Plant The Spear: Orange Bowl Edition

vs. #15 Northern Illinois
(12-1, 9-0 MAC)
January 1 @ 830 ESPN

Plant The Spear is a weekly column previewing the upcoming matchup for the Florida State Seminoles. Opponent strengths and weaknesses are discussed, a plan of attack is formed, and an honest prediction by yours truly is given.

*Author’s Note* Regardless of my membership with the Seminole Boosters, or my being an FSU fan since I was 10 (I’m 31 now), or   the fact that my wife is finishing her master’s degree from Florida State, this is still a No Homer Zone. Always has  been, always will be. I’m a college football fan above all else, and you-the fans, deserve a voice of the people. With all  that being said…..Go Noles!

 

Outlook

“They’re just like us…….if you cut them, they bleed.”- Jordan Lynch, QB, Northern Illinois

The first shots were fired a few days ago by the NIU redshirt junior signal caller and you’ve gotta hand it to him, he’s got some cojones. Don’t blame Northern Illinois, according to the BCS rules, they did nothing wrong. My guess is that they won’t be able to do anything right against a bigger, stronger, faster Florida State Seminole squad.

I would have to argue that only half of Lynch’s statement is true. Yes, if you cut Florida State, they will bleed. (With the exception of Bjoern Werner, who is a cyborg sent back through time to terrorize opposing quarterbacks) Let’s take a deeper look at the first part of that statement – “They’re just like us….” No, Northern Illinois, Florida State is not like you. At all. In any way.

 

NIU Schedule

Date Opponent / Event Location Time
09/01/12 vs. Iowa TV Chicago, Ill. (Soldier Field) L, 18-17
09/08/12 vs. Tennessee-Martin TV DeKalb, Ill. W, 35-7
09/15/12 at Army TV West Point, N.Y. W, 41-40
09/22/12 vs. Kansas TV DeKalb, Ill. W, 30-23
09/29/12 vs. Central Michigan * TV DeKalb, Ill. W, 55-24
10/06/12 at Ball State * Muncie, Ind. W, 35-23
10/13/12 vs. Buffalo * TV DeKalb, Ill. W, 45-3
10/20/12 at Akron * TV Akron, Ohio W, 37-7
10/27/12 at Western Michigan * TV Kalamazoo, Mich. W, 48-34
11/03/12 vs. Massachusetts * DeKalb, Ill. W, 63-0
11/14/12 vs. Toledo * TV DeKalb, Ill. W, 31-24
11/23/12 at Eastern Michigan * TV Ypsilanti, Mich. W, 49-7
Marathon MAC Championship Game
11/30/12 vs. Kent State TV Detroit, Mich. (Ford Field) W, 44-37

 

NIU Offense

Don’t get me wrong, QB Jordan Lynch is a baller. He is obviously a fierce competitor and given his thoughts on the FSU defense, very confident. (or trying hard to convince himself that everything is going to be just fine at the Orange Bowl) I don’t want to say that Jordan Lynch is the entire NIU offense…..but Jordan Lynch is the entire NIU offense. He has carried this team on his shoulders the entire season, putting up crazy numbers all the way to a BCS berth and the biggest game in school history.

Lynch (6’0″/216) isn’t the biggest quarterback the Noles have faced this season, but he is most likely the toughest. He has thrown for 2,962 yards this season with 24 TDs and only five interceptions. Lynch has also been punishing opposing defenses on the ground the entire season. In addition to his near 3,000 yard passing campaign, Lynch has picked up 1,771 yards and 19 TDs rushing the ball for the Huskies. Yes, I know, the level of competition is pretty dismal, but there is no way that FSU can ignore the athleticism and threat that Lynch brings to the field.

Stop Lynch, stop NIU. It’s really that simple.

NIU Defense

It’s pretty tough to gauge just how good the NIU defense really is, given the fact that they play in the Mid-American Conference. (Although, the way things have gone in the ACC this season, the MAC isn’t really that far behind.) The Huskies have held opponents a stout 19 points per game, but allow an average of 356 yards per contest; 139 yards on the ground and 217 through the air. Look for FSU to utilize their overall team speed to their advantage and punish Northern Illinois on the ground. The FSU offensive line averages 300 pounds-per-man, and I think thee Huskies have maybe one guy on their entire team that tops the 300 mark. Should be a very long night for the NIU defense.

Prediction

The four-letter network is trying their best to tout this game as yet another David vs. Goliath match-up.  Remember when Boise State shocked the college football world and upset Oklahoma? Yeah, that’s not happening in South Florida on the opening day of 2013. There have been the countless mentions of FSU “mailing-in” games, giving the impression that there is a chance for Northern Illinois to pull as it is stated in the game promos, “the ultimate upset.” I understand the need to create story lines and hype to draw viewers in, and I won’t argue that it would be one of the biggest upsets of all-time. The problem is that it’s just not going to happen. The Noles are in their first Orange Bowl in seven years, playing in their home state, and the crowd should be a sea of garnet and gold. I’m not saying that the FSU second and third teamers could beat Northern Illinois…….but they could. FSU caps off a their most successful season on a long time with an easy Orange Bowl victory.

Florida State 38     Northern Illinois 10

Tags: , , , ,