When the matchup for the Discover Orange Bowl was announced, one of the lines of thought was that Northern Illinois did not deserve to be in the game against Florida State.
Northern Illinois struggled at times with the bigger Florida State Seminoles on both sides of the ball in a sloppy 31-10 victory in Sun Life Stadium Tuesday night.
The game was controlled by the Florida State defense, a unit that completely bottled up the Northern Illinois offense. Quarterback Jordan Lynch tried to shoulder too much of the load and was ineffective at both passing and rushing the ball. He finished the game with 23 carries for 44 yards, and completed only 15 passes in 41 attempts for 176 yards.
Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel was 27 for 39 passing for 295 yards and a touchdown pass.
Florida State fullback Lonnie Pryor had a huge night, rushing for 134 yards on five carries and two scores. He opened the night by running for a 60 yard touchdown off the left side, giving Florida State a 7-0 lead. The Seminoles didn’t struggle on offense in the first half, but they looked sluggish and inconsistent, failing to achieve a third down conversion until the end of the first half when E.J. Manuel found Rashad Greene with :11 left on the clock.
Both teams couldn’t convert a third down in the first half, going a combined 1/15 on third down attempts. They were each able to convert a fourth down, though, with Northern Illinois converting theirs on a fake punt.
The Seminoles came out at the start of the second half and marched down the field, but stalled in the red zone and kicked a field goal to go up 17-3. The Huskies responded on their next drive, which featured Jordan Lynch connecting on a 55 yard pass with Akeem Daniels that helped spark a touchdown drive. Lynch completed a pass to Martel Moore for 11 yards and a touchdown to pull the Huskies to 17-10.
After scoring, Northern Illinois successfully converted an onside kick. However, that drive ended when Jordan Lynch threw an interception on a third down scramble.
Florida State came back a couple of drives later and scored on a touchdown run up the middle by Manuel. The Seminoles iced the game a few minutes later on a touchdown run up the middle by Pryor, his second score of the night. Northern Illinois could not manage another threat the rest of the way.