All the talk leading up to the 2013 Poinsettia Bowl was about Northern Illinois Huskies quarterback, Jordan Lynch and if he could make college football history and become the first player to throw for 2,000 yards and rush for 2,000 in the same season after finishing third in the Heisman Trophy voting.
N one seemed to notice that the Utah State Aggies had the No. 7 scoring defense, yielding only 17.3 points per game and boasted the No. 9 rushing defense in the country that allowed 107.7 yards per game on the ground this season. In fact, over their last three games, the Aggies were only allowing 40.7 rush yards.
Lynch needed 119 yards to hit the 2,000-yard mark this season and 191 to break Denard Robinson’s career rushing record for a quarterback, but the Aggies defense was stout and limited Lynch to 39 yards on 18 carries in their 21-14 win over Northern Illinois.
Utah State limited the Huskies to a total of 99 yards on the ground for a paltry 2.6 yards per rush. Conversely, Utah State ran for 168, led by Joey DeMartino’s 143 to improve to 7-0 on the season when rushing for more than 100 yards.
For the second straight season, the Huskies laid an egg in their bowl game. Although no one gave them much of a chance last year in the Orange Bowl vs. the Florida State Seminoles, Lynch and the Huskies were expected to win this game despite only being a two-point favorite.
The loss is the second in a row for Northern Illinois after losing the MAC Championship Game to Bowling Green and missing their chance for a second straight BCS bowl. NIU kicker, Mathew Sims continued his struggles and missed two field goals tonight. He has missed nine of his past 13 attempts.
Lynch finishes his NIU career as arguably the program’s best player in their history and an uncertain NFL future. Questions about his ability to be an NFL quarterback will follow him as they did for the player he has been most compared to the past two years, Tim Tebow, who had a short run in the NFL.
Meanwhile, Utah State gets their star quarterback Chuckie Keeton back after he tore his ACL and MCL earlier this season and he should be back in time for summer camp as the Aggies look to improve on their 9-5 season this year.
Northern Illinois finishes 12-2 after starting the season 12-0.