The above picture is all you need to know about the Discover Orange Bowl. Jordan Lynch and Northern Illinois were harassed all night by Florida State as they were unable to pull off the upset. The players fought hard, but the coaching staff led by Rod Carey seemed to take on a deer in the headlights look for much of the game.
The biggest error was not giving the ball to Akeem Daniels. When he had the ball, he made things happen on offense. However, he never had much of a chance to show what he could do. By the time he started getting more touches, the deficit was already three scores. Not exactly the best way to keep a team on their heels.
Then again, the play calling in general was suspect. Carey seemed to be overwhelmed by the moment and kept calling plays that simply weren’t working. There were too many attempts at slow-developing plays that might work against lesser competition, but not against a team like FSU. They are simply too fast and too talented to get beat on those type of plays.
Lynch fought for tough yards all night, but sending him into the line repeatedly when it was clear he wasn’t going to get more than one or two yards a carry was also a big mistake. They needed to try something else, but they stuck to their guns for way too long.
This isn’t to put all the blame on Carey, either. Lynch was pretty brutal throwing the ball. He was well below 50 percent on the night, but this is where the talent came in again. NIU wideouts would get open and Lynch would have zero time or he would have all day to throw but no one could break open. The cycle kept repeating itself throughout the game.
FSU was the better team on Tuesday night, but NIU did have a chance. The game was close until FSU added scores in the fourth quarter but NIU never backed down. In the end, some questionable play calls may have helped suffocate any hopes NIU had.