Florida State, NIU Look to Score Quickly

By Jimmy Johnson
Florida State Seminoles
Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida State Seminoles offense doesn’t waste time.

The Seminoles’ game plan to score quickly will be tested Jan. 1 when they face the Northern Illinois Huskies in the Orange Bowl.

138 of Florida State’s 519 points scored this season came in the first quarter. While their offense has jumped out a hot start, the Seminoles’ defense has allowed only 33 points in the first quarter – their lowest compared to the second (47), third (40) and fourth (76).  The Seminoles scored  at least 14 points in the first quarter in six of their 11 wins this season. The Florida Gators were the only school to not allow Florida State to score in the first quarter.

Piling on points early by the offense has given Florida States defensive players an advantage to attack and disrupt opponents early with aggressive play-calling, forcing teams to fall behind.

Northern Illinois Huskies
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The Huskies share the same offensive philosophy as their Orange Bowl opponent: score quick, and score often. There has even been the joke Northern Illinois score too quick, but you won’t here any of its coaches or players suggest they change the identity of a the offense.

If the the Seminoles’ speed on defense stifles the Huskies’ run game – which is paced by quarterback Jordan Lynch and several sparingly used running backs – the wide receiving trio of Martel Moore, Tommylee Lewis and Perez Ashford will have their numbers called upon often. All three of the Huskies’ receivers have great speed, but they’ll have to get past a hard-hitting and highly athletic secondary for Florida State.

The Seminoles’ secondary is lead by redshirt junior Xavier Rhodes. ‘The Miami, Fla. native will be the most physically dominating corner the Huskies’ will have faced this season. Florida State’s top corner’s size – 6-2, 217 lbs. – and ability to run and cover fast receivers makes him a versatile option against Northern Illinois’ top receivers. Moore, Lewis and Ashford rely more on their speed, but rarely makes mental mistakes.

If either of these teams builds a substantial lead after the first quarter, it won’t bode well for the team who has to play catch-up.


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