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Written by Mark Roberts on December 22, 2013

Northern Illinois Huskies vs. Utah State Aggies Pick-Odds-Prediction - 12/26/13: Mark's Free College Football Pick Against the Spread
Photo by: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Northern Illinois and Jordan Lynch square off with the Utah State defense in the Poinsettia Bowl.

The Northern Illinois Huskies collide with the Utah State Aggies in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.

The big story surrounding Utah State to kick off the season was Heisman candidate Chuckie Keeton. The even bigger news was Keeton tearing up his knee and being lost for the season. To their credit the Aggies did not fold with wins in five straight to close the regular season before taking Fresno State to the brink in a 24-17 loss in the MWC title game. With Keeton one the Aggies leaned hard on an above average defense that allowed 332 yards and 17 points which were both top 15 numbers. Number wise the USU attack was middle of the row with421 yards and over 32 points with balance between the ground and air games. Keeton was enjoying a phenominal season with 1,388 yards with 19 TD's and two picks before his injury but Darrell Garretson wasn't bad in relief with 1,315 yards with nine scores and five picks. Travis Reynolds (51-832) an Travis Van Leeuwen (50-638) were the top two targets while Joey DeMartino was the work horse on the ground with 1,078 yards on 198 tries with 12 scores.

Northern Illinois seemed destined to go unbeaten and secure a BCS Bowl invitation but they ran in to a red hot Bowling Green in the MAC championship and dropped a 47-27 decision. Even Jordan Lynch cold not bail out the Huskies as the defense couldn't buy a stop. Overall the defense allowed 424 yards and 25 points which was golden with the attack racking up 535 yards and nearly 42 points led by the number five rushing game that racked up 312 yards. Even though NIU loved to run Lynch was a strong passer with 2,676 yards on 63% completions for 23 touchdowns and seven picks. Lynch was even better using his legs with 274 rushes yielding 1,881 yards with a seven yard average and 22 touchdowns. Cameron Stingily was a quality option with 1,081 yards on 192 carries. Da'Ron Brown was an explosive receiver with 689 yards on 42 catches while TommyLee Lewis was more of a ball control type with 660 yards on 80 receptions.

Utah State lost Keeton and Garretson is coming back from a concussion so this could be decided by defense with the Aggies matching up well with Lynch. For now I'll back the under...


Mark's Pick: under 58.5

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