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Boise State vs. Northern Illinois: 5 Questions and a Blog Bet with Hustle Belt

We asked Hustle Belt writer David Drury 5 questions about his team and the upcoming Poinsettia Bowl. We also agreed to a blog bet (provided the managers of Hustle Belt approve), where the winning team's writer gets to post an article on the loser's blog. So with no further ado, I give you the last blog bet of 2015:

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

1. What were your expectations for NIU coming into this season? Did your team meet or exceed them?

NIU was one of just two teams to win 11+ games the past five years (Oregon being the other), and with a solid group of players returning, expectations were high but a little lower than in the past. I figured we should have had 10 wins. We're have the talent to beat every MAC school but weren't sure how we'd fare against Ohio State or Boston College (and now you guys).

Our expectations were met...and also not met. We exceeded expectations against Ohio State and should have even won that game, showing the potential this team had. However, losing to BC and then two regular season conference games was not part of the plan. We can make excuses on injuries (we were on our third string QB for a while) and whatnot, but in the end, we just didn't execute as well as planned.

2. Which player matchup(s) are you most looking forward to?

I'm really excited to see Rypien vs. NIU's secondary. Shawun Lurry leads the NCAA in interceptions, while Paris Logan, Brandon Mays, and Marlon Moore are very solid in coverage. Rypien has been killing it lately so it'll be interesting to see who wins that match up.

There's one more match up I'm a excited to see...but I'm also a little more anxious about this one. Our halfback, Joel Bouagnon, against your linebacking core...especially Ben Weaver. From what I've seen he's a beast...but so is Bouagnon.

3. What are the keys to NIU winning this game so I can totally forward this answer to the Boise State coaching staff?

(FWD: BRYAN HARSIN) Well the biggest key for NIU is QB play. Ryan Graham is our backup quarterback...oh, he's also freshman. And, while he's played well since taking over about a month ago, he's still a freshman and still hasn't been tested like this. He was out against Bowling Green in the MAC Championship Game and will be near 100% for this game (according to the coaches). If he's healthy and plays as well as he has, NIU has a chance.

4. Using Microsoft Paint, illustrate a scenario you envision playing out in this game.

(Deayon's put on some pounds!)

5. On a scale of breakfast cereals (with Cocoa Pebbles being "supremely" and Grape Nuts being "not at all"), rate your confidence in winning the Poinsettia Bowl.

I'd have to say...Cracklin' Oat Bran (do you remember those?). I used to really like that cereal actually...I don't think anyone else did though. Either way, it's more towards the Grape Nuts side of things but not nearly as bad. Every game against a top-tier team, like Boise State, I have a cautious optimism. Can we win...sure; will we win...hmmm...not so sure.

(Update: Here are Drew's answers to their questions.)

Our thanks goes out to David Drury for taking the time to answer our questions! We wish his team the best of...