By Craig Fields
Utah State Aggies vs #23 N. Illinois Huskies
Thursday – December 26 – 7:30 PM
Qualcomm Stadium – San Diego
Significance: Jordan Lynch, dual threat quarterback for the Northern Illinois Huskies and third place finisher for the Heisman, will be looking to add to his record for rush yards by a quarterback. Totaling 1,881 yards already, Lynch will be looking for the 2,000 yard mark against a pretty good defense.
This team’s defense will have the chore of stopping one of the most dynamic offensive talents in the nation, Jordan Lynch. However, they just might be up to the challenge. They only give up 17.3 points per game which is seventh best in the NCAA. They also have one of the stingiest rush defenses in the nation giving up only 2.8 yards per carry. The Aggies also rank 17th overall in turnover margin (0.8), which could give the Huskies pretty much one-dimensional offense some issues. Having an offense that is less dynamic than their opponent’s, the defense will need to provide them with a short field in order to have their best shot to win this game.
#23 Northern Illinois
The Huskies offense is one of the best in the nation averaging over 530 yards a game and almost 42 points a game. With no real dynamic receivers, this team is focused on a ground game that gets yards in bunches. Jordan Lynch is the motor that makes this team go. His ability to both run and throw makes this offense big play capable every time they have the ball, on every single down. Lynch, who has also thrown for over 2,600 yards and has 45 total touchdowns (22 rush, 23 pass) is a Cam Newton type talent that is capable of carrying a team. Lynch will need to carry his Huskies against an aggressive defense that loves to key in on the run.
Prediction: Utah State 27 – 17