The game was not always pretty, as Florida State waited until the fourth quarter to decide that putting away Northern Illinois needed to happen. However, in getting the 31-10 victory over the Huskies in the 2013 Orange Bowl on Tuesday, Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher was able bank some much-needed positive feelings heading into the offseason.
Florida State, entering the Orange Bowl, needed some good vibes in a big way. The bad taste from the disappointing NC State loss was still on people's minds. The Seminoles are a team that got smoked by their rival Florida over the Thanksgiving weekend. They also looked listless in the ACC Championship against Georgia Tech.
In other words, Fisher and his team needed a win to make things right in Tallahassee. While it was not pretty from start to finish, it was just what the doctor ordered.
This was the hurdle that Fisher needed to clear, and thanks to the efforts of his team, Fisher was able to avoid the upset and prove he is making progress. Seniors like EJ Manuel and Lonnie Pryor stepped up on offense to pull away from the Huskies late, turning a 17-10 game into a 31-10 victory in the final quarter.
On defense, with a makeshift staff, Fisher's team was able to mount a gorgeous effort. The Seminoles held tough-talking NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch to just 220 total yards, 176 passing and 44 on the ground. A team that was averaging 40 points a game scored just 10, and overall the night was nothing but frustrating for the Huskies.
Everything that the MAC champion wanted to do, Florida State had an answer for. The speed, something Northern Illinois downplayed entering the game, was a clear factor as receivers struggled to get open and Lynch continuously failed to elude defenders. The Seminoles put on a clinic with the talent that Jimbo Fisher has brought together during his time in Tallahassee.
Now, with the Seminoles' first BCS Bowl win since 1999, Fisher has put some warm and fuzzy feelings between himself and Florida State. The man who folks were starting to question has brought a probable Top 10 finish, an Orange Bowl Championship and an ACC title to town. While it was not perfect, the win should be enough to help calm the natives until 2013.
Fisher needs the good feelings now. He has a boatload of juniors that are debating making the leap to the NFL level, several key seniors that have to leave the program and next year his team could be young in critical spots. 2013 is going to be an adventure in Tallahassee, but luckily for Jimbo Fisher, he's got an Orange Bowl Championship and a little wiggle room going forward.