The first half of the Poinsettia Bowl is a low scoring game so far as the 12-1 Northern Illinois Huskies have a slim 7-6 lead at the half over Utah State. For the most part Utah State has held Heisman finalist quarterback Jordan Lynch in check on the ground with just 28 yards at the half and a touchdown, however Lynch has completed 14 of 18 yards for 156 yards.
The Northern Illinois offense seemed to find a groove midway through the second quarter and if that continues that could lead to some trouble for the Aggies. There have been some miscues by the Huskies which have helped Utah State Thursday night; there was a shanked 17-yard punt but Utah State missed a 52-yard field goal. Northern Illinois also missed a 37-yard field goal after a lengthy 14-play drive. They also coughed up the ball to Utah State who converted that into a field goal of their own. Utah State's other points were also a field goal and that was set up by a 58-yard run by running back Joey DeMartino.
Northern Illinois has had some mistakes and Utah State took advantage of them in the first half, and Utah State did force some like the fumble and also the failed fourth down attempt late in the second half where the run by Lynch was snuffed out and stopped for no gain from the Aggies 25-yard line.
Outside of DeMartino's 58-yard run the Utah State offense has been held in check, including quarterback Darell Garretson getting sacked three times. The Aggies need to get the offense rolling and not just rely on their defense to come up with a big stop or get a defensive score. Utah State is averaging just 3.8 yards per pass attempt and 3.6 yards per rush attempt.