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Poinsettia Bowl Prediction: Northern Illinois Huskies defeat the Boise State Broncos

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This afternoon, the Boise State Broncos (8-4) take on the Northern Illinois Huskies (8-5) in the San Diego County Poinsettia Bowl from Qualcomm Stadium at 4:30 PM on ESPN. The Mid-American Conference will look for their second-straight win after the Akron Zips won their first bowl game in program history last night against the Utah State Aggies.

In our simulation, the Huskies pulled off the win, 37-26, over the Broncos.

It’s been a difficult season for both teams. The Broncos had high expectations, as they were picked to go undefeated this season, but lost its first game to the BYU Cougars. It’s the second time in the past three years that they’ve lost five games.

The Huskies had to rely on Ryan Graham as previous starter Drew Hare had to miss the game with an injury. Also, they lost to the Bowling Green Falcons in the MAC Championship game on Dec. 4.

Besides injuries to Hare, they’ve also suffered injuries to Graham and their third-string quarterback. Their star wide receiver also had to deal with injuries this season, as well.

It’s the first meeting between the two teams.

The Broncos led the time of possession with 32:52, while the Huskies had 27:08. Yet, it was Northern Illinois, who dominated in the ground with 330 yards en route to 448 total yards, while Boise State had 419 yards.

Graham went 10 of 15 for 118 yards and a touchdown with an interception. His counterpart, Brett Rypien, the relative of former Washington Redskins quarterback Mark Rypien, went 28 of 44 for 291 yards with three touchdowns and a pick.

The Huskies dominate running game including 161 and three touchdowns by Jordan Huff. Joel Bouagnon also had 127 yards, while Graham had 34 and D.J. Brown had eight.

Jeremy McNichols, one of the stars to watch in this game, had 88-yards for the Broncos. Kelsey Young also had 24, while Rypien had 16.

The Broncos wide receivers were led by Thomas Sperbeck, who had 85-yards and two touchdowns. McNichols had 68-yards, while Shane Williams-Rhodes had 51-yards and a touchdown. Chaz Anderson added 42, while Jake Roh had two catches for 16-yards and A.J. Richardson had two for 13-yards.

Young had a catch for 9-yards, while Holden Huff had a catch for seven-yards.

Kenny Golladay led the Huskies wide receivers with 56-yards and a touchdown. Desroy Maxwell had 27-yards, while Tommylee Lewis had a catch for 15-yards. Juwan Brescacin also had a catch for 13-yards and Aregeros Turner had a catch for seven-yards.

As time expires, Huskies kicker Christian Hagan made a 47-yard field goal for the 37-26 lead.

The Broncos scored back-to-back touchdowns to cut the lead to 34-26. Sperbeck caught a seven-yard touchdown reception from Rypien with 1:57 remaining in the game.

Rypien hit Williams-Rhodes for a 10-yard touchdown with 8:15 remaining.

Huff went off on a 40-yard run just seconds into the fourth quarter for the 34-10 lead.

Boise State opened the third quarter with an eight-yard reception by Sperbeck from Rypien to cut the lead to 24-10. However, Hagan made a 42-yard field goal several minutes later for the Huskies to go up 17-points.

The Broncos got on the board when their kicker Tyler Rausa with 4:03 in the second quarter, as the score went to 14-3

Northern Illinois also scored 10-points in the second in less than three minutes, as Huff scored on a 60-yard run. Hagan made a 37-yard field goal with 26 seconds left before half for the 24-3 lead.

The Huskies jumped out to a 14-0 lead when Huff scored on a three-yard run. Then, Golladay caught 15-yard pass from Graham for the two score lead.

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