Season's beatings: Bowl games heat up around holidays

12/23/14 by Matthew S. Vandriak

Bowl season continues with 2 more games before Christmas Eve. Let's take a look at what's on tap for the first half of Christmas week. Even though the Bowl game season can seem like it is way too much to handle, even for long time fans of college football, you'll still make it a point to watch, right?
Boca Raton Bowl
Marshall vs Northern Illinois Dec. 23rd @6pm

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Two conference champions will clash in this matchup, as well as two of the top non "Power 5" conference teams. The 12 and 1 Thundering Herd are the champions of Conference USA, while the 11 and 2 Huskies won the MAC. Northern Illinois will have to find a way to stop Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato. Cato threw for 3,622 yards and 37 touchdowns, and rushed for 457 more and scored 6 TD's in 2014 Cato, playing in his final game collegiate game, is the all time leader in passing yards and touchdowns in Marshall history. The Herd also have RB Devon Johnson, who rushed for 1,636 yards and scored 16 touchdowns. Johnson however, has been battling a knee injury which may limit him in this bowl game. Northern Illinois has a dynamic quarterback as well in Drew Hare. Hare passed for 2,097 yards and 17 TD's, and rushed for 850 yards and 8 scores. The Huskies have won 7 games in a row coming in, with their last loss on October 11th. Marshall has scored 35 or more points in 11 of it's 13 games this season. Northern Illinois averages 253 yards rushing per game. Both teams finished 7 and 1 in their respective conference games. This is the first meeting between these two schools since 2001, and Marshall has won the past two matchups.
Poinsettia Bowl
San Diego State vs Navy Dec. 23rd @9:30pm
Both of these teams come in with identical 7 and 5 records. For San Diego State, this is pretty much another home game since its being played at their home stadium, where the Aztecs were 6 and 0 on the season. Navy was 4 and 1 in games played away from home. The Aztecs were 5 and 3 in conference play, and finished second in the West Division of the Mountain West Conference. The Aztecs are led by RB Donnel Pumphrey, who rushed for 1,761 yards and scored 19 touchdowns. Pumphrey needs 82 yards in this game to set the San Diego State record for rushing yards in a season. Navy's Keenan Reynolds led all quarterbacks in rushing yards in 2014, running for 1,182 yards and scoring 21 TD's. This is the 5th straight bowl appearance for the Aztecs, while the Midshipmen have played in a bowl game 11 of the past 12 seasons. San Diego State has won 8 consecutive games over service academies.

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