The Orange Bowl took place on New Year's Day, and the Florida State Seminoles easily handled their business against the Northern Illinois Huskies.
There wasn’t much surprise or intrigue in this contest, as the ‘Noles steamrolled their way to a 31-10 victory against an outmatched opponent, proving that the big-time college schools are still superior to the mid-majors.
It wasn’t all that bad (just mostly bad) for NIU, and it wasn’t all great for FSU, so let’s take a look at the winners and losers from each side in this contest.
It’s not too often a fullback wins a BCS bowl MVP, but Pryor deserved it.
The game’s most impactful player only had five carries, but he made the most of them. In the senior’s final game, he rushed for 134 yards and two touchdowns, a whopping average of 26.8 yards per touch.
He also added three receptions for 17 yards to seal the deal.
It’s a beautiful way for the Okeechobee native to end his career, and he was the real hero in a game that was never close.
College Football Traditionalists
Everyone who felt that Northern Illinois didn’t deserve to be in the BCS was validated by this result.
From top to bottom, Florida State was the better team on Tuesday. It was the first time a MAC squad ever reached the top-tier of collegiate bowl games, and it may be the last for a long while.
While we’ve seen Utah knock out Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and Boise State beat up on Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl over the past six years, those seem like anomalies now that the Seminoles obliterated the Huskies.
NIU’s quarterback received much of the pregame hype, and for good reason.
The junior signal-caller had an incredible 2012, finishing seventh in Heisman voting after setting a new NCAA record for QB rushing yards. However, he looked terrible in front of a nationally televised audience against the best opponent his team faced all season.
Lynch completed just 15 of 41 passes for a scant 176 yards, one touchdown and one interception. His vaunted running ability was absolutely no factor, as he picked up just 44 yards on 23 carries—with exactly half of those coming on one big gain.
Many were starting to believe that the Mid-American Conference was a true force in college football, but this game certainly set it back quite a bit.
Kent State and NIU finished ranked (25 and 15, respectively), while Bowling Green, Ball State, Toledo, Central Michigan, Ohio all were selected to play in bowl games this postseason.
However, none of that matters now that Northern Illinois was shellacked by Florida State in arguably the most important game in the conference’s history.
Don’t expect the MAC to get much credit next year, as detractors will simply point out this Orange Bowl result to demean the conference.