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Florida State turns back N. Illinois
Anxious to avoid an Orange Bowl shocker, the Florida State Seminoles kept getting tricked. An onside kick fooled them, as did a fake punt...
MIAMI — Anxious to avoid an Orange Bowl shocker, the Florida State Seminoles kept getting tricked.
An onside kick fooled them, as did a fake punt, and a pooch punt by Northern Illinois' star quarterback.
But the final score was no surprise. Florida State had too much speed and depth for the Huskies and pulled away for a 31-10 victory Tuesday night.
Senior fullback Lonnie Pryor, voted the game's outstanding player, ran for a career-high 134 yards and two scores in only five carries. Senior EJ Manuel threw for 291 yards, while the Seminoles stuffed Huskies QB and all-purpose threat Jordan Lynch for most of the night.
"We came out here and did what we had to do," Pryor said.
The victory was a consolation prize for the No. 13 Seminoles (12-2), who began the season with national championship hopes. They've won five consecutive bowl games, but the victory was their first in a BCS bowl since 2000, when they beat Virginia Tech for the national championship.
For 16th-ranked Northern Illinois (12-2), playing in a BCS bowl for the first time, the defeat snapped a 12-game winning streak. The Huskies came in as two-touchdown underdogs and fell to 5-28 against top 25 teams.
"We knew that they were going to play us tough," Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said. "But our kids, it's another step in which we handled the big platform, and I'm very proud of them."
Pryor scored the first touchdown on a career-long 60-yard run, then ran 37 yards for a clinching touchdown with 10 minutes left. They were the two longest rushes allowed by Northern Illinois all season.
"I'm glad I'm a Nole, and I'm glad the seniors went out with a bang," Pryor said. "I always wanted to be MVP of a bowl."
Manuel went 26 for 38, threw for one score and ran for another.
The Huskies were widely derided as unworthy of a BCS bowl berth, and didn't do enough to silence the doubters. They were outgained 534 yards to 259.