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Updated: Saturday, November 9, 2002 1:08 PM EST
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No. 16 Bowling Green (8-0) at Northern Ill (6-3)
Bowling Green Falcons
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Northern Illinois Huskies
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DEKALB, Illinois (Ticker) -- No. 16 Bowling Green faces what could be its toughest test of the season Saturday when the Falcons visit Northern Illinois in a showdown for first place in the East Division of the Mid-American Conference.

Bowling Green (8-0, 5-0) stretched its winning streak to 11 games and remained one of four unbeaten teams in Division I-A by routing Kent State, 45-14, last week.

But to reach the MAC championship game the Falcons will have to get past Northern Illinois, which also is unbeaten in conference play. The Huskies (6-3, 5-0) held off Western Michigan, 24-20, two weeks ago and have won five in a row following a 1-3 start.

Bowling Green's winning streak is the second-longest in the nation behind Miami's 30-game run. Something will have to give Saturday as Northern Illinois has won nine straight conference games, the longest current streak in the MAC.

Northern Illinois is looking to match its longest winning streak since moving up to the Division I-A level. The Huskies have had a pair of six-game winning streaks since making the jump, the last in 1989-90.

If Bowling Green is going to win the MAC title, it will have to do it away from home. The Falcons play four of their final five contests on the road.

The Falcons had no trouble at Kent State last week as Joe Harris passed for two touchdowns and ran for another. Joe Alls, who missed two games earlier in the season with a separated shoulder, rushed for a career-high 179 yards and two scores.

Harris leads the nation in points responsible for, averaging 22.7 points per game, and is second in scoring at 12.0 per outing. Alls is averaging just under 111.0 yards per game, rushing for 665 yards in six games.

Northern Illinois overcame the absence of Michael Turner, the nation's second-leading rusher, to hold off Western Michigan.

Turner sprained his right ankle early in the first quarter and was limited to 26 yards on 11 carries, but freshman A.J. Harris picked up the slack with a career-high 99 yards on 27 carries.

Leading 21-20 early in the fourth quarter, Northern Illinois put together a 19-play, 65-yard drive that resulted in a field goal and took 8 1/2 minutes off the clock. It was the Huskies' longest possession since 1987.

Turner, who is still second in rushing at 142.8 yards per game, is expected to play following the Huskies' bye week.

Bowling Green leads the all-time series, 9-3. The teams have not met since 1998, when the Falcons posted a 34-23 victory at Northern Illinois.

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