Utah State beats Northern Illinois in Poinsettia Bowl


SAN DIEGO — Utah State’s Brian Suite intercepted a Jordan Lynch pass and also recovered a fumble by the Heisman Trophy finalist to help the Aggies beat Northern Illinois 21-14 on Thursday in college football’s Poinsettia Bowl.

The day’s other bowl game saw Pittsburgh edge Bowling Green 30-27 to win the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.

Northern Illinois quarterback Lynch, who was third in the Heisman Trophy voting and made The Associated Press All-America team as an all-purpose player, had a rough end to his college career. Besides the two turnovers, he was held to just 39 yards rushing, keeping him from becoming the first major college player to rush for 2,000 yards and pass for 2,000 yards in the same season.

Lynch ran for a touchdown and passed for another for NIU.

Joey DeMartino, who was back in San Diego where he went to high school and junior college, carried 23 times for 143 yards and a touchdown for Utah State.

Pittsburgh’s Chris Blewitt kicked a 39-yard field goal with 1:17 left to give the Panthers a 30-27 victory over Bowling Green.

James Conner ran for 229 yards, breaking a Pittsburgh bowl record set by Tony Dorsett in 1977, and also played a handful of snaps on the defensive line.

Tyler Boyd gave Pittsburgh a boost with eight receptions for 173 yards — also a school bowl record — and scored on a punt return.

Pittsburgh pulled out the victory despite losing quarterback Tom Savage to a first-half rib injury.