Utah State Aggies vs. Northern Illinois Huskies (-1.5, 58)
The game will be played at Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California
SAN DIEGO COUNTY CREDIT UNION POINSETTIA BOWL STORYLINES:
1. Heisman Trophy finalist Jordan Lynch plays the final game of his stellar college career when No. 23 Northern Illinois faces Utah State in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl on Dec. 26. Lynch has passed for 2,676 yards and 23 touchdowns, but it is his running abilities that allowed him to crash the Heisman festivities. Lynch rushed for 1,881 yards and 22 scores and twice ran for more than 300 yards in a game.
2. 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 Mid-American Conference title game. A victory would give Northern Illinois the first 13-win season in school history while Utah State is playing in back-to-back-to-back bowls for the first time ever and is looking for the third bowl victory in school history.
3. The Aggies lost star quarterback Chuckie Keeton at midseason and it was thought 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 Mountain West title game before succumbing.
TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN.
LINE: The line hasn't moved off -1.5 and the total has stayed put at 58.
WEATHER: It will be clear with temperatures in the mid 60s.
ABOUT NORTHERN ILLINOIS (12-1, 8-5 ATS): The Huskies average 41.6 points and 535.5 total yards with nearly 60 percent of the production (312.5) coming on the ground. Lynch is complemented by running back Cameron Stingily (1,081, nine touchdowns) and his favorite targets are possession receiver Tommylee Lewis (80 catches, 660 yards) and big-play wideout Da’Ron Brown (42 for 689, nine TDs). Northern Illinois allows 25.4 points per game and the defense is led by safety Jimmie Ward (team leader with 89 tackles and six interceptions), outside linebacker Jamaal Bass (81 stops) and middle linebacker Boomer Mayes (77 tackles).
ABOUT UTAH STATE (8-5, 8-5 ATS): The Aggies are stout on defense, ranking seventh in scoring defense (17.3), 10th in rushing defense (107.3) and 12th in total defense (332.1) while featuring several standouts. Inside linebackers Jake Doughty (140 tackles, 10.5 for loss) and Zach Vigil (115 tackles, 12.5 for loss) are always around the ball while cornerback Nevin Lawson and safety Brian Suite each have four interceptions. Freshman Darell Garretson (1,325 yards, nine touchdowns) replaced Keeton at quarterback for an offense that also features running back Joey DeMartino (1,078 yards, 12 scores) and three wideouts who caught 50 or more passes in Bruce Natson (56), Travis Reynolds (51) and Travis Van Leeuwen (50).
* Utah State is 12-3 ATS in its last 15 non-conference games.
* Northern Illinois is 1-6 ATS in its last seven games in December.
* Under is 4-0 in Utah State's last four games overall.
* Over is 4-0 in Northern Illinois last four non-conference games.