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Florida State takes Orange Bowl, beating Northern Illinois

MIAMI — Eager to avoid an Orange Bowl shocker, the 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 for the program's first victory in a BCS bowl game since beating Virginia Tech for the national championship in the 2000 Sugar Bowl.

Senior fullback Lonnie Pryor, voted the game's outstanding player, ran for a career-high 134 yards and two scores on 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.

EJ Manuel, 25-6 as a starter at FSU, on what he sees his legacy being: "A winner. A guy that came in and didn't complain. A leader.''

He's only the second quarterback to win four bowl games, joining West Virginia's Pat White.

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.

For No. 16 Northern Illinois, in a BCS bowl for the first time, the defeat snapped a 12-game winning streak. The Huskies (12-2) came in as two-touchdown underdogs and fell to 5-28 against top 25 teams.

Pryor scored the first touchdown on a career-long 60-yard run, then ran 37 yards for a clinching score with 10 minutes left. They were the two longest rushes allowed by Northern Illinois all season.

Manuel went 26-for-38, threw for one score and ran for another.

The Huskies, out of the MAC, were widely derided as unworthy of a BCS bowl berth, and didn't do enough to silence the doubters. They were outgained 534- 259.

The trick plays in the kicking game helped keep the Huskies close until the fourth quarter, but when it came to Lynch, not much fooled a Seminoles defense ranked second in the nation. And the Huskies' last attempt at razzle-dazzle backfired when receiver Da'Ron Brown lost a fumble on an end around at midfield, setting up Pryor's final touchdown.

Lynch came in leading the nation in rushing and total offense, and he threw or ran on nearly every play for the Huskies. But he completed only 15-of-41 for 176 yards, and carried 23 times for 44 yards.

After the Huskies' lone touchdown cut their deficit to 17-10 in the third quarter, they recovered an onside kick, and Lynch moved them to the FSU 23. But he was flushed from the pocket on third down and threw an ill-advised pass that defensive back Terrence Brooks intercepted.

The loss was Rod Carey's debut as the Huskies' coach. He was promoted to replace Dave Doeren, who took the North Carolina State job after the regular season.

The outsiders

BCS games featuring a team from a non-BCS conference (ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC):

ScoreBowl
FSU 31, N. Illinois 102012 Orange
TCU 21, Wisconsin 192010 Rose
Boise St. 17, TCU 102009 Fiesta
Utah 31, Alabama 172007 Sugar
Georgia 41, Hawaii 102007 Sugar
Boise St. 43, Okla. 42 *2006 Fiesta
Utah 35, Pittsburgh 72004 Fiesta

* Overtime

Florida State takes Orange Bowl, beating Northern Illinois 01/02/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 2, 2013 1:06am]
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