Poinesttia Bowl – Utah State Aggies vs Northern Illinois Wolfpack
Date and Time: Thursday 12/26/13 at 9:30pm on ESPN
Game Line: Northern Illinois pk (from JustBet)
Saturday’s Poinesttia Bowl NCAA Football Analysis: Led by Heisman Trophy finalist Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois can set the schools single season record for victories, but it will happen one game later than they would have liked. Having just missed out on a second straight BCS Bowl gae, the number 24 Huskies expect a serious challenge against Utah State and their stout defense in the Poinsettia Bowl on Thursday night in San Diego. After finishing 12-2 and losing 31-10 to Florida State in the Orange Bowl last season, Northern Illinois was again in position to bust the BCS before losing 47-27 to Bowling Green in the MAC Conference title game Dec. 6. Averaging 42.8 points and 542.3 total yards heading into that contest, the Huskies were held to 454 yards and matched their lowest point total of the year while allowing a season high. With a defense in the top 10 in FBS in points at 17.3 and rushing yards allowed at 107.3, the Aggies are looking forward to the challegnge of trying to contain Lynch and the Huskies. The Aggies third straight bowl game comes against their third straight MAC opponent, they’re 1-1 with a win against Toledo and a loss against Ohio the last two seasons. They lost their star quarterback Chuckie Keeton early in the season but freshman Darell Garretson has steadily improved as the season has gone on after a 3-4 start. Their season ended with a 24-17 loss to Fresno State in the Mountain West Conference championship game. Senior Joey DeMartino became the third straight 1,000 yard rusher for the Aggies which really helped Garretson by loosening up defensive secondary’s and allowing him time to find open receivers. Utah State is going to have to score in the 20’s to have any chance of winning this game but their offense has been their weakness all season. They have a strong enough defense to contain the Huskies offense, but without the offense necessary to score late in the game they will fall short in the Poinsettia Bowl.
Utah State vs Northern Illinois NCAA Football Picks: Northern Illinois pk and under 57
Utah State vs Northern Illinois Game Prediction: 29-21 Northern Illinois
What to expect in the 2013 Poinesttia Bowl: Assuming the Northern Illinois players can come to this game motivated and ready to play they will move the ball effectively against the Utah State defense. They found a way to score 27 against another elite defense in Bowling Green and they will cross that number if the MAC Championship game loss doesn’t hurt their morale. Utah State’s offense isn’t strong enough to score that many points, even against a mediocre defense and their inability to score late in the game will help Northern Illinois win.