Syracuse will try to open the season 3-0 when it hosts Florida State at the Carrier Dome on Saturday at noon. Ahead of the game, The Juice Online’s Brad Bierman and Wes Cheng gave their predictions for the game.
BRAD BIERMAN: Now we’re certainly not going to renege on our preseason prediction of a Syracuse upset against Florida State in game three, but this is not likely to be the same FSU team that looked dazed and confused in its opening night loss to Virginia Tech, or the one that trailed FCS Southern Conference member Samford for 55 minutes last week in Tallahassee, before rallying for a 36-26 victory.
If the Orange win the opening coin toss, Dino Babers, please put the football in the hands of Eric Dungey and let him do his magic. Get the ‘Noles down early, preferably by seven points, and then let the crowd do its thing to help the defense clamp down on FSU’s speedy weapons, QB Deondre Francis, RB Cam Akers (“struggling” with 158 yards in two games), and WRs Nyqwan Murray and Tre’ McKitty.
As we wrote in August, this one will be a nail-biter, and Dungey will have to rally the ‘Cuse from a late fourth quarter deficit after the “D” forces a FSU fumble, but ends the day celebrating with his teammates by getting the first win over the Seminoles since 1966, and only the third 3-0 start in 27 seasons. Syracuse 28 – Florida State 24.
WES CHENG: I too wrote a preseason prediction for the Florida State game, though I had Syracuse losing 35-17. I’m not changing my win/loss prediction, but it’s clear that the Seminoles are not the ACC powerhouse they were expected to be in the preseason.
This is especially true after a shocking 24-3 loss to Virginia Tech in the season opener and an uninspired 36-26 win against FCS Samford, in which the ‘Noles needed a second half comeback. Many of the issues have come from a patchwork offensive line, which doesn’t have much depth other than Alec Eberle and Derrick Kelly. That has stymied the FSU rushing attack and they are averaging just 114.0 yards per game on the ground.
But the Orange defensive line hasn’t been a showstopper either, allowing 242 rushing yards to Western Michigan before taking care of business against FCS opponent, Wagner. This is going to come down to the fourth quarter, and I expect to see Florida State’s talent do just enough to edge the Orange. Florida State 35, Syracuse 31.