Florida State hears about NIU star Jordan Lynch’s chirping, says it will respond on field
BY MIKE BERARDINO For Sun-Times Media December 27, 2012 8:08PM
ACC Championship - Florida State v Georgia Tech
Updated: January 29, 2013 6:39AM
DAVIE, Fla. — Florida State linebacker Christian Jones arched an eyebrow and smiled before the question about Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch and his semi-controversial comments even was fully formed.
‘‘Yeah, I heard,’’ Jones said. ‘‘People are going to say what they want.’’
The Seminoles had been off their practice field for only a few minutes Thursday, but it was clear the players already had been briefed about the Sporting News story about NIU football and its outspoken quarterback.
‘‘No comment on that,’’ Florida State center Bryan Stork said flatly.
Others were slightly more willing to discuss the topic. In particular, Jones seemed to get a kick out of Lynch’s assertion the Huskies would be able to ‘‘wear down’’ the Seminoles in the Orange Bowl on New Year’s Day and ‘‘have them on their knees’’ by the fourth quarter.
Jones, the leading tackler on the sixth-ranked scoring defense in the country, just shook his head upon hearing those words from Lynch, who finished seventh in the Heisman Trophy balloting.
‘‘We’re going to play hard in the fourth quarter,’’ Jones said. ‘‘For one, we’re in Florida; we’re used to the humidity. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be different for them coming down here. We’ll see how it goes.’’
The extended forecast calls for lows in the 60s and highs in the 70s into next week. The idea of a team from DeKalb wearing down a team from Tallahassee in the unseasonably warm South Florida weather would be amusing to most, regardless of conference affiliation. To hear that kind of talk from the charismatic star of a BCS-busting team from the Mid-American Conference no doubt caused some Florida State players to snap out of their matchup-driven malaise.
The Seminoles (11-2) have been made 13-point favorites against the Huskies (12-1).
‘‘That’s what happens when a team is favored,’’ Jones said. ‘‘You’re always going to have that target on your back. It’s normal. You just have to take it, and you show up on game day.’’
Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher has gone out of his way to remind his team about NIU’s ‘‘history and tradition.’’ Fisher mentioned several times that the Huskies have won 21 of their last 22 games and brushed aside a question about Lynch by saying the Seminoles ‘‘haven’t seen anything like’’ NIU’s spread offense.
‘‘We played a lot of spread teams,’’ Jones said. ‘‘We’re comfortable playing teams like that. If [Lynch] says we haven’t played an offense like theirs, well, they probably haven’t played a defense like ours, either.’’
Motivation shouldn’t be a problem for Florida State, Fisher said, because the program is making its first appearance in a BCS bowl since falling in overtime to Penn State in the Orange Bowl seven years ago.
‘‘I never underestimate an opponent,’’ Seminoles sophomore offensive tackle Cameron Erving said. ‘‘Shoot, you have to respect a team that’s won 21 of their last 22 games.’’
Even if that includes a one-point victory against an Army team that finished 2-10? Even if ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit nearly burst a blood vessel ripping the inclusion of the Huskies in this game on BCS selection night?
‘‘You can’t buy into the hype of fans and media,’’ Erving said. ‘‘A lot of people don’t realize they’re great athletes. From what we’ve seen on film, they are great athletes. They really are.
So you can never underestimate that.’’