MIAMI GARDENS — Florida State defeated Northern Illinois 31-10 tonight at Sun Life Stadium in the 2013 Discover Orange Bowl.
Lonnie Pryor's 60-yard TD run put FSU on the board.
Much of the pregame buzz surrounded how Florida State's defense would contain NIU catalyst Jordan Lynch. And throughout the game, the Seminoles answered with relative ease.
Lynch, the nation's top rusher at quarterback, mustered only 58 yards on 21 carries and completed just over 36 percent of his pass attempts for 176 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Northern Illinois ended the night with 259 yards of total offense.
Florida State, meanwhile, moved the ball seemingly at will against the Huskies but initially struggled to translate its offensive yardage into points.
Lonnie Pryor's 60-yard touchdown run gave the Seminoles a 7-0 lead, but FSU couldn't add anymore until Rashad Greene's toe-tapping, 6-yard touchdown in the corner of the end zone with 11 seconds to go in the half.
FSU opened the second half with a bang, driving easily all the way down to inside the Huskie five yard-line. However, after a false start and a few stands from the NIU defense, the Seminoles were forced to settle from a 25-yard field goal on Hopkins’ foot to extend the lead to 17-3.
Also, with the kick, Hopkins’ career total of field goals reached 88, more than any other kicker in NCAA history.
NIU decided to make things interesting on the following drive, taking six plays to move 87 yards down the field and put the ball in the painted area for the first time of the night, making the score 17-10 in favor of the Seminoles.
And with the momentum already shifting in their favor, the Huskies decided to take a gamble and come out with an onside kick. The gamble would pay off, as FSU was caught completely off guard and NIU recovered the kick with ease.
However, just when it looked like Lynch and the Huskies were about to strike again, Terrance Brooks came up with a much-needed interception to get the Seminoles out of the difficult spot.
FSU would draw its next blood to start the fourth quarter, after Manuel took it in himself from nine yards out to increase the Seminoles’ lead to 24-10.
The Seminoles would then put another seven points in the board, this time again on the feet of Pryor, as the senior rushed from 37 yards out after FSU gained possession off a NIU fumble.
Pryor finished the night with 130 yards and two touchdowns on just five carries.
Ahead 31-10 with a little more than 10 minutes remaining, the game finally felt completely in control for the Seminoles for the first time of the evening. And FSU wouldn't look back.
Playing in his final collegiate game, FSU quarterback EJ Manuel completed 27 of 39 passes for 295 yards and one touchdowns. The Seminoles racked up a total of 528 yards of offense on the night.