Utah State vs Northern Illinois NCAAF Handicapping
Heisman Trophy finalist Jordan Lynch will play the final game of his college career on Thursday, when No. 23 Northern Illinois faces Utah State in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.
SAN DIEGO COUNTY CREDIT UNION POINSETTIA BOWL
Date: Thursday, December 26, 2013
Time 9:30 p.m. EST
Venue Qualcomm Stadium
City: San Diego
O/U Odds: 58
Spread: -1.5 Northern Illinois
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The Aggies meanwhile, will arrive in California without quarterback Chuckie Keeton who went down midway through the regular season.
Nevertheless, Utah State bounced back, winning its last five regular-season games behind freshman Darell Garretson who replaced Keeton at quarterback and three wideouts who caught 50 or more passes.
The Aggies (8-5) held their ground against the Fresno State Bulldogs in a hard-fought Mountain West title game to cap the 2013 campaign, with another stout performance by their stingy defense, which ranks seventh in scoring defense (17.3PPG), 10th in rushing defense, and 12th in total defense.
The unit is led by inside linebackers Jake Doughty and Zach Vigil who have combined for 255 tackles on the season, as well as ball-hawking cornerback Nevin Lawson and safety Brian Suite who each have four interceptions.
They will be tested by Lynch however, who has passed for 2,676 yards and 23 touchdowns this season for the Huskies.
The senior signal caller also rushed for 1,881 yards and 22 scores and twice ran for more than 300 yards in a games to lead his team to the Poinsettia Bowl after losing to Bowling Green in the Mid-American Conference title game.
Northern Illinois (12-1) are fueled by an offense that averages an amazing 41.6 points per game while rolling up an eye-popping 535.5 total yards per contest. Most of which comes by way of a rushing attack that is averaging just over 300 yards per game and is led by running back Cameron Stingily who has amassed 1,081 yards and nine touchdowns this season.
The Huskies also have two receivers that have hauled in over 600 yards apiece.
Meanwhile, the defense allows 25.4 points per game and is led by safety Jimmie Ward who has six interceptions.
Matt’s Free Prediction
A victory would give the Huskies their first 13-win season in school history, while the Aggies are playing in back-to-back-to-back bowls for the first time ever and are looking for the third bowl victory in school history.
This should be a close one with both offenses trading punches, with Northern Illinois edging out the win.
Northern Illinois 35, Utah State 30