Northern Illinois encountered two good defensive teams in the post-season.  The Poinsettia Bowl went Utah State's way.
After halftime, the Huskies tallied only five first downs, 21 rushing yards on 13 attempts, and 60 passing yards on 6-of-17 passing. NIU went three-and-out on three of its five possessions in the half, with only a successful conversion on a fake punt preventing four consecutive three-and-outs.

"On offense, the errors started to snowball on us [in the second half] and we weren't able to move the ball the way we have," [coach Rod] Carey said. "We probably missed some throws in the second half."

[Quarterback Jordan] Lynch said Utah State grabbed the momentum after he threw an interception on the first play of the half and the Aggies did not allow the Huskies to get it back.

"They had all the momentum in the second half," Lynch said. "We looked for someone to make a play and get us going, and there wasn't anyone who could do it, including me. They played a straight cover one, packed the box and were well-coached and played smart football."
Those unsparing comments are from the university's release on the game's results.  No doubt, the national sports pundits will once again note the record (no wins, thus far) of Mid-American teams in Festive Season bowl games as a reflection, generally, on the weakness of the conference.  We will wait to see if they will take a page from the Washington press corps and investigate the misallocation implied in the widespread use of student fees to underwrite athletics in the conference.

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