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2013 Discover Orange Bowl Preview and Pick Against the Spread: Northern Illinois Vs. Florida State

College Football Bowls, Orange Bowl, Seminoles

BCS buster Northern Illinois will take on Florida State in the 2013 Discover Orange Bowl. Northern Illinois lost their season opener but won 12 straight games to become the first MAC team to crash a BCS bowl game. Florida State went 7-1 in ACC play and beat Georgia Tech in the ACC championship game to earn a spot in a BCS bowl game.

When Northern Illinois is on Offense

Northern Illinois ranks 9th in the nation in scoring at 40.8 points per game. The Huskies’ Jordan Lynch is one of the most dynamic and underrated quarterbacks in the country. Lynch completed 62.9% of his passes for 2962 yards, 24 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions. In addition to throwing the football, Lynch averages 6.5 yards per carry and is currently 3rd in the nation with 1771 yards rushing. The two players with more rushing yards than Lynch, Ka’Deem Carey (1929 yds.) and Stefphon Jefferson (1883 yds), have each played their bowl games already, so there’s a chance Lynch could move up the list with a big game against Florida State. Wide receiver Martel Moore was Lynch’s top target this season catching 71 passes for 1054 yards and 12 touchdowns.

The Seminoles were one of the top defensive teams in the country this season. They rank 6th in scoring defense allowing just 15.1 points per game. They held their opponents to 7 points or less 5 times this season. The Seminoles pass rush was fantastic, led by defensive ends Bjoern Werner (13 sacks) and Cornellius Carradine (11 sacks). It will be important for Florida State to pressure Lynch without losing containment and giving him room to run up field.

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When Florida State is on Offense

Florida State ranks 13th in the nation in scoring at 39.9 points per game. Senior EJ Manuel completed 67.9% of his passes for 3101 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. The Seminoles share the ball well offensively. They have three running backs with at least 90 carries and 580 yards and four players with at least 25 catches and 450 yards receiving. Florida State’s balanced offense and plethora of weapons will keep the pressure on the Northern Illinois defense.

The Huskies rank 18th in scoring defense allowing 19.0 points per game. Like Florida State, they held their opponents to 7 points or less 5 times. Northern Illinois ranks 10th in the nation in sacks with 38 on the season.

2013 Discover Orange Bowl Pick Against the Spread

Florida State is currently a 14-point favorite over Northern Illinois in the 2013 Orange Bowl. Both teams had great seasons but the Seminoles did it against a much more difficult schedule. Northern Illinois will probably be a little more pumped up for the game than Florida State. The Seminoles may even feel a little bit let down to be playing in a BCS bowl against a team from the MAC. I don’t think the Huskies emotional advantage will make up for the talent-level deficiency in this game, but I like their chances to keep it closer than 14 points. I’m taking Northern Illinois with the 14 points.

Prediction: Florida State 31 – Northern Illinois 21

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