Jimbo Fisher and the Seminoles present Northern Illinois with its toughest challenge all season. The two teams meet in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 1.
Many previews of the 2013 Orange Bowl have focused on the clash between Northern Illinois' top-10 offense and Florida State's top-five defense. In his final press conference before the Jan. 1 showdown, Seminoles' head coach Jimbo Fisher was quick to point out the strength of his own team's offense. Fisher told the media:
"We have a great defense. We do. But we have a very good offense, too, so we can go score our points. And I think when you put points on people, it puts pressure on people. ... So I think either way, we've proven we can win low-scoring games, and we've proven in the Clemson game we can win shootouts. We feel confident both ways."
The statistics certainly support his claim. While the Huskies' much-touted offense averaged 40.8 points per game (eighth in the BCS), the Seminoles' mark of 39.9 is just as impressive. In terms of yards per play, Florida State (7.0) was slightly more efficient than Northern Illinois (6.6).
Historically speaking, Florida State's 2012 offense is almost as good as it has ever been. As Fisher pointed out, only two Seminole teams have ever passed for 3,000 yards and run for 2,500, this one, and the 1993 squad that won a national title.
Northern Illinois coach Rod Carey is well aware of the FSU offense, and is not letting media hype affect his preparation. Carey said:
"We average like, what is it, like 40, 41 points a game? Well, they average like 40. It's not like they're slouches. It's going to come down to what defense can stop what offense, because both offenses are good, both defenses are good, and that's football."