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Orange Bowl: Mistakes, Execution, Luck Added Up For NIU

Florida State won the game using their size, speed and strength, but the Huskies certainly helped close the door on themselves with missed passes, big penalties and one iffy fumble.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

It's entirely fair to say that Florida State won this game because they're better and faster. They also made more plays and fewer mistakes — although for two-and-a-half quarters, that may not have been the case.

Lonnie Pryor will be a face that haunts Northern Illinois for years; a fullback in name only, his speed gashed the Huskies defense for five carries, 134 yards and two touchdowns. He and E.J. Manuel had stupendous games offensively, and both of their lines won the battle up front.

When the game is like that, it requires execution, strategy, and luck. After that onside kick, they didn't get much of that. First it was Lynch's forced interception. Then it was Jamaal Bass committing a personal foul on an out-of-bounds hit. Both of those were crushing. And that's before getting into the schematic mistakes (unable to get some NIU players open) and mistakes on execution, namely some Martel Moore dropped passes and others which Lynch missed. The last realistic chance game on a goofy reverse play which didn't fool FSU at all, and Da'Ron Brown didn't seem to fumble the ball before his knee hit the ground, but the play was upheld. In the end, Jordan Lynch only totaled 44 rushing yards, which was higher than his completion percentage of 37. Yikes.

After that, it was just Florida State's game to put away, and they did that in the fourth quarter.

For NIU, it's going to hurt. A lot of "what could've been" will percolate inside Lynch and the rest of NIU's team, much of whom will be back in 2013. They were beat by an awesome team. They probably don't think much of NIU, or the MAC, but they never did to begin with. Of course, since this was the closest Orange Bowl in the past three years, Northern Illinois proved that they belonged here, drunken bowl reps notwithstanding. As expected, they did this blogger and one-night-only-Huskies-fan proud in their entire season, including this game.

Oh well. It's sports.