NIU gets Utah St. in Poinsettia Bowl Dec 26 - FOX 35 News Orlando

NIU gets Utah St. in Poinsettia Bowl Dec 26

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DeKALB, Ill. – The Northern Illinois UniversityHuskies 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 announcedSunday.  NIU (12-1), ranked No. 23 (USAToday)/No. 24 (Associated Press) will take on Utah State (8-5) of the MountainWest Conference at 8:30 p.m. CT at Qualcomm Stadium.  The game will be televised on ESPN.

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

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

"We are extremely excited to accept the invitationto play in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl," Fraziersaid.  "I want to thank Bruce Binkowskyand the entire Poinsettia Bowl Committee and Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher andthe staff of the MAC for providing our players and coaches, fans and familieswith this excellent opportunity.  It'sgoing to be a great game and a fantastic experience in a wonderful city."

Tickets for the 2013 Poinsettia Bowl game can bepurchased for $65 (club level), $50 (field/plaza level) or $30 (plaza/generaladmission) via the Tickets page at NIUHuskies.com, or access the link throughthe 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 TicketOffice in the Convocation Center at 815-753-PACK (7225) during regular businesshours.  Information on travel packagesfor Huskie fans to San Diego will be available soon onNIUSportsTravel.com.  Keep checking the"Bowl Central" website on NIUHuskies.com for all of the latest information onthe Huskies' latest bowl trip.

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

Lynch leads the most prolific offensein NIU history as receivers Tommylee Lewis (80 catches) and Da'Ron Brown (ninetouchdowns, 16.4 yards/catch) and fellow 1,000-yard rusher Cameron Stingilycomplement 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 89tackles.  Defensive tackle Ken Bishop isa force in the middle with 65 stops as the Huskies have held six of their lasteight opponents to 20 points or less.

After falling to Bowling Green in the2013 Marathon MAC Championship game Friday night, NIU Head Coach Rod Carey saidhe and the team are eager to play again.  

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

NIU and Utah State will meet for thesecond time.  The Huskies and Aggiespreviously played on Oct. 14, 1995 as members of the Big West Conference withUtah State claiming a 42-7 victory.  TheHuskies will face a team from the Mountain West Conference in a bowl for thesecond time and is 0-1 in those games after falling to TCU in San Diego in2006.

Utah State is playing in itsschool-record third straight bowl game.  Afteropening the year with a 3-4 record, the Aggies won the last five games of theregular season to win the Mountain Division of the Mountain West Conferencebefore falling to Fresno State in the Mountain West Championship game.

This is the ninth year that the SanDiego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl will be played.  For more information, check the bowl'swebsite at www.PoinsettiaBowl.comand follow the bowl on Facebook (Poinsettia Bowl) and Twitter (@PoinsettiaBowl).

 

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