SAN DIEGO COUNTY CREDIT UNION POINSETTIA BOWL
Northern Illinois (12-1, 8-0 MAC) vs. Utah State (8-5, 7-1 Mountain West)
Thursday, December 26, 2013 • 9:30 pm ET • San Diego, Calif. • Qualcomm Stadium (51,000)
ESPN • Announcers: Joe Davis (play-by-play), Mike Bellotti (analyst), Cara Capuano (sideline reporter)
• NIU enters the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl with national rankings of No. 22 (Harris), 23 (USA Today Coaches) and 24 (Associated Press) and were 23rd in the final BCS poll.
• The Huskies are coming off their only loss of the season, a 47-27 defeat to Bowling Green in the Marathon MAC Championship game in Detroit on Dec. 6.
• NIU has spent 11 weeks in the Top 25 in at least one poll in 2013, a school record, and has been in the BCS standings each week.
• The 2013 Huskies are attempting to become the first NIU team to win 13 games in a season.
• NIU is the only FBS team with seven road wins.
• NIU became the first MAC team to defeat two Big Ten teams in the same regular season with wins over Iowa and Purdue.
• Heisman Trophy finalist Jordan Lynch leads the offense that set the MAC & NIU all-time rushing record and averages 41.6 points per game.
• The 2013 Huskies posted the school’s first undefeated regular season as a major college program.
• NIU is 4-4 in bowl games as a major college program and the Poinsettia Bowl is its MAC record sixth straight bowl appearance.
• The Huskies have won 24 of their last 26 games and are 46-9 since 2010.
• The Huskies will enter 2014 with a 26-game winning streak in their home stadium, longest in the nation.
• NIU’s 15-game road winning streak is the longest in the FBS.
• NIU head coach Rod Carey is 12-2 since taking over prior to the Huskies’ bowl game a year ago.
Huskies In Bowls: NIU will play in its ninth bowl game as a Division I FBS program and its 14th bowl all-time with this year’s trip to the Poinsettia Bowl. The Huskies’ current string of six consecutive bowl appearances is a MAC record. Northern Illinois has also played in a bowl game in eight of the last 10 seasons dating back to a 2004 appearance in the Silicon Valley Classic. NIU is 4-4 (FBS) and 5-8 overall in bowl games. Its modern bowl history began in 1983 at the California Bowl under head coach Bill Mallory.
Record Chance: NIU posted its first undefeated regular season as a “Major College” program (since 1969) with a 12-0 mark in 2013, tying the 2012 Huskies for most consecutive wins along the way. This year’s team has a chance to set the school record for most wins in a season as no Northern Illinois squad has ever won 13 games.
Top Class: For the third consecutive season, NIU’s seniors are the winningest class in school history. With the Huskies’ win over Eastern Michigan on Oct. 26, the 2013 seniors unseated the 2012 group atop the wins list. The 2013 seniors have been on teams that won 11 games in both 2010 and 2011, and have matched their 12 victories of a year ago in 2013. The seniors own a winning percentage of .836 with an overall record of 46-9 and never lost a game at Huskie Stadium (22-0). The 2012 seniors were 41-13 (.759) between 2009-2012 and the 2011 class went 35-19 (.648). The class played in four MAC Championship games and won two.
Elite Company: Northern Illinois and Stanford are currently the only NCAA FBS teams to record 11-or-more victories in each of the last four seasons and NIU is the only team to accomplish the feat under three different head coaches. Oregon can join NIU and Stanford on the list with a win over Texas in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 30. In addition to the two FBS teams, Division III teams Mount Union (Ohio) and Mary Hardin-Baylor (Texas) have had four consecutive 11-plus win seasons.
Utah State Notes:
• Utah State is playing in its third-straight bowl game for the first time in school history and its ninth bowl game all-time. Utah State is 2-6 in its previous eight bowl game appearances, including its 41-15 win against Toledo in the 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
• Utah State is playing a bowl game against a team from the Mid-American Conference for the third-straight year and fourth time overall as it defeated Toledo, 41-15, in the 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, lost to Ohio, 24-23, in the 2011 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, and defeated Ball State, 42-33, in the 1993 Las Vegas Bowl II.
• Utah State’s eight wins this season are tied for the fourth-most in school history.
• Utah State’s defense has held four of its last six opponents to 10 or fewer points and has not given up more than 24 points in a game since Oct. 12.
• Utah State has won 24 of its last 32 games overall and those eight losses during its last 32 games have been by a combined 48 points as it lost to Ohio (24-23) in the 2011 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, at No. 22 Wisconsin (16-14) and at BYU (6-3) in 2012, and at Utah (30-26), at USC (17-14), against BYU (31-14) against Boise State (34-23) and at Fresno State (24-17) in 2013.