Utah State Aggies (8-5 SU, 8-5 ATS)
Utah State fans have to be impressed with the coaching job first year head coach Matt Wells has done with a program that has been without their starting quarterback Chuckie Keeton, sidelined with a knee injury, midway through the season. Fortunately they are equipped with a tenacious defense that has only allowed 17.3 points per game (7th in the nation) and a true freshman in Darrell Garretson who has been steady in relief at quarterback.
In the Mountain West Conference championship game against Fresno State on December 7th, the Aggies were reduced to playing their third-string quarterback Craig Harrison after Darrell Garretson was knocked out of the game due to a collision with Fresno State’s Dalen Jones early in the fourth quarter. Harrison tossed an interception as the Aggies were driving deep into Fresno territory with only 58 seconds left on the clock. That was the final nail in the coffin that saw the Aggies come within a touchdown of the conference championship, losing 24-17 in Fresno.
Northern Illinois Huskies (12-1 SU, 8-5 ATS)
While the Huskies may not possess the stout defense of their opponent at the SDCU Poinsettia Bowl they sure as hell can put up the crooked numbers. Northern Illinois is averaging 41.6 points per game which ranks them 9th in the nation. Senior Jordan Lynch has been Mr. Everything for the Huskies and broke his own record for FBS rushing by a quarterback with a remarkable 1881 yards on the ground.
The Huskies were gunning for that perfect season until they ran into Bowling Green as 4 ½ point favorites in college football odds in the MAC championship game. The Falcons tough as nails defense was able to contain the Huskies but unfortunately the Huskies were not able to return the favor and prevent the high octane offense of Bowling Green from reaching the endzone.
While the hype surrounding Jordan Lynch and his heroics this season was front and center, BG’s own quarterback Matt Johnson had different ideas. Lynch was outdueled by Johnson who torched the Huskies defense in a sterling performance for five passing touchdown strikes which led the Falcons to a 47-27 victory over the Huskies and the MAC title.
Free NCAAF Bowl Pick:
The million dollar question here is what do you like, offense or defense? And don’t think you’re going to get any historical perspective on this game because these two schools have not met on the gridiron since 1995. Those players are now bankers, accountants, lawyers, doctors and perhaps even among the unemployed. The only football they’re playing is with their children so let’s move on.
Jordan Lynch and Northern Illinois had their hands full with a top ten Bowling Green defense and will get little relief when they battle Utah State who boasts a stout defense of their own. But here’s the thing. Utah State did allow 24 points to Fresno State who owns a prolific passing offense but a below average defense. Northern Illinois has made their own bones on offense yet suits up a much better defensive unit than the Bulldogs.
This will be a battle of wills defensively but I like the pace and tempo that Jordan Lynch brings to the equation as well as his experience under center. This is one game that is clearly in the court of Lynch and his Huskies. Play Northern Illinois in your college football picks
College Football Pick: Bet the NIU Huskies at Bet365.com.