Boise State, NIU face off in Poinsettia Bowl

Posted at 7:19 AM, Dec 23, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-23 10:19:02-05
SAN DIEGO -- Boise State will face Northern Illinois in the 11th annual Poinsettia Bowl Wednesday night at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego's earliest-starting bowl game.
The 1:30 p.m. start was made to accommodate a postgame fireworks dubbed "Stadium Spectacular," according to Mark Neville, the executive director of San Diego Bowl Game Association, which operates the Poinsettia Bowl and the other bowl game played at Qualcomm Stadium, the Holiday Bowl.
The fireworks show will be "bigger than most people have seen" and include "fireworks technology that has never been seen in North America," Neville told City News Service.
The show will be produced by Rialto-based Pyro Spectaculars by Souza, which has produced fireworks shows throughout the world, including at for the 1984, and 1996 Summer Olympics and 2002 Winter Olympics; several Super Bowls; the 100th and 125th anniversaries of the Statue of Liberty; Ronald Reagan's 1981 inauguration as president; Jerusalem's 3,000th anniversary celebration; and the 50th anniversary of the liberation of South Korea.
The fireworks show was the result of brainstorming with the game's staff, Neville said.
"We noticed that there are events, like a Padres game, that attract a lot more people when there's a postgame fireworks show," Neville said.
Boise State (8-4) won five of its first six games, including victories over two schools from Power 5 conferences, Washington and Virginia. The Broncos were 5-3 in Mountain West Conference play, finishing in a four-way tie for second in its six-team Mountain Division.
"We haven't quite had the season in some ways that we have had in the past, but we are excited about where we are now," Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said.
Northern Illinois (8-5) won the Mid-American Conference's Western Division, but lost to Bowling Green, 34-14, in the conference's championship game Dec. 4, its second consecutive loss following a six-game winning streak.
"We expect a physical game," Huskies coach Rod Carey said. "Both teams like to run the ball, both teams are dynamic on offense and very good on defense."
The Broncos and Northern Illinois are their conferences' two most successful football programs in recent years.
Boise State won or shared Mountain West Conference championships in 2011, 2012 and 2014. The Broncos won the Fiesta Bowl, part of what are now know as "New Year's Six" bowls, following the 2006, 2009 and 2014 regular seasons.
The Huskies have won or shared the Mid-American Conference's Western Division championship for six consecutive years and were conference champions in 2011, 2012 and 2014.
Northern Illinois' lone "New Year's Six" appearance was in the Orange Bowl on New Year's Day in 2013, losing to Florida State, 31-10.
The Huskies will be making their third Poinsettia Bowl appearance. They lost to Texas Christian, 37-7, in 2006 and Utah State, 21-14, in 2013.
Boise State lost to Texas Christian, 17-16, in the 2008 Poinsettia Bowl.
Various oddsmakers have made the Broncos a nine- to 9 1/2-point favorite. ESPN's College Football Index gives Boise State a 71 percent chance of winning.
The Metropolitan Transit System plans to run Green Line trolleys to the stadium every seven minutes beginning at 10:30 a.m. Extra trolley service will be available as needed after the contest ends, according to the MTS.
Fans are also encouraged to enter the stadium earlier than normal because of heightened security measures.