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Johnson Orange Thought: Did NIU Belong?
Posted Jan 2, 2013

Terry Johnson's Thoughts on Florida State's 2013 Orange Bowl win over Northern Illinois.

By Terry Johnson
Follow me @TPJCollFootball

- Unfortunately, this game didn't really settle the debate about whether or not Northern Illinois belonged in this game. Despite the lopsided final score, Huskies only trailed by 7 points heading into the final stanza, and actually had a chance to tie the game late in the third quarter. That's a far cry from Hawaii's disastrous showing in the 2008 Sugar Bowl.

- With that said, it was obvious from the opening kickoff that Florida State had the more talented team. The Seminole defensive line dominated the line of scrimmage all night long, never letting Jordan Lynch get comfortable.

- Lonnie Pryor moved way up on the NFL draft boards with his 5 carry, 133-yard performance tonight. At 6' 0" 230 pounds, he could play either fullback or tailback at the next level.

- It's only fitting that EJ Manuel go out on a high note. As the starting QB, Manuel often bore the brunt of criticism from frustrated Seminole fans throughout his career. However, after a solid 26-for-38 effort tonight, he'll depart Tallahassee with four bowl wins, a record that can never be broken.

- Watch out for Florida State in the national championship race next season. Sure, they'll lose plenty of talent to NFL, but tonight's contest showed exactly how deep the Seminoles are, especially on the defensive line. As long as FSU can overcome its penchant for stubbing its toe in conference play (see: NC State), they'll be in the mix for a BCS game next year.

- I was impressed with Rod Carey's debut as NIU's head coach. The fake punt call to get Northern on the board was nothing short of genius, as was his timely onside kick that put the Huskies in position to tie the game. It will be interesting to see how long he remains in DeKalb.