San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
Northern Illinois vs. Utah State
San Diego, Calif.
Dec. 26, 2013
The stellar career of Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch comes to an end in San Diego. Lynch, who finished third in Heisman Trophy balloting, has become a must-watch player for his ability to pick apart defenses with his arm and his legs. He needs 119 rushing yards to become the first player in NCAA history to run and throw for 2,000 yards in the same season. He’s had two 300-yard rushing games this season and he’s one of five players in NCAA history with 20 rushing and 20 passing touchdowns in a season.
While Lynch has helped put Northern Illinois on the map, the Huskies did fall a game short of its second consecutive Mid-American Conference title and second consecutive BCS bowl berth.
But this game against Utah State should be an interesting one. The Aggies have a fantastic defense – one that nearly stifled Fresno State in the Mountain West title game – but its offense leaves a little something to be desired. If the Aggies get into a hole early, it’s going to be tough to crawl out. But if the Aggies can use of the same defensive gameplan that Bowling Green used to keep Lynch and the Huskies at bay in the MAC title game, they might be able to pull out the win.
So, what do we have here? A student with an agricultural background and a high-fiving dog? I just can’t see these two scrapping. I’m calling it a draw.
Graham: Utah State 28, Northern Illinois 21. I really wanted to pick Jordan Lynch here, but after watching him struggle against Bowling Green’s defense in the MAC championship, it's hard to think Utah State won’t have some sort of defensive scheme to stop him from going wild. I’m leaning toward the Aggies.
Nick: Northern Illinois 37 Utah State 17. It’s a shame that we won't see Chuckie Keeton vs. Jordan Lynch. But that just means Lynch will run for 200, pass for 300, return a kick for a touchdown, call a few plays and then become NIU's athletic director immediately after the game.
Sam: Northern Illinois 24, Utah State 21. Jordan Lynch has been a special player for NIU and he and the Huskies offense face a challenge with Utah State’s tough defense. After a disappointing loss in the MAC title game, NIU will want to prove its undefeated season was no fluke. It will be a close one, but Lynch will end his career with a win.
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