Rapid Reaction: NIU football 31, Western Michigan Broncos 21

What happened: The Huskies (10-2, 7-1 MAC) scored the game’s final 24 points to beat the Western Michigan Broncos (8-4, 6-2 MAC), 31-21, to clinch the MAC West title.

How it happened: Freshman kicker Christian Hagan split the uprights on a 40-yard field goal to pull NIU within 21-10 at the half. Hagan finished the day 1-3 with one kick blocked and one hitting the left upright.

Redshirt senior tailback Akeem Daniels pulled the Huskies within 21-17 with 5:07 left in the third quarter on a 21-yard touchdown run. The drive began after the Huskies forced a turnover on downs as WMU went for a fourth & 1 at the Huskies’ 10-yard line.

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Drew Hare gave the Huskies their first lead since 7-3 when he rushed into the end zone from 2 yards out with 11:37 to play, putting NIU up 24-21.

Hare capped off the scoring with a 2-yard scamper to put NIU up 31-21 with 0:46 left.

The Huskies’ defense came to life in the second half, forcing Western Michigan into a turnover on downs, a duo of interceptions, a pair of punts and a fumble.

What it means: The Huskies win the MAC West division and will play in the MAC Championship game for the fifth-straight season. It will be the second-consecutive title game in which they play the Bowling Green Falcons.

Three stars:

3. NIU ground game: 34 rushes for 196 yards and three touchdowns

2. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Drew Hare: 9-20 for 159 yards and one touchdown; 11 carries for 36 yards and two touchdowns

1. NIU defense/special teams: Forced six fumbles, recovered four; intercepted two passes

Up next: The Huskies will take on the Bowling Green Falcons 6 p.m. Friday at Ford Field in Detroit in the MAC Championship game.