The Skinny: It was Lonnie Pryor who pulled the Seminoles to an early lead, rumbling 60 yards for a touchdown as FSU took a 7-3 lead over Northern Illinois after the first quarter of the Orange Bowl.
The Seminoles' defense held NIU to three-and-out on its first two possessions and only allowed two first downs, one of which came on a fake punt that went for 35 yards. The fake punt set up the Huskies for a 25-yard field goal to cut the 'Noles lead to 7-3
Key Play: Florida State flashed its physical supremacy as fullback Lonnie Pryor flew past the NIU defense for a 60-yard touchdown run, capping a 95-yard drive. It was the longest run of Pryor's career, eclipsing a 50-yard run against Maryland in 2009.
Key Player: EJ Manuel got off to a hot start, going 7 of 9 for 79 yards in the first quarter.
Key Stat: NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch, who entered with 4,700 total yards and 43 touchdowns this season, was held to 8 carries for 20 yards and 2-of-6 passing for 31 yards in the first quarter.
The Skinny: For most of the second quarter, Florida State could only muster yards, not points. But as it seemed NIU would be able to hang around because the 'Noles couldn't punch a score in, FSU marched 82 yards for a score as Manuel found Rashad Greene for a six-yard touchdown connection with 11 seconds left in the half.
Northern Illinois can't figure out the FSU defense, totaling 110 yards on 30 plays.
Key Play: Greene's incredible third-down touchdown catch was crucial for the 'Noles, who had amassed 322 total yards and only seven points before the score to make it 14-3.
Key Player: Kenny Shaw had the most productive second quarter, catching five passes for 47 yards including four straight from Manuel on the second quarter touchdown drive.
Key Stat: NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch continues to struggle. He is 4 of 15 passing for 52 yards and has 12 carries for 24 yards.
The Skinny: Offensively the Seminoles have not been able to put the Huskies away in the third quarter but have put themselves in positon to do so in the fourth quarter after a nine-yard EJ Manuel touchdown run for a 24-10 lead.
Florida State had a chance to further extend its lead right out of the half with a nine-play, 68-yard drive that stalled out at the NIU seven and had to settle for a Dustin Hopkins field goal.
NIU answered with an 11-play scoring drive capped off by an 11-yard touchdown pass by Jordan Lynch to Martel Moore. The Huskies came right back after the score with an onside kick, but Terrence Brooks came up with a huge interception at his own 14.
Key Play: Brooks' crucial interception of Lynch after NIU recovered an onside kick following its first touchdown of the game. The turnover didn't result in points, but did shift the momentum back to FSU.
Key Player: Jordan Lynch finally became a factor in the game with a touchdown pass that he set up by a 22-yard run.
Key Stat: Florida State has outgained NIU 460 yards to 238.
The Skinny: After Manuel opened up the fourth quarter with a touchdown run, Lonnie Pryor helped FSU pull away with his second touchdown of the day. Pryor broke loose for a 37-yard touchdown and finished the game with 134 yards and two TDs as he was named MVP.
Pryor's score came just two plays after NIU's second turnover of the second half. Xavier Rhodes recovered the fumble on the Huskies' 42-yard line.
FSU controlled the game from there as NIU never got anything going on offense.
Key Play: Pryor's 37-yard touchdown gave FSU the breathing room it needed over NIU.
Key Player: Lonnie Pryor finished the game with an average of 26.8 yards per carry as he rushed for a career-high 134 yards.
Key Stat: NIU averaged just 2.6 yards per rush against FSU.