Congratulations Mr Lynch, you have woken a sleeping giant. During this past week, Northern Illinois starting quarterback Jordan Lynch was asked about their matchup with ACC powerhouse Florida State. He responded by saying “They’re fast, they’re physical….but they haven’t seen anything like our offense. We plan on wearing them down. In the fourth quarter, we plan to have them on their knees – and then just keep pounding away.” This isn’t AJ McCarron, quarterback of the SEC Champion Alabama Crimson Tide or Johnny Manziel, the Heisman Trophy winning quarterback of Texas AM, this is Jordan Lynch of freakin Northern Illinois!
Northern Illinois comes into the January 1st bowl game with a 12-1 record. During the year, they lost to a pitiful Iowa (4-8) team, and barely squeezed out victories over Army (2-10) and Kansas (1-11). This is the same squad that competed in a very weak MAC conference all year and never beat a true top team. For these reasons, Vegas has them at a 13 point dog in the Orange Bowl.
Florida State on the other hand comes into the game with a 11-2 record. Their two losses come to NC State (7-5) and the fourth ranked Florida Gators. Their wins include a very impressive victory over the 10th ranked Clemson Tigers in late September. An ACC squad that is sixth in the nation in points featuring dynamic playmakers Tajh Boyd, DeAndre Hopkins, and Sammy Watkins. But of course, FSU has never seen an offense like the 9th ranked Huskies who put up big points against NCAA “powerhouses” Massachusetts (1-11), Eastern Michigan (2-10), and Buffalo (4-8).
There is a right way and a wrong way to handle yourselves when you are a “Cinderella” squad in major bowl game. Two classic examples of two different teams: the 2006 Boise State Broncos and the 2007 Hawaii Warriors. Both teams were in similar position to Northern Illinois; small schools from small conferences competing against the big boys in a BCS bowl game.
Boise State entered the Fiesta Bowl with a 13-0 record taking on the powerful Oklahoma Sooners led by superstar running back Adrian Peterson. Oklahoma came into the game a double digit favorite. Nobody gave Boise a chance in this game. The only people that believed in Boise were the players wearing the uniform. They kept their mouth shut all week and didn’t give the Sooners any bulletin board material. What resulted is a 43-42 victory in overtime for Boise. Oklahoma slept walked through the first half and found themselves down 21-10 at halftime. They were never able to recover and take control of the game.
The other example is the 2007 Hawaii Warriors. This team was led by a loudmouth quarterback Colt Brennan. He was in a similar position to Jordan Lynch. He had the Heisman hype and put up gaudy numbers through the regular season. Hawaii came into the game with a lot of confidence and they let everyone know that they were going to put up points in the Sugar Bowl against Georgia. What resulted was a drubbing by Georgia to the tune of 41-10. Northern Illinois seems to be taking the same approach Hawaii took, and we all saw how that worked out for them.
The fact is, Florida State doesn’t want to play a team of Northern Illinois stature in a bowl game. This is a slap in the face for a team that was ranked 7th in the preseason polls. A team that some college football experts thought could be playing for a national championship this year. A measly game versus Northern Illinois in their home state means nothing to the Seminoles. But it does now, thanks to Jordan Lynch’s comments. Mr. Lynch, you called out the number 2 defense in the nation. To say you plan to have them on their knees by the fourth quarter….You better hope you can make it that long.