By C.J. Gardner
The BCS National Championship game will take place at MetLife Stadium in Miami, but a week before that the Discover Orange Bowl will be played there. This year’s match up will be between the Florida State Seminoles and Northern Illinois Huskies. This will be the Seminole’s first BCS bowl game under Jimbo Fisher since he took over for legendary coach Bobby Bowden. Florida State finished the regular season with two losses, one to in state rival Florida, and a one-point loss to NC State. The Seminoles clinched their place in the Orange Bowl by defeating Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship game 21-15.
FSU’s offense is led by senior quarterback E.J. Manuel, who has thrown for over 3000-yards this year and racked up 22 touchdowns. But the strength of this Seminole team is on the defensive side of the ball. They only give up an average of fifteen points a game, which is seventh in the nation. One difficulty that could arise for Florida State is that their defensive coordinator Mark Stoops has been hired as the head coach of Kentucky, making him unavailable for the game.
Northern Illinois qualified for the Discover Orange Bowl automatically by finishing at number fifteen in the BCS standings after beating Kent State in the MAC Championship game. The Huskies lost their opening game against Iowa, but went on to win twelve straight and finish 12-1. Junior quarterback Jordan Lynch is one of the most exciting players in college football. He passed for nearly 3000-yards and has over 1700 rushing yards and accounted for 43 touchdowns this season. Northern Illinois will be looking to make an impression in it’s first BCS game and show that they were worthy of getting a spot in a BCS game over some other deserving teams. This game will come down to the Northern Illinois offense vs. Florida State’s defense. If the Huskies are able to run the ball on the strong Seminole defense, they have a shot at upsetting Florida State.