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Article updated: 12/31/2012 8:59 PM

Orange Bowl matchup

No. 13 Florida State (11-2) vs. No. 16 NIU (12-1)

TV: 7:30 p.m. ESPN

Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla.

Line: Florida State by 13.

Series record: First meeting.

At stake

Northern Illinois seeks to validate its bowl bid after becoming the first Mid-American Conference team to reach the Bowl Championship Series. Florida State is looking for its fifth consecutive bowl win, but is trying to break a streak of four consecutive losses in BCS bowls. The Seminoles' EJ Manuel seeks to become only the second quarterback to go 4-0 in bowl games.

Key matchup:

NIUjunior QB Jordan Lynch will face a Florida State defense that ranks second in yards allowed at 253.8 per game. Lynch led the nation with 1,771 yards rushing, a record for quarterbacks. The Seminoles allowed only 93.0 yards rushing per game, fifth-best.

Players to watch

Florida State: EJ Manuel has a career completion percentage of 66.8, best in school history. He leads an offense that averages 7.01 yards per play, which is tied for best in the nation. Senior Dustin Hopkins is the NCAA's career leader in kick scoring with 459 points. This season WR Rashad Greene scored twice on punt returns, five times receiving and once rushing. Junior All-American Bjoern Werner has 23 career sacks, including 13 this season.

Northern Illinois: Lynch made second-team All-American as an all-purpose player and finished seventh in the Heisman Trophy voting. He leads the nation in total offense and needs 38 yards passing to become the first player to pass for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,500 in a season.

Facts & figures

Northern Illinois' lone loss came in its season opener against Iowa, 18-17. ... The Huskies and Oregon are the only teams to win at least 11 games each of the past three seasons. ... The Huskies are 2-6 against Atlantic Coast Conference teams, and 5-27 against ranked teams. Florida State would be the highest-ranked team they've ever beaten. ... The Seminoles are playing in a bowl game for the 31st year in a row, the longest active streak. ... Florida State is playing in a BCS bowl for the first time since losing to Penn State in the 2006 Orange Bowl.

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