Did Northern Illinois deserve a shot at a BCS bowl? Yes, they did, according to the BCS' own rules. But did they stand a serious chance of beating Florida State? Even less than we'd thought coming in.
The Noles were never in serious danger, other than what they created for themselves. NIU put together one truly successful drive, and even that was formed by two breakaway plays. Other than that, FSU completely outweighed and outclassed the Huskies, holding the tough-talking Heisman contender Jordan Lynch to 15 completions on 41 attempts.
E.J. Manuel, who became one of the few quarterbacks to ever win four bowl games, finished with 317 total yards and two scores, for some reason throwing for 38 times. Perhaps Jimbo Fisher was hoping to showcase Manuel for NFL scouts, for recruiting purposes? As an attempt to send Manuel out on a high note? The FSU game plan was bizarre, but the Noles could've done just about anything and gotten out of Miami with the win.
NIU put up a fight, however, and looked close to making a game of it in the third, when it pulled within seven points and was driving after an onside kick. A Lynch interception turned out to be the game's conclusive mark.
Also: would you like to read something really, really funny?
FSU fans lobbing "OVER-RATED" chants. At Northern Illinois. This is a thing that is happening.— Holly (@Nastinchka) January 2, 2013
Box Score Hero: Well, fullback Lonnie Pryor averaged 26.5 yards per carry on his way to 134 and two touchdowns. He's a fullback. Also, FSU threw the ball more times than it ran despite outweighing NIU's defensive line by 50 pounds per man.
Rankings Ramifications: The Noles will rank much higher in the preseason Top 25 than anybody really likes, as always. Lynch is coming back, so NIU could near the rankings.
But Did They Cover? Florida State was favored by 14.5.
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