Utah State, Northern Illinois to meet in 2013 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl

<span class=”userContent”>See what Utah State, Northern Illinois and the SDCCU Poinsettia Bowl are saying about this year’s bowl match up to be played on Dec. 26 in San Diego.</span>

<span style=”text-decoration: underline;”><strong>UTAH STATE UNIVERSITY PRESS RELEASE</strong></span>

LOGAN – Utah State football will face Northern Illinois University in the ninth-annual San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl on Thursday, Dec. 26 at 7:30 p.m. (MT) at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Calif., it was announced Sunday. The bowl game, which will be televised live on ESPN, will be the second-ever meeting between the two teams.

“We gladly accept the invitation to represent Utah State University and the Mountain West Conference in the 2013 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl,” said first year Utah State head coach Matt Wells. “The Poinsettia Bowl has a lot of history and prestige and I know our players will be excited to play in southern California. This bowl game is a great reward for our team and its accomplishments this year, especially down the stretch, and solidifies the strength of this program as we will be playing in our third-straight bowl game for the first time in school history.”

Northern Illinois (12-1, 8-0 MAC) won the West Division of the Mid-American Conference before losing to Bowling Green, 47-27, in its championship game this year. The Huskies, who won their first 12 games of the season, were ranked as high as 14th in the nation in the Bowl Championship Series standings before their loss last weekend.

Northern Illinois, who will enter the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl ranked 24th in the latest Associated Press top 25, has a pair of wins against Big 10 schools this season with a 30-27 victory at Iowa and a 55-24 win at Purdue.

The Huskies most recently played in the 2013 Discover Orange Bowl in Miami, Fla., as it lost to Florida State, 31-10.

This will be the second-ever meeting between Northern Illinois and Utah State as the Aggies recorded a 42-7 home win against the Huskies on Oct. 14, 1995.

“We are excited to prepare for a quality Northern Illinois team that had an outstanding season. Our staff has great respect for Northern Illinois head coach Rod Carey and the Huskies team. They are very well coached and obviously very talented as they are playing in their sixth-straight bowl game,” added Wells.

After starting the season with a 3-4 mark and losing five offensive players to season-ending injuries including Heisman Trophy candidate in junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton, Utah State (8-5, 7-1 MW) won its final five games of the regular season to win the Mountain Division of the Mountain West Conference and advance to the inaugural Mountain West Football Championship Game, where it lost at 24th-ranked Fresno State, 24-17.

With the loss of five offensive starters, Utah State has relied on its defense to win games as the Aggies rank among the top 25 defenses in the nation in five different statistical categories, including seventh in the nation in scoring defense (17.3 ppg), 11th in the nation in total defense (332.1 ypg) and rushing defense (107.3 ypg), 14th in the nation in passing efficiency defense (113.22), and 23rd in the nation passing defense (224.8 ypg). 

Highlighting Utah State’s defense is a pair of former walk-ons at the inside linebacker positions in senior Jake Doughty and junior Zach Vigil, as Doughty ranks ninth in the nation with 10.8 tackles per game (140) and Vigil ranks tied for 39th nationally with 8.8 tackles per game (115). USU also features one of the top cornerbacks in the nation in senior Nevin Lawson who has four interceptions on the season and ranks tied for 10th in the nation with 1.31 passes defended per game.

Offensively, Utah State produced its third-straight 1,000-yard rusher in senior running back Joey DeMartino who has carried the ball 198 times for 1,078 yards (5.4 ypc) with 12 touchdowns on the season, as the Aggies start four seniors on the offensive line including two-time first-team all-league center in Tyler Larsen.  Overall, USU’s offense ranks tied for 37th in the nation in scoring (32.6 ppg), 41st nationally in rushing offense (178.8 ypg) and 49th in the nation in total offense (420.9 ypg).

Utah State is 8-2 overall against the Mid-American Conference teams, and will be playing a team from the MAC in a bowl game for the third-straight season as it defeated Toledo, 41-15, in the 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl and lost to Ohio, 24-23, in the 2011 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

Overall, it is the first time in school history that Utah State has played in back-to-back-to-back bowl games. The only other time USU has played in consecutive bowl games was in 1946 (Raisin Bowl) and 1947 (Grape Bowl), and in 1960 (Sun Bowl) and in 1961 (Gotham Bowl).

All time, this will be Utah State’s ninth bowl appearance in the program’s history as it played in the 1946 Raisin Bowl, the 1947 Grape Bowl, the 1960 Sun Bowl, the 1961 Gotham Bowl, the 1993 Las Vegas Bowl, the 1997 Humanitarian Bowl and the 2011 and 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowls.

Utah State’s only other bowl win in school history was at the 1993 Las Vegas Bowl when it defeated Ball State, 42-33, along with its 41-15 win against Toledo last season in the 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

Tickets for the 2013 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl are available by contacting the USU Ticket Office at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, or by phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or (435) 797-0305. Tickets can also be purchased 24 hours a day at <a href=”http://www.UtahStateAggies.com”>www.UtahStateAggies.com</a>.

The USU Alumni Association will also be hosting a pregame event in conjunction with the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. Keep up-to-date by visiting its web site at www.usu.edu/alumni/events.

Fans can follow the Aggie football program at twitter.com/USUFootball or on facebook at Utah State Football, as well as on instagram at instagram.com/USUFootball. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics, on facebook at Utah State University Athletics or on instagram at instagram.com/USUAthletics.

<strong><span style=”text-decoration: underline;”>Utah State Football Bowl History (2-6)</span></strong>

1946 Raisin Bowl vs. San Jose State – L, 0-20 (Fresno, Calif.)

1947 Grape Bowl vs. Pacific – L, 21-35 (Lodi, Calif.)

1960 Sun Bowl vs. New Mexico State – L, 13-20 (El Paso, Texas)

1961 Gotham Bowl vs. Baylor – L, 9-24 (New York City)

1993 Las Vegas Bowl vs. Ball State – W, 42-33 (Las Vegas, Nev.)

1997 Humanitarian Bowl vs. Cincinnati – L, 19-35 (Boise, Idaho)

2011 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl vs. Ohio – L, 23-24 (Boise, Idaho)

2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl vs. Toledo – W, 41-15 (Boise, Idaho)

<strong><span style=”text-decoration: underline;”>Utah State vs. Mid-American Conference (8-2)</span></strong>

Ball State – 1-0 (1993 Las Vegas Bowl)

Bowling Green – 2-0  (1969a, 1970h)

Kent State – 1-1 (1973h, 1974a)

Northern Illinois – 1-0 (1995h)

Ohio – 1-1 (1994a, 2011 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl)

Toledo – 1-0 (2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl)

Western Michigan – 1-0 (1961a)

(Have not played: Akron, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Massachusetts, Miami (Ohio))

<strong><span style=”text-decoration: underline;”>San Diego Country Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl History</span></strong>

Dec. 20, 2012 – BYU (Independent) 23, San Diego State (MW) 6

Dec. 21, 2011 – TCU (MW) 31, Louisiana Tech (WAC) 24

Dec. 23, 2010 – San Diego State (MW) 35, Navy (Independent) 14

Dec. 23, 2009 – Utah (MW) 37, California (Pac-12) 27

Dec. 23, 2008 – TCU (MW) 17, Boise State (WAC) 16

Dec. 20, 2007 – Utah (MW) 35, Navy (Independent) 32

Dec. 19, 2006 – TCU (MW) 37, Northern Illinois (MAC) 7

Dec. 22, 2005 – Navy (Independent) 51, Colorado State (MW) 30

<span style=”text-decoration: underline;”><strong>NORTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY PRESS RELEASE</strong></span>

DeKALB, Ill. – The Northern Illinois University Huskies will close out a record-setting 2013 campaign in sunny San Diego, Calif. at the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, NIU, bowl and MAC officials announced Sunday. NIU (12-1), ranked No. 23 (USA Today)/No. 24 (Associated Press) will take on Utah State (8-5) of the Mountain West Conference at 8:30 p.m. CT at Qualcomm Stadium. The game will be televised on ESPN.

NIU will extend its streak of consecutive seasons with a bowl game to six, a MAC record, and will play in a bowl game for the eighth time in the last 10 years. The Huskies previously played in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl in 2006 when they lost to TCU. NIU is 4-4 in bowl games as a major college team (since 1969) with a 5-8 record in bowls all-time.

The Huskies, who won the MAC West title and became the first team from the Mid-American Conference to win two games over Big Ten teams in the same season, also won seven road games in 2013 while playing games from Moscow, Idaho to Foxborough, Mass., are looking forward to this final trip of 2013, said NIU Associate Vice-President and Director of Athletics Sean T. Frazier.

“We are extremely excited to accept the invitation to play in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl,” Frazier said. “I want to thank Bruce Binkowsky and the entire Poinsettia Bowl Committee and Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher and the staff of the MAC for providing our players and coaches, fans and families with this excellent opportunity. It’s going to be a great game and a fantastic experience in a wonderful city.”

Tickets for the 2013 Poinsettia Bowl game can be purchased for $65 (club level), $50 (field/plaza level) or $30 (plaza/general admission) via the Tickets page at NIUHuskies.com, or access the link through the Bowl Central page on the website. The links will be live beginning at 10 a.m. (CT) Monday, Dec. 9. Fans can also call the NIU Athletics Ticket Office in the Convocation Center at 815-753-PACK (7225) during regular business hours. Information on travel packages for Huskie fans to San Diego will be available soon on NIUSportsTravel.com. Keep checking the “Bowl Central” website on NIUHuskies.com for all of the latest information on the Huskies’ latest bowl trip.

NIU opened the season with a school-record 12 consecutive victories behind dynamic dual-threat Heisman Trophy candidate Jordan Lynch. Lynch, who has run for an NCAA quarterback record 1,881 yards and passed for 2,676 while rushing for 22 scores and passing for 23, leads the nation’s fifth-ranked offense into San Diego. The two-time MAC MVP as winner of the Vern Smith Leadership Award, and a finalist for the Walter Camp Player of the Yar honor, Lynch has set four NCAA records this season.

Lynch leads the most prolific offense in NIU history as receivers Tommylee Lewis (80 catches) and Da’Ron Brown (nine touchdowns, 16.4 yards/catch) and fellow 1,000-yard rusher Cameron Stingily complement his abilities. Defensively, the Huskies feature one of the top safeties in the MAC in senior Jimmie Ward, who has six of NIU’s 17 interceptions on the season and leads NIU with 89 tackles. Defensive tackle Ken Bishop is a force in the middle with 65 stops as the Huskies have held six of their last eight opponents to 20 points or less.

After falling to Bowling Green in the 2013 Marathon MAC Championship game Friday night, NIU Head Coach Rod Carey said he and the team are eager to play again.

“I couldn’t be happier about taking this team to California to play in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl,” Carey said. “Everyone has great things to say about the bowl itself, the organization and how the city and community support the game. It’s a great reward for a great season by this team, and I know the players will be excited to get back on the field together for their last game.”

NIU and Utah State will meet for the second time. The Huskies and Aggies previously played on Oct. 14, 1995 as members of the Big West Conference with Utah State claiming a 42-7 victory. The Huskies will face a team from the Mountain West Conference in a bowl for the second time and is 0-1 in those games after falling to TCU in San Diego in 2006.

Utah State is playing in its school-record third straight bowl game. After opening the year with a 3-4 record, the Aggies won the last five games of the regular season to win the Mountain Division of the Mountain West Conference before falling to Fresno State in the Mountain West Championship game.

<span style=”text-decoration: underline;”><strong>SDCCU POINSETTIA BOWL PRESS RELEASE</strong></span>

The Utah State Aggies and Northern Illinois Huskies have accepted invitations to play in the 9th annual San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, 2013 Bowl President Bill Geppert announced today. It marks the second appearance in the San Diego bowl game for the Huskies and the first for the Aggies.

The SDCCU Poinsettia Bowl kicks off at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 26 at Qualcomm Stadium and will be televised on ESPN.

“We are so excited to be matching two conference division champs in this year’s game,” said Geppert. “While the paths each school took to get to San Diego may have differed a bit, these two teams had tremendous season and will surely put on quite a show at Qualcomm Stadium.”

The game matches division winners from the Mountain West and the Mid-American Conferences.

Utah State (8-5, 7-1) battled through plenty of adversity during the 2013 season to qualify for its third straight bowl game, which is a school record. After starting the season with a 3-4 mark and losing five offensive players to season-ending injuries including Heisman Trophy candidate in junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton, the Aggies won its final five games of the regular season to win the Mountain Division of the Mountain West Conference and advance to the inaugural Mountain West Football Championship Game, where it lost at 24th-ranked Fresno State, 24-17.

With the loss of five offensive starters, Utah State has relied on its defense to win games as the Aggies rank among the top 25 defenses in the nation in five different statistical categories including seventh in the nation in scoring defense (17.3 ppg), 11th in the nation in total defense (332.1 ypg) and rushing defense (107.3 ypg), 14th in the nation in passing efficiency defense (113.22), and 23rd in the nation passing defense (224.8 ypg).

Highlighting, Utah State’s defense is a pair of former walk-ons at the inside linebacker positions in senior Jake Doughty and junior Zach Vigil, as Doughty ranks ninth in the nation with 10.8 tackles per game (140) and Vigil ranks tied for 39th nationally with 8.8 tackles per game (115). USU also features one of the top cornerbacks in the nation in senior Nevin Lawson who has four interceptions on the season and ranks tied for 10th in the nation with 1.31 passes defended per game.

Offensively, Utah State produced its third-straight 1,000-yard rusher in senior running back Joey DeMartino who has carried the ball 198 times for 1,078 yards (5.4 ypc) with 12 touchdowns on the season, as the Aggies start four seniors on the offensive line including two-time first-team all-league center in Tyler Larsen. Overall, USU’s offense ranks tied for 37th in the nation in scoring (32.6 ppg), 41st nationally in rushing offense (178.8 ypg) and 49th in the nation in total offense (420.9 ypg).

The Northern Illinois University Huskies (12-1, 8-0), ranked No. 23 (USA Today Coaches’ Poll)/No. 24 (Associated Press) will play in a MAC record sixth-straight bowl game after opening the season with a school-record 12 consecutive victories behind dynamic dual-threat Heisman Trophy candidate Jordan Lynch. Lynch, who has run for an NCAA quarterback record 1,881 yards and passed for 2,676 while rushing for 22 scores and passing for 23, leads the nation’s fifth-ranked offense into San Diego. The two-time MAC MVP as winner of the Vern Smith Leadership Award, and a finalist for the Walter Camp Player of the Year honor, Lynch has set four NCAA records this season.

Lynch leads the most prolific offense in NIU history as receivers Tommylee Lewis (80 catches) and Da’Ron Brown (nine touchdowns, 16.4 yards/catch) and fellow 1,000-yard rusher Cameron Stingily complement his abilities. Defensively, the Huskies feature one of the top safeties in the MAC in senior Jimmie Ward, who has six of NIU’s 17 interceptions on the season and leads NIU with 89 tackles. Defensive tackle Ken Bishop is a force in the middle with 65 stops as the Huskies have held six of their last eight opponents to 20 points or less.

Tickets for the 2013 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl can be purchased by calling TicketMaster at 1-800-745-3000, or by visiting www.PoinsettiaBowl.com. Fans can also purchase tickets at Qualcomm Stadium, Window B, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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