Continued from page 1

But even the Huskies acknowledged before kickoff that Florida State was unlike any opponent they’ve faced this season, and the Seminoles wasted little time showing that might be right. Pryor’s touchdown was more than twice as long as any other rushing play allowed by Northern Illinois this season, which entered the game having not allowed a run of more than 28 yards.

The Huskies got on the board with 1:41 left in the half on Mathew Sims’ 25-yard field goal, a score set up in large part by Maxwell getting free after taking a direct snap on the fake punt.

Pulling off that play was one two huge breaks Northern Illinois enjoyed in the opening quarter, the other being a fumble by Florida State tight end Nick O’Leary at the Huskies’ 35-yard line to thwart an early Seminoles drive.

Florida State was the game’s home team, which led to some unusual sights. First, the Seminoles were on the sideline usually occupied by their archrivals, the Miami Hurricanes. And secondly, Florida State also brought Renegade _ its white horse _ replete with a rider holding a flaming spear that was tossed into the turf, the traditional pregame scene when the Seminoles are in Tallahassee.

It was the matchup that easily sparked more debate than any other in the Bowl Championship Series this year. Florida State’s trip to Miami was a lock after the Seminoles won the Atlantic Coast Conference _ but Northern Illinois’ berth was widely criticized by many.

“It’s our motivation,” Lynch said before the game. “We know what kind of team we are.”