Northern Illinois has one of the smallest defenses that Florida State will face this season, but Seminoles players and coaches have a healthy respect for what the Huskies have been able to do despite their stature, and they are expecting a tough matchup in the 2013 Orange Bowl.
Seminoles quarterback EJ Manuel said his offense will have to match the disciplined play of NIU's defense.
"I just see a lot of guys that run to the ball and give great effort," Manuel said. "They’re well-coached. They seem very disciplined on film. So we’ll have to do the same thing – be very disciplined and just execute our offense."
Northern Illinois has just one defensive tackle on its two-deep weighing more than 300 pounds, and its starting linebackers are all shorter than 6 feet tall. Still, the Huskies finished the regular season ranked 34th nationally in total defense and 18th in scoring. They held five opponents to seven points or fewer.