FSU defeats NIU in the Orange Bowl

MIAMI (AP) -- Anxious to avoid an Orange Bowl shocker, the Florida State Seminoles kept getting tricked.

An onside kick fooled them, as did a fake punt, and a pooch punt by Northern Illinois' star quarterback.

But the final score was no surprise. Florida State had too much speed and depth for the Huskies and pulled away for a 31-10 victory Tuesday night.

Senior fullback Lonnie Pryor, voted the game's outstanding player, ran for a career-high 134 yards and two scores in only five carries. Senior EJ Manuel threw for 291 yards, while the Seminoles stuffed Huskies' QB and all-purpose threat Jordan Lynch for most of the night.

"I'm glad I'm a Nole, and I'm glad the seniors went out with a bang," Pryor said. "I always wanted to be MVP of a bowl, and I told myself that every time I get the ball, to try to make a big play."

The victory was a consolation prize for the No. 13 Seminoles (12-2), who began the season with national championship hopes. They've won five consecutive bowl games, but the victory was their first in a BCS bowl since 2000, when they beat Virginia Tech for the national title.

After the game, the Seminoles wore T-shirts that read, "Florida Statement."

"It's not the national championship, but right below," defensive end Bjoern Werner said. "Not a lot of teams can say that."

For 16th-ranked Northern Illinois (12-2), playing in a BCS bowl for the first time, the defeat snapped a 12-game winning streak. The Huskies came in as two-touchdown underdogs and fell to 5-28 against top 25 teams.
 

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