Date: Friday, December 26th, 2013
Time: 9:30 pm (on ESPN)
Game Line: Northern Illinois PK (from SportsBettingOnline.AG)
Over/Under: 57.5
Free 2013 Poinsettia Bowl Picks With Analysis: The #23 Poinsetta-Bowl-Picksranked Northern Illinois Huskies will take on the Utah State Aggies in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California.

#23 ranked Northern Illinois’ BCS plans were spoiled a little less than three weeks ago, being upset in the MAC championship 47-27 by Bowling Green. Regardless of the loss, the team still holds a top 25 ranking and will look to set the school record for wins in a season. Their offense is explosive, averaging 41.6 points per game. They are led by their dual threat quarterback and Heisman trophy finalist Jordan Lynch. Lynch has passed for 2676 yards and rushed for 1881. Lynch is without a doubt the focal point in the offense, as he goes, so does the offense. Cameron Stingily leads the running backs with 1081 yards rushing, averaging 5.6 yards per rushing attempt. The Huskies also have two very athletic receivers, in juniors Tommylee Lewis (80 rec 660 yds) and Da’Ron Brown (42 rec 689 yds). The Husky defense does give up their fair share of points, giving up 25.4 points per game. They rank 90th in the nation in total defense, allowing 424.5 yards per game.
Utah State comes into Thursday’s contest with a 7-5 record and coming off a 24-17 loss in the Mountain West conference championship to Fresno State. The Aggies started the season 3-4, and lost starting quarterback Chuckie Keeton for the year due to a knee injury in early October. Things have turned around though with freshman quarterback Darell Garretson as the Aggies went on a 5 game winning streak, outscoring their opponents 168-51. They did lose their last game, yet the team has really turned it around. Utah State on offense averages 242.1 yards passing and 178.8 rushing yards per game. The aggies boast one of the best defenses in the nation that ranks 12th in the FBS in total defense allowing only 332.1 yards per game. Their run defense is in the top 10 against the run, allowing only 107.3 yards per game and only 2.81 yards per rushing attempt.

 

I can’t help but see that Utah State is a very similar team to Bowling Green, the team that dominated Northern Illinois. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Utah State head coach Matt Wells use the blueprint that Bowling Green laid out to stop Lynch. I like the roll that Utah State has been on, even though they lost in their conference championship. For a team to be in that position after a 3-4 start says something about a team’s resiliency. Northern Illinois had BCS expectations, and it was a pretty crushing defeat they had in the MAC championship game. With high expectations, you’d have to wonder if you’re going to get a fully focused Northern Illinois team. I’m going with the team with the better defense, that’s playing in a bowl they are definitely happy to be playing in.

2013 Free Poinsettia Bowl Picks For 12/26: Utah State PK & Under 57.5
Utah State vs No. Illinois Score Prediction: Utah State 31 Northern Illinois 21


 

 

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