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Utah State to play No. 23 Northern Illinois in San Diego Poinsettia Bowl

The Utah State Aggies got a more exciting matchup than expected due to NIU's mishap this past weekend.

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Date/time: Thursday, December 26th, 7:30p MST (6:30p PST)

Location: San Diego (San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl)


Streaming: WatchESPN

Last year's bowl result: BYU Cougars defeated San Diego St. Aztecs 23-6

Utah State Aggies:
After losing a heart-breaker to Fresno State in the MWC Championship Game this past weekend, the Aggies dropped to the #2 MWC bowl game, the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego. The Aggies (8-5) were riding a five game winning streak prior to playing Fresno, with true freshman QB Darrell Garretson carrying the banner for the Aggies in place of injured star Chuckie Keeton. Garretson went out of the game with a severe concussion, however, and it is questionable whether he will return to play in the bowl game.

Third string quarterback Craig Harrison had initially replaced Keeton, but due to subpar performances against BYU and Boise State ended up losing the job to Garretson. The big highlight for the Aggies is their defense, which has shut down their opponents almost all season, BYU and Boise St being the major exceptions during a difficult team situation. They should be able to contain NIU's scoring ability; the big question for the Aggies is whether the offense can show some life after a lackluster outing this past weekend.

Last bowl game: USU def. Toledo 41-15 (Famous Idaho Potato Bowl)

Northern Illinois Huskies:
Two days ago, the Huskies were dreaming of BCS-busting glory, and redemption for last year's BCS bowl game defeat. They apparently were too caught up in the fantasies, however, and lost focus on the game at hand; Bowling Green rocked NIU's world in a stunning upset that removed the last hope for a non-AQ school in the big boy bowl games. The 20 point loss exposed plenty of weaknesses in a previously undefeated Husky team that has been riddled with barbs about the weakness of their schedule.

Whether the schedule was weak or not, NIU had beaten every team they'd faced heading into the MAC Championship Game, and had piled up the yards and points in the process, ranking 5th in the country for rushing yards and 9th in points scored. Once again, the Aggies will be tested in a strength against strength setting against a more run-heavy power offense.

Last bowl game: Florida State def. Northern Illinois 31-10 (Discover Orange Bowl)