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Boise State's hellacious splattering of NIU was the biggest FBS beatdown of this millennium

It's almost impossible for one football team to destroy another more gaudily than this. AND NIU IS PRETTY GOOD.

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

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Boise State outgained Northern Illinois by 621 yards in the 2015 Poinsettia Bowl, winning by the fifth-largest bowl margin ever, 55-7.

The Broncos trucked NIU's ancestors into the void, made the MAC look like the WAC (and not the 2010 WAC, which was bad, but the current WAC, which does not play football) and ladled the classic Kellen Moore finger guns GIF onto NIU's forehead for three merciless hours.

Here are the 10 biggest yardage margins in games involving FBS teams, via Sports Reference's database of games since 2000:

Winner Loser Yardage margin Was losing team any good?
9/17/2011 Missouri Western Illinois 700 2-9 FCS team
9/6/2014 Clemson South Carolina State 691 8-4 FCS team
12/23/2015 Boise State Northern Illinois 621 MAC West champ! Almost beat Ohio State!
9/26/2009 Texas UTEP 586 4-8 team
11/8/2003 Oklahoma Texas A&M 585 4-8 team
9/5/2009 Tennessee Western Kentucky 574 0-12 team
9/10/2011 Florida State Charleston Southern 563 0-11 FCS team
9/15/2012 Akron Morgan State 553 3-8 FCS team
9/26/2015 Baylor Rice 547 5-7 team
10/29/2011 Texas Kansas 544 Kansas

As you can see, this usually happens to completely overmatched teams. This almost never happens to good FCS teams, let alone good FBS teams. If this list expanded to 25 teams, there still wouldn't be another loser with a winning FBS record, and I stopped looking at that point, to be honest.

NIU is a good program with another pretty good team this year. The Huskies finished the regular season 8-4, won the MAC West for the sixth year in a row, ranked ahead of 20 Power 5 teams in S&P+, took No. 7 Ohio State to the wire in Columbus and won at the house of Toledo, which will finish ranked.


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Boise State made an above-average team with a minor dynasty look like a terrible FCS team, and even that's being generous.

If No. 1 Clemson played a Division II team tomorrow, there's no guarantee the Tigers would maintain enough interest to do what Boise State just did against a good team. Alabama would do better than this against the Cleveland Browns. Certain high school teams could play certain Division I teams within 60-yard margins, let alone 600.

The Broncos averaged 6.74 yards per play against NIU. That's very good. They allowed .64. That's basically perfect. Boise State's offense gained 10 times as much ground per snap as NIU's did.

Northern Illinois gained 42 yards on its opening drive and negative-9 for its other 13. NIU averaged negative-.69 yards per drive after the first drive of the game. NIU would've been better off punting on first down every single time it touched the ball after the first time.


These things all bear repeating.

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