This is a Big Ten-SEC matchup on a miniscule scale.
The Bulls’ season seemed to take a turn for the worse when senior quarterback Matt Grothe was lost for the season with a torn ACL. B.J. Daniels filled in under center, and in a stunning performance, beat Florida State on the road in his first start.
For the third straight year, however, the Bulls stumbled down the stretch after a red-hot start. This year’s team began the season 5-0 before losing five of seven to close the year.
Northern Illinois lost five games by a combined 30 points, an average deficit of six points per game. The only team to beat the Huskies by more than a touchdown was MAC champion Central Michigan.
Player to watch:
George Selvie, defensive end for South Florida was expected to have a decorated senior season and raise his stock for the NFL draft. Instead, Selvie never really got the ball rolling this season and did not put up anywhere close to the 20-sack season he had earlier in his career. Still, he was facing many more double-team blocking schemes this season. This bowl game is his final chance to put on a show for the pro scouts.
Who has the edge?
South Florida never could quite get over the hump against its better competition this season. That being said, the Bulls put up a good fight against the best teams in the Big East, and will have a decisive athletic advantage in this game. Northern Illinois is a gritty, typical Midwestern team.
South Florida 31
Northern Illinois 23