In their home finale Saturday, Syracuse was simply outmanned by #17 Florida State, falling at the Carrier Dome to the Seminoles, 45-14. The Orange (4-7, 2-5 ACC) suffered their third straight loss while FSU extended their win streak to three. Running back Dalvin Cook was simply too much for SU to handle, piling up 225 yards and four touchdowns for the visitors.
The Orange defense was consistently gouged, as Florida State piled up 654 yards on offense. Their offensive counterparts had trouble stringing consistent drives together, amassing only 13 first downs in the game while converting only 4-of-17 third down opportunities.
The Seminoles scored on their first two possessions to grab control of the game. They led, 14-0, just past the midpoint of the first quarter.
Christopher Frederick ended the first FSU drive of the second quarter with an interception, giving Syracuse the ball at their own 48. The Orange drove inside the Seminoles’ ten, but Zack Mahoney was intercepted in the end zone, ending the SU threat. Florida State drove for another touchdown on the ensuing drive, extending their lead to 21-0 with under seven minutes left in the opening half.
After FSU missed a long field goal late in the second, the Orange converted the remaining time into a score when Mahoney hit Amba Etta-Tawo in the end zone on a hail mary. The pass covered 46 yards and Cole Murphy added the extra point, sending SU to the locker room staring at a 21-7 deficit.
The ‘Noles started the second half the same way they did the first, scoring touchdowns on their first two drives, the latter pushing their lead to 35-7.
SU capitalized on another Florida State turnover, though, as Shy Cullen pounced on a muffed punt at the FSU 22. Three plays later, the Orange were in the end zone, as Mahoney found Erv Philips, who scooted in from 17 yards out for the score. Murphy’s conversion cut the gap to 35-14 with 4:27 left in the third.
Head coach Dino Babers opted for an onside kick, but FSU recovered and drove for another score, pushing their lead to 42-14. The Seminoles added a field goal in the fourth quarter for the final tally of the day.
Zack Mahoney completed 16-of-36 passes passes for 196 yards with a pair of touchdowns and a pair of interceptions. Erv Philips caught seven of those passes, gaining 63 yards to go with a touchdown.
Daivon Ellison and Rodney Williams each had eight tackles to lead the Orange defense. Williams added a sack, as did De’Jon Wilson. Christopher Frederick had a big day, snaring an interception, forcing one fumble, and recovering another. Shy Cullen and Troy Henderson also each recovered a fumble.
While a slight chance of making a bowl still exists, Syracuse likely wraps up their season on Saturday at Pittsburgh. The Panthers (7-4, 4-3) ride a two-game winning streak into the game, most recently hammering Duke, 56-14. The game will kick off at 12:30pm Eastern and will be televised regionally by the ACC Network, as well as be available noline at ESPN3.com.