SU Football: Syracuse vs FSU

No. 17 Florida State runs away with 45-14 victory over Syracuse football

Seminoles star Cook rushes for 227 yards, four touchdowns in win at the Carrier Dome

On paper, it seemed as if the Florida State football team would cruise to an easy win over the injury-riddled Syracuse Orange at the Carrier Dome. And, that is exactly what happened.

The No. 17 Seminoles (8-3, 5-3 ACC) dominated from start-to-finish in their 45-14 victory on Saturday afternoon. FSU racked up 654 yards of total offense, averaged 8.6 yards per play and held the Orange (4-7, 2-5 ACC) to just 13 first downs in the contest.

Photo: Jonathan Colon

The Orange offense struggled again without starting quarterback Eric Dungey—who hasn’t played since going down with an injury Nov. 5 at Clemson. Backup Zack Mahoney completed just 16 of his 36 pass attempts for 196 yards.

“I missed a lot of reads and a lot of throws,” Mahoney said about his performance. “It definitely was not a game I was happy with.”

Mahoney had very little time to throw for much of the afternoon as Florida State managed to force pressure and collapse the pocket. The FSU defense sacked Mahoney eight times in the game and forced the junior into throwing two interceptions, one of which came in the end-zone. Mahoney did throw for two touchdowns in the contest.

“It’s a different game when a quarterback is getting hit a lot,” Syracuse head coach Dino Babers said. “They're not supposed to get hit a lot…We have to find a way to do more to help him.”

Syracuse’s problems running the ball continued. One week after recording just 28 rushing yards in a loss to North Carolina State, the Syracuse running backs ran for just 46 yards on 20 carries. Overall, SU was out rushed, 334-37.

Florida State picked apart Syracuse’s depleted defense. Seminoles star running back Dalvin Cook averaged eight yards per carry, totaled 227 rushing yards and scored four touchdowns.

“We knew [Cook] was very dangerous when he gets to the perimeter and uses his speed,” SU linebacker Zaire Franklin said. “We tried to keep him between the tackles. Obviously it didn’t go too well today.”

FSU quarterback Deondre Francois added 22 yards on the ground to his 315 passing yards. He also threw for two touchdowns.

The Orange appeared to get back in the game just before halftime. With three seconds left to go in the second quarter and trailing, 21-0, Mahoney threw up a Hail Mary to the back right corner of the end-zone. SU wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo leapt over multiple FSU defenders to haul in the pass and cut the Seminoles lead to just two scores.

But, FSU strung together a seven play, 75-yard touchdown drive on the first possession coming out of the locker room to end any Orange momentum.

“Those are some of the things you dream about,” Mahoney said about the Hail Mary. “That was good to get a little momentum going into halftime but we unfortunately didn’t capitalize.”

With the loss, Syracuse’s slim hopes at qualifying for a bowl game became even slimmer. The Orange must win its final regular season game at Pittsburgh and multiple teams must lose in the season’s final week for SU to have a chance at extending its season.

Syracuse’s game at Pittsburgh is scheduled for Nov. 26. Kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m. at Heinz Field. 

Post new comment

* Field must be completed for your comment to appear on The NewsHouse
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.