know we're going to Detroit," Hurd said. "I'm ready to get on that bus."

A win in the MAC title game will assure Northern Illinois of a bowl berth.

"Our goal is to win," Huskies coach Joe Novack said. "Getting there gives us the chance to win."

Western Michigan's Robbie Haas replaced starter Tim Hiller in the first quarter and threw a 19-yard TD pass to Tony Scheffler. Hill left because of a leg injury.

Jennings caught seven passes for 51 yards to break the Western Michigan career receptions record with 238.