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2013 Poinsettia Bowl

2013 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
1 2 3 4 Total
Utah State 3 3 7 8 21
Northern Illinois 0 7 0 7 14
Date December 26, 2013
Season 2013
Stadium Qualcomm Stadium
Location San Diego, California
MVP Offense: Joey DeMartino Utah State Running Back
Defense: Jake Doughty Utah State Linebacker
Favorite Utah State by 1 [1]
Referee Shawn Hochuli (Pac-12)
Attendance 23,408[2]
Payout US$500,000 per team
United States TV coverage
Network ESPN
Announcers Joe Davis (play-by-play)
Mike Bellotti (analyst)
Cara Capuano (sideline reporter)

The 2013 Poinsettia Bowl was an American college football bowl game that was played on December 26, 2013 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. The ninth edition of the Poinsettia Bowl, it featured the Mountain West Conference Mountain Division champion Utah State Aggies against the Mid-American Conference West Division champion Northern Illinois Huskies. It was one of the 2013–14 bowl games that concluded the 2013 FBS football season. It began at 6:30 p.m. PST and aired on ESPN. The game was sponsored by the San Diego County Credit Union and was officially known as the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. Utah State defeated Northern Illinois by a score of 21–14.

The Aggies accepted their invitation after finishing with an 8–5 record after losing in the 2013 Mountain West Championship Game to Fresno State. The Huskies, meanwhile, had their hearts set on busting the BCS once again, going undefeated in the regular season and winning the MAC West, but ultimately lost out to Bowling Green in the 2013 MAC Championship Game.

This was the second meeting between these two teams. The first was in 1995, when NIU traveled to Utah State and lost 42–7.


  • Teams 1
    • Utah State 1.1
    • Northern Illinois 1.2
  • Game summary 2
    • First quarter 2.1
    • Second quarter 2.2
    • Third quarter 2.3
    • Fourth quarter 2.4
    • Scoring summary 2.5
    • Statistics 2.6
  • References 3


In 2009, the Poinsettia Bowl announced that it had extended its agreement to continue to feature the Mountain West's second bowl-eligible team until at least 2013. The Huskies last played in this bowl game in 2006, where they lost to TCU 37–7.

Utah State

Northern Illinois

Game summary

First quarter

After receiving the opening kickoff, Utah State's (USU) opening drive stalled, however their punt was downed inside the five yard line, forcing Northern Illinois (NIU) to drive the length of the field in order to score. NIU went three-and-out, and their punt went only 17 yards, giving USU the ball with only 29 yards needed to score a touchdown. They failed to do so, however, as, after losing six yards on the drive, Jake Thompson missed a 52-yard field goal attempt. Subsequently, NIU took possession of the ball, but quarterback Jordan Lynch lost a fumble, setting up NIU, who this time capitalized on the field position, and ended up taking a 3–0 lead when Nick Diaz made a 31-yard field goal. On NIU's ensuing drive, they ran 13 plays that totaled 55 yards, ultimately setting up a 37-yard field goal attempt for Mathew Sims, but he missed, and USU got the ball back. At the end of the first quarter, USU was in the middle of a drive, well into NIU territory.[3]

Second quarter

At the beginning of the quarter, USU was at the NIU 25 yard line, having, late in the first quarter, embarked on a drive highlighted by a 58-yard rush by Joey DeMartino. Faced with another 3rd down and 16, they failed to convert, and settled for another field goal by Diaz, this time a 39-yard kick. NIU finally responded, embarking on a 15-play, 78-yard drive that culminated when Lynch rushed for a 1-yard touchdown, making the score 7–6. After USU's next drive resulted in a punt, NIU took possession, and approached the red zone, but on a fourth down, failed to convert, consequently turning the ball over. USU failed to score before the half, and the score at the half was 7–6 NIU.[4]

Third quarter

After receiving the opening half kickoff, Northern Illinois' first play of the half was an interception thrown by Lynch to USU's Brian Suite. The Aggies capitalized off the turnover – Darell Garretson threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Swindall, and thus, USU regained the lead, 13–7. NIU failed to respond, and punted; after that, the teams exchanged punts once again before USU drove down the field, and entered the red zone, at which point Garretson threw an interception to Jim Thorpe award finalist Jimmie Ward, dodging another bullet for NIU. Again, however, NIU appeared to have failed to even achieve a first down, and brought on the punt team, but faked the punt, converting a fourth down and six as time in the third quarter expired. Entering the fourth quarter, NIU trailed by six, but had the ball around their own 30-yard line.[5]

Fourth quarter

NIU's drive at the end of the third quarter carried over, however when faced with another fourth down, they did not run another fake, and ultimately gave the ball back to USU. NIU caught a break on USU's ensuing drive when, on a 3rd down and 23 situation, Garretson tried a screen pass, but the pass was batted in the air, and ultimately intercepted by Ken Bishop. Though they had excellent field position, NIU could not even muster a first down after taking over at the USU 13-yard line, and ultimately missed a 29-yard field goal, their second miss of the game, and thus, the score remained 13–7, as the Huskies failed to capitalize on the turnover and excellent field position. USU drove back down the field on their succeeding possession that lasted 17 plays and 80 yards, encapsulating 7:19, and scored on a DeMartino 1-yard touchdown run. Starting around their own 40-yard line, just over four minutes remaining, and no timeouts, NIU achieved two first downs before advancing into the red zone, at which point Lynch threw three consecutive incomplete passes into the end zone, before, on 4th down and 10, throwing a 15-yard touchdown pass to Juwan Brescacin with 1:44 remaining, pulling within seven points. Needing to attempt an onside kick, USU called a timeout to confer on strategy. When NIU ultimately made the kick, USU's Swindall recovered, and therefore, USU was able to simply take a knee to finish the game, winning 21–14.[6]

Scoring summary

Scoring summary
Quarter Time Drive Team Scoring information Score
Plays Yards TOP Utah State Northern Illinois
1 6:56 8 32 3:23 USU 31-yard field goal by Nick Diaz 3 0
2 14:09 6 58 2:34 USU 39-yard field goal by Diaz 6 0
2 8:17 15 78 5:52 NIU Jordan Lynch 1-yard touchdown run, Mathew Sims kick good 6 7
3 11:57 7 31 2:51 USU Brandon Swindall 5-yard touchdown reception from Darell Garretson, Diaz kick good 13 7
4 4:14 17 80 7:19 USU Joey DeMartino 1-yard touchdown run, 2-point pass good 21 7
4 1:44 13 57 2:30 NIU Juwan Brescacin 15-yard touchdown reception from Lynch, Sims kick good 21 14
"TOP" = time of possession. For other American football terms, see Glossary of American football. 21 14


Statistics Utah St. N. Illinois
First Downs 17 19
Total offense, plays - yards 289 315
Rushes-yards (net) 168 99
Passing yards (net) 121 216
Passes, Comp-Att-Int 17-28-2 20-35-1
Time of Possession 32:21 27:39


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