To prepare for Saturday's clash with the Huskies we got the opportunity to speak with @DDrury86 of the SBNation MAC blog Hustle Belt. Check out his work on Hustle Belt for all things Huskies.
BC Interruption: NIU has had some dynamic quarterbacks in the past and present. Drew Hare is a dynamic quarterback. Tell us a little about what strengths his brings to the table
Hustle Belt: Hare is not like Jordan Lynch or Chandler Harnish...and that isn't a bad thing at all. Harnish and Lynch were much quicker when it came to tucking the ball and running - something both excelled at. Hare is capable of keeping plays alive with his legs, and can run pretty well himself, but he is much more a passing quarterback than rushing. Even when he does start to take off, Hare will keep his eyes downfield and look to throw on the run. However, Hare's biggest strength is that he doesn't force passes. He's a smart quarterback and makes very few mistakes.
BCI: BC has the best rushing defense in the country, do you expect NIU to try and test it, or go mostly with the pass?
Hustle Belt: Well, the Huskies have always been a running team. This season so far, NIU's passing attack has been stronger with the emergence of Hare and Kenny Golladay but NIU still loves to run the football, and does it a lot. Joel Bouagnon is a powerful back that was pushing Ohio State's line backwards last week and jet sweeps and read options have been a staple of the Huskie offense the past five years as well. I would expect more of the same this week, even if it's just to set up the pass.
BCI: Our offensive line struggled against FSU, talk a little about the pedigree of the NIU defense. Who are some of the names Eagles fans should be looking out for on Saturday?
Hustle Belt: The Huskies defense is anchored by their linebackers. NIU rotates many of their defensive players in and out, and that's why four of the top six tacklers for NIU are LBs. Boomer Mays is the man that leads the defense though. He's a strong, fast player that finds the ball quickly and attacks it. The other big strength for the Huskies is their ability to force turnovers. NIU already has seven interceptions (tied for first in the NCAA) and recovered two fumbles. Sophomore cornerback Shawun Lurry is tied for second in the NCAA with three picks so far this season.
BCI: Overall, you had to be please with Saturday's close loss to Ohio State. What is the mood around the team heading into the Huskies clash with the Eagles?
Hustle Belt: From what Rod Carey was saying earlier this week, the Huskies felt they should have won the game and would rather have a bad win than a good loss...so they're still hungry. The team always plays with a chip on its shoulder and the fact that Toledo (NIU's rival) got votes by beating a very bad Iowa State team while NIU got little respect for its performance against the Buckeyes has a lot of the coaches, players, and fans upset. I would look for NIU to be highly motivated.
BCI: Finally, the big question. What does NIU have to do right on Saturday to win? And do you see them pulling off a big road upset?
Hustle Belt: I think NIU can pull off the road upset. The Huskies aren't intimidated by these "big" games any more - last week's performance showed that. Obviously getting any sort of offense going against the Eagles will be tough but BC has struggled offensively too. I think if NIU can win the turnover battle and force 2+ they can walk out of Alumni Stadium with a win. I have a feeling it's going to be a really good, really close game and I can't wait to watch.