Northern Illinois vs. Utah State: 2013 Poinsettia Bowl

Northern Illinois' consolation prize for their loss in the MAC Championship Game is a trip to picturesque San Diego and a date with Utah State on the day after Christmas in the Poinsettia Bowl. The Aggies feature a dangerous defense, similar to the one that shut Jordan Lynch and co. down in the MACC. Can NIU rebound from a brutal loss and cap off the Huskies fantastic 2013 season on a high note? We'll be covering all the action leading up, and during, the big game right here.

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Utah State Bests Northern Illinois in San Diego

Huskies stuffed in the last game in an NIU uniform for Jordan Lynch.


Aggies Take Poinsettia Bowl 21-14

Starting the fourth quarter down by 6, but with the ball and momentum, the Huskies still failed to do anything. After the successful fake, the Huskies only managed six yards in their next three plays and were forced to give the ball back to Utah State.

Starting from their own 30, the Aggies moved backwards on their first two plays. A 15-yard personal foul and a 1-yard QB rush set up a 3rd-23. On third down George Rainey tipped the pass and Ken Bishop picked off Garretson, giving NIU the ball at the Utah State 13.

Once again the Aggie defense showed up. The Huskies were forced into a 4th-and-nine where Matt Sims would come on for a 29-yard attempt...which he missed...again! Sims missed his ninth kick in 13 attempts and gave the Aggies the ball back at their own 22-yard line.

The Aggies would try to clock by using DeMartino on most of their plays, and wound up stringing together a long drive. Utah State would convert multiple third downs on their way on their way to a 1-yard TD run by DeMartino.The 2-point conversion gave the Aggies a 21-7 lead with 4:14 to go.

After a good return to the 40 by Paris Logan, the Huskies would hurry up, as best as possible, driving down to the 15. But the defense would force a 4-10 , in which Lynch would hit Brescacin for a 9 yard gain...but Brescacin would break a tackle and find the endzone! Making it a 21-14 game with 1:44 to go.

From there the Aggies would call a timeout, icking the NIU kicker and getting their coverage ready for the onside kick.

Tyler Wedel, NIU's punter, would then try attempt a onside kick. But the Aggies recovered, giving Utah State their second straight bowl win, 21-14.


Aggies lead NIU 13-7 After 3 Quarters

The Huskies got the second half kickoff but didn't do much...or anything, with it, as on the first play Lynch threw his eight pick of the season - giving the Aggies the ball the NIU 31-yard line. Utah State wouldn't waste much time, as Brandon Swindall caught a 7-yard TD pass to give the Aggies their second lead of the game: 13-7.

On their next possession, NIU struggled. The Aggies forced a short run, an incompletion, and then sacked Lynch; forcing a three andout, and a 48-yard punt from Tyler Wedel. But the Huskies defense stepped up, forcing a forth-and-two and a punt, with no damage being done.

But, with the Huskies starting from their own 15, the Aggie defense again forced a three and out. Garretson and the Aggies took over at their own 40, After a first down, the Aggies had a man wide open on a trick play, but Jimmie Ward made a great recovery and forced an incompletion - leading to a 4-1. The Aggies would go for it and get way more than just the one they needed - running for around 20 yards, inside the 15.

However, Jimmie Ward had enough. Ward jumped the route, picking the ball off in the endzone and running it out to the 15. NIU's offense still struggled though, gaining just 9 yards on the three plays, forcing another fourth down, and yet another punt. But the Huskies pull out all the tricks, faking the punt and running for seven yards, keeping the drive alive and ending the third quarter.


Huskies Lead by Slimest of Margins at Half; 7-6

After a early 3-0 lead, and starting the second quarter from the Huskie 27-yard line, the Aggies were forced in to a fourth and 11, making them kick another field goal. Diaz, this time connecting from 39 yards, gave Utah State the 6-0 lead.

Lynch and the Huskies began their fourth possession with a couple of first downs and got into Utah State territory in just three plays. And that's where the Aggie defense showed up, forcing the Huskies into a 3rd and 4 from the 41. But big Cameron Stingily ran up the middle for 5, and a first down, preserving the drive. The Huskies would then run repeated at the Aggie defense with Lynch and Stingily, power versus power. The Huskies would win the battle, as Lynch forced his way into the endzone giving NIU a 7-6 lead with 8:17 remaining.

Utah State would start at the 35 after an NIU horse collar call. From there they would get a few more yards, but the Huskie defense would force a punt - that would sneak into the endzone, giving NIU the ball at their own 20.

From there the Huskies would drive down inside the Utah State thirty, and with less than 50 seconds to go, on a 4-and-three, the Huskies would attempt a QB sneak with Lynch. The Aggie defense was ready for it, forcing Lynch back, and taking over at their own 25.

However, NIU would hold them, getting two sacks in the last 20 seconds, preserving a 7-6 halftime lead.


Aggies lead Huskies 3-0 after One Quarter

As predicted, the defenses have shown up through the first 15 minutes. The Huskies, after stopping the Aggies, were backed up to their own 2-yard line following a great punt. They went three-and-out on their first possession but gave Utah State great field possession after a 17-yard punt.

The Aggies were once again stopped on three plays and attempted a 52-yard field goal - which went wide right. But their defense showed why they are a top-10 team, forcing Lynch to fumble on the Huskies next drive, and recovering it near midfield. They would not let the turnover go to waste. This time their kicker was true on a 31-yard attempt - giving the Aggies a 3-0 lead.

The Huskies countered with a good drive of their own - driving down to the Utah State 25. Matthew Sims attempted his first kick, which he pushed right, preserving the Aggie lead.

On their next drive DeMartino found a huge hole up the middle on their second play, running for 58-yards. But a false start and a 2-yard loss makes it 2-17 for Utah State to start the 2nd quarter.


Come Hangout & Chat About the Poinsettia Bowl

Two bowl games in one night!? Christmas may have come late, but it's a fantastic one in deed. We'll be live chatting the Poinsettia Bowl right here, so come hangout with us for the game.


2013 Poinsettia Bowl: Hustle Belt's Drinking Game

After taking in the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl, we invite you to go for broke playing the Poinsettia Bowl Drinking Game as Heisman Finalist Jordan Lynch plays his final collegiate game against the Utah State Aggies. Please play responsibly.


NIU Has Arrived At Qualcomm

The Huskies have arrived at Qualcomm Stadium, the host site of tonight's Poinsettia Bowl. The game is set to kick off at roughly 9:30 pm EST. It can be seen on ESPN after the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl concludes.


How to Watch the Poinsettia Bowl: NIU vs Utah St

Jordan Lynch's dynamic college career comes to a close Thursday, the 26th when the Huskies face the Utah State Aggies in the Poinsettia Bowl. Here's the info you need to make sure you don't miss a snap.


Spread Offense: The Poinsettia Bowl

NIU, sorry you didn't earn that trip to Arizona, or even to Michigan. Here's your consolation prize: Sunny San Diego.


The 5 Names You to Know For the Poinsettia Bowl

When the Northern Illinois Huskies take on the Utah State Aggies on December 26th, here are the five players you should be keeping an eye on.


Poinsettia Bowl Preview: NIU vs Utah State

The Huskies will look to avenge their MAC Championship game loss, and end 2013 on a positive note, when they take on the Utah State Aggies on December 26th.


Northern Illinois Is Going To The Poinsettia Bowl

Northern Illinois' consolation prize for their loss in the MAC Championship Game is a trip to picturesque San Diego and a date with Utah State on the day after Christmas in the Poinsettia Bowl.

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