Boise State Broncos (8-4) at Northern Illinois Huskies (8-5)
|Date & Time||Wednesday December 23, 2015, 4:30 PM (EST)|
The Line: Northern Illinois Huskies +9 -- Over/Under: 56
The Boise State Broncos and the Northern Illinois Huskies face off on Wednesday in the Poinsettia Bowl.
The Boise State Broncos finished the season at 8-4 falling short of their expectations. Boise State lost three times against Mountain West teams, Utah State, New Mexico, and Air Force, and then also lost to BYU. The Boise State offense is averaging 37.8 points and 488.6 yards per game but they turned the ball over 20 times. Broncos QB Brett Rypien has completed 62.5 percent of his passes with 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Jeremy McNichols leads the Boise State ground attack with 1,244 yards and 18 touchdowns and Thomas Sperbeck leads the team in receptions with 82 and eight touchdowns. The Boise State defense is allowing 21.3 points and 342.1 yards per game with 22 interceptions, six fumble recoveries, and 28 sacks. Ben Weaver leads the Broncos defense with 66 tackles, Darian Thompson has 63 tackles and five interceptions, and Tanner Vallejo has 57 tackles. Boise is usually seen as a BCS Buster but this just wasn’t that kind of year.
The Northern Illinois Huskies come into this game with a 8-5 record losing their last two games of the season. Northern Illinois had some big wins in the MAC beating Toledo and Western Michigan but had losses to some of the better teams they faced like Bowling Green, Ohio, and Ohio State. The Northern Illinois offense is averaging 33 points and 426.6 yards per game but they have turned the ball over 24 times. NIU QB Drew Hare has completed 63.8 percent of his passes with 14 touchdowns and four interceptions but he is out and NIU is down to their third string QB. Joel Bouagnon leads the Huskies ground attack with 1,269 yards and 18 touchdowns and Kenny Golladay is the top receiver with 71 catches and 10 touchdowns. The Northern Illinois defense is allowing 25.5 points and 400.2 yards per game with 21 interceptions, six fumble recoveries, and 25 sacks. Boomer Mays leads IU in tackles with 108, Marlon Moore has 96 tackles, and Shawun Lurry has nine interceptions. Northern Illinois could have very well been MAC champs but they sputtered when they needed it most.
Boise State is 5-0 against the spread against the MAC, 5-2 against the spread in their last seven bowl games, and 0-4 against the spread against a team with a winning record. Northern Illinois is 5-2-1 against the spread against a team with a winning record, 2-6 against the spread in their last eight bowl games, and 1-5-1 against the spread in their last seven games played at neutral sites.
While we have two good defenses, we have two offenses that have playmakers and I expect this one to go over the total that has been set at 56 and the over is my free pick.