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Northern Illinois Huskies vs. Utah State Aggies Poinsettia Bowl Pick-Odds-Prediction 12/26/13

Utah State Aggies (8-5) at Northern Illinois Huskies (12-1)

College Football: Thursday, December 26, 2013 at 9:30 pm (Qualcomm Stadium)

The Line: Northern Illinois Huskies -1.5 -- Over/Under: 58 See the Latest Odds


The Northern Illinois Huskies play the Utah State Aggies in the San Diego Country Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl on Thursday.

Northern Illinois finished 12-1 overall and 8-0 in the MAC this year. The Huskies were hoping to play in a BCS bowl for the second straight year but were relegated to the Poinsettia Bowl after losing to Bowling Green in the MAC title game. A victory would give Northern Illinois the first 13-win season in school history. Northern Illinois averages 41.6 points and 535.5 total yards with nearly 60% of the production, 312.5 yards, coming on the ground this year. QB Jordan Lynch has passed for 2,676 yards and 23 touchdowns, but it’s his running abilities that allowed him to become one of the top players in college football. Lynch rushed for 1,881 yards and 22 scores and twice ran for more than 300 yards in a game. Lynch is complemented by RB Cameron Stingily, who rushed for 1,081 yards and 9 touchdowns this season. Lynch’s favorite targets are WR Tommylee Lewis, who has 80 catches for 660 yards, and WR Da’Ron Brown, who has 42 catches for 689 yards with 9 touchdowns. The Huskies defense allows 25.4 points per game and is led by S Jimmie Ward, who has 89 tackles and six interceptions, and OLB Jamaal Bass and LB Boomer Mayes who have a combined 158 tackles this season.

Northern Illinois Huskies vs. Utah State Aggies Poinsettia Bowl Pick-Odds-Prediction 12/26/13

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah State Aggies finished 8-5 overall and 7-1 in the MWC. The Aggies lost star QB Chuckie Keeton at midseason and it was though their fortunes would spiral downward. But Utah State rebounded to win its final five regular-season games and is brimming with confidence after giving Fresno State a hard battle in the MWC title game before succumbing. The Aggies are stout on defense, ranking seventh in scoring defense at 17.3 per game, 10th in rushing defense at 107.3 per game, and 12th in total defense with 332.1 yards per game. LB’s Jake Doughty, 140 tackles and 10.5 for a loss, and Zach Vigil, 115 tackles and 12.5 for a loss, are always around the ball on defense. CB Nevin Lawson and S Brian Suite each have four interceptions on the year. On Offense, the Aggies replaced Keeton with freshman QB Darrell Garretson, who has thrown for 1,325 yards and 9 touchdowns. RB Joey DeMartino has rushed for 1,078 yards and 12 touchdowns. The Aggies also have three wideouts who caught 50 or more passes in Bruce Natson, Travis Reynolds, and Travis Van Leeuwen.

Heisman Trophy finalist Lynch plays the final game of his stellar college career on Thursday and I will have to back him one last time. I think Lynch and company will score a ton of points on Utah State, and the Aggies will not be able to keep up. Northern Illinois wins and covers on Thursday.

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Northern Illiniois -1.5

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