A quick take on Syracuse’s humiliating 59-3 loss to No. 2 Florida State on Saturday evening:
WHAT HAPPENED: Syracuse was a 38.5 point underdog heading into its matchup against Florida State. The Seminoles came within a half point of covering that in the first half, demolishing the Orange in every facet of the game. FSU QB Jameis Winston showed no ill-effects of being named as part of an investigation into an alleged sexual assault on Wednesday, easily picking apart the Syracuse defense to the tune of 277 yards and two touchdowns before being subbed out in the second half. When the Seminoles weren’t punishing the Orange through the air, they rushed for four touchdowns on the ground. The FSU defense was equally as dominant, holding SU to 243 total yards. Things got out of hand so fast that the Carrier Dome, which hosted the men’s basketball team against Colgate, turned off the game on the Jumbotron midway through the second quarter.
ANALYSIS: This one was over quickly. It took just six plays and 2:31 for Florida State to get on the board, capped by a James Wilder Jr. 3-yard untouched run to paydirt. After a quick 3-and-out from the Orange, Levonte Whitfield took it to the house for 74 yards, and not even five minutes in, the Orange were down two scores. Some SU fans scoffed at prognosticators, who put Syracuse as a 38.5 point underdog. Turns out, those Orange fans were right, but for the wrong reasons, as Florida State could’ve easily doubled that margin had they kept in their starters in the second half. While Syracuse fans certainly weren’t expecting a win down in Tallahassee, a loss like this was the worst possible scenario, especially after a devastating injury to defensive back Julian Whigham, who was forced to leave the game on a stretcher after a horrific abdominal injury in the first quarter. The latest reports are that his vital signs are stable.
HERO: Winston, arguably the Heisman front runner, was as good as advertised, picking apart the Syracuse secondary with surgical precision. Even on the rare occasion that Syracuse put pressure on him, Winston was calmly able to sidestep any trouble and (on almost each occasion) find a wide open receiver for a big gain. The lesser known, but equally as effective, Florida State defense was particularly impressive against the SU run game, with the Orange averaging just 2.8 yards per rush on 49 attempts.
ZERO: Plenty of blame to go around, and no need to pile on by picking out a specific weak point of SU’s dreadful performance. Syracuse should just be thankful they won’t have to play a team that is as deep and talented as Florida State until next season.
WHAT’S NEXT: All that being said, Syracuse is still very much alive for the postseason, with winnable games at home against Pittsburgh and Boston College to close the season. The Pitt game will be on Saturday, Nov. 23 at 12:30 p.m. at the Carrier Dome. TV: ACC Network.