Despite the 21-14 loss to the Aggies at the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, the 16 departing seniors left their mark as the senior class with the most football wins and the whole team is lauded as one of the best in NIU history.
Another upside of the bowl is the opportunity it provided for alumni to reconnect with NIU. To encourage more involvement, the NIU Alumni Association has scheduled events in California and other regions of the country during the next several months.
NIU ended the season with a 12-2 record, while Utah State University finished 9-5. The Huskies lost back-to-back games for the first time since suffering losses to Kansas and Wisconsin in consecutive games in 2011.
The Huskies were led by record-setting quarterback Jordan Lynch and All-America safety Jimmie Ward. Lynch completed 20 of 35 passes for 216 yards and one touchdown and ran the ball 18 times for 39 yards and a score. NIU had more first downs (19-17), more passing yards (216-121), and more total yards (315-289) than the Aggies did.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, NIU President Douglas D. Baker, and NIU Athletic Director Sean Frazier spoke to more than 300 Huskies at the pregame reception. Guests included alumni, donors, trustees, NIU Alumni Association board members, students, band members, cheerleaders, and mascot Victor E. Huskie. In addition, hundreds of tailgaters joined in pregame celebrations near the gates of the reception.
About 23,000 fans, including many local military, attended the bowl, which offered a spectacular display of fireworks during halftime. To offer camaraderie for alumni who couldn’t attend, the NIU Alumni Association set up 15 watch parties at major cities across the country.
NIU Media Services has provided a photo album of the entire event on Facebook.
Although the Poinsettia Bowl is over, President Baker will be back in California to begin a nationwide tour to encourage more alumni involvement and share his vision for student career success. He will visit the famous Ghirardelli Square (McCormick & Kuleto’s Seafood & Steaks) in San Francisco on January 31 to kick off his welcome tour. He will also visit the Maritime Museum of San Diego on February 1 to meet alumni and friends touring and dining on the Berkeley ferryboat, a national landmark. For more information about these events and the president’s tour, click here.