By Scott Carswell Jr.
On Saturday at noon Florida State will take on ACC opponent Syracuse in the Carrier Dome.
Syracuse is 2-0 on the season with wins at Western Michigan 55-42 and against Wagner 62-10.
Last year Florida State defeated Syracuse in Tallahassee 27-24 on a missed field goal as time expired.
Florida State offense versus Syracuse defense
The health and development of the offensive line continues to be the main concern for the Seminole offense. At points during the game last week only two linemen that started the season were in the game. This is not good for the cohesion of the line. When Samford’s biggest playmaker on defense went out of the game in the third quarter the FSU offense started to figure things out and move the ball the way they are capable of. I hope that it was because FSU started playing better as opposed to being because Gooden was being that disruptive.
The Orange’s coach Dino Baber’s is very excited about his defensive ends, Alton Robinson and Kendall Coleman and if they are as good as he says they are as you FSU could have problems protecting Francois once again. Antwan Cordy is the nickel safety that Syracuse is high on and he will be matched in the passing game with Tre’ McKitty and hopefully sometimes for Florida State with DJ Mathews. After the three aforementioned players on the Syracuse D the orange don’t have a whole lot to offer on the side of the ball. If the Seminoles want to improve on offense this will be the game to try to get it done.
Florida State defense versus Syracuse offense
The FSU defense has started the two previous games slowly and will need to play well from the start in order to keep Syracuse out of rhythm and keep from wearing themselves out the defending so many plays in the beginning of the game. This will be the Seminoles first game this season against a fast-paced spread team with a very elusive dual threat quarterback, which is something they have struggled with under former defensive coordinator Charles Kelly. Hopefully seeing this in practice since Taggart arrived will help the defense slow the Syracuse offense down.
The Syracuse offense begins and ends with quarterback Eric Dungey. The senior Dungey lead the team in passing yards and rushing yards last season. He is doing the same this year with 402 yards passing and 244 yards rushing. Syracuse likes to push the tempo as fast as possible in their spread run pass option scheme. This year they are averaging 92 plays a game and last year they led the nation in plays per game at 88. When Dungey decides to pass he likes throwing to receivers Jerome Custis and Sean Riley. Running backs Moe Neal and Dontae Strickland are viable receiving options as well and will most likely split the carries on the ground.
The run stoppers in the middle will be able to keep Syracuse from running it in between the tackles but that might be okay with Syracuse as they like to run the ball on the outside with the quarterback and others. The players the orange was likely attack will be the outside linebackers and cover safeties like Jaiden Woodbey, DeCalon Brooks and Stanford Samuels Junior as they try to get them to commit to the outside runner or inside receivers. On the outside I think that the FSU cornerbacks will have a better game than last week.
Sterling Hofrichter is the placekicker and punter for the Orange. Punting is more of his specialty and is highly regarded among ACC punters. Agauyo missed three case kicks early on last year and did not miss the rest of the seat so hopefully that trend continues this year as he is missed three already.
I’m going to say Florida State eeks out its first victory in the ACC 38-37. Both offenses will be able to move the ball in between the twenties but getting it into the end zone will be a different story. I think that due to FSU’s run defense Syracuse will be forced to kick more field goals than they want helping the Seminoles secure the victory.