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2013 Orange Bowl: Huskies must establish passing game

Jordan Lynch and the Northern Illinois offense must establish the passing game against Florida State in the Orange Bowl if they're going to pull off the upset victory.

Dave Reginek

Entering the 2013 Orange Bowl as two-touchdown underdogs against the Florida State Seminoles, the Northern Illinois Huskies certainly have a lot to prove -- despite the fact that they've proven a lot merely by qualifying for a BCS game.

The Huskies enter the Orange Bowl with an excellent 12-1 record, but needless to say, competition in the MAC doesn't stack up against competition in the powerhouse BCS conferences.

FOX Sports Florida's Charlie McCarthy outlined three keys to a Northern Illinois upset victory -- and perhaps the most important key comes on offense, as the Huskies need to establish the passing game.

No surprise, the Huskies want to run the football. But to do so, Lynch must complete some passes.

Florida State, which yields just 93 rushing yards per game (fifth in the nation), likely will begin by stacking the box in an attempt to shut down Lynch and the NIU running game.

If Lynch & Co. run the ball, that will keep the Seminoles offense off the field, help use up the clock and perhaps wear down the Seminoles defenders, especially Werner.

Northern Illinois boasts the ninth-best rushing attack in the country, as the Huskies average a whopping 250.2 yards per game on the ground. The Huskies averaged the eighth-most points per game in all of the FBS as well, averaging 40.8 points per game.

Still, NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch will have to be sure to establish the pass, as the Huskies ranked just 61st in the FBS in passing yards per game (235.6), despite averaging over 40 points per game.

Photographs by cstreet.us, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.