Orange Watch: Realistically, when will Syracuse football next beat Florida State?

After falling to FSU in two ACC games, including last year in the Dome, SU is three TD underdogs in this year’s road meeting Saturday
After falling to FSU in two ACC games, including 2013 at Tallahassee (above), SU is three TD underdogs in this year’s road meeting Saturday

Item: Following up on the theme of our preseason prediction for game number eight against now No. 15/17 ranked Florida State (6-1, 4-1) coming up Saturday in Tallahassee (12:00 p.m.ET/ ABC), unless the Orange, early three touchdown underdogs to a team that just suffered its first ACC loss in 28 games dating back to the 2012 season (versus N.C. State), can somehow shock the nation and hand the Seminoles a second straight loss for the first time since 2011, then the frustratingly long seven game losing streak (since 1978) against this now annual division rival will continue for yet another season.

The two teams may be among the seven that make up the ACC’s Atlantic Division, but that’s about where the comparisons come to an end for the Syracuse and Florida State football programs, with the Orange seeking to get back to national relevancy and the Top 25 rankings for the first time since 2001 while turning out a sprinkle of NFL players most years, with the Seminoles eyeing the College Football Playoffs each season while turning out large numbers of future pros, in fact 11 FSU players were selected in last spring’s NFL draft.

Since the lone ‘Cuse win in the series, a 37-21 victory in 1966 at Archbold Stadium in which current special assistant to the athletics director, Floyd Little (1964-66), playing in his final home game as an Orangeman, scored three 24 yard touchdown runs finishing with 195 yards to set the school’s all time rushing mark (since broken by five players), it’s been all Seminoles in the seven games played while SU was an independent, in the Big East, and now ACC, with the average margin 38-18.

» Related: Syracuse disappointed, not discouraged, after loss to Pitt

Here’s a look back at the other non-ACC games in the series:

1978-In a season in which quarterback Bill Hurley (1975-77, ’79) was being promoted for the Heisman Trophy (orange ‘Hurley for the Heisman’ towels were handed out beforehand), Seminoles defensive lineman Ron Simmons ended those plans on the first drive of the season at Archbold, tackling Hurley hard and knocking him out with a rib injury. With the SU offense in a funk, FSU, ranked No. 16/17, took charge in the fourth quarter scoring three times to round out a 28-0 rout in front of a crowd of just over 24,000.

1989-Syracuse trailed 20-3 in the third quarter when Ken Hawkins (1989-1991) punted to FSU deep man Terrell Buckley who caught the ball, paused momentarily, and then took off for a 69 yard scamper for a touchdown while posing and preening to the stunned Dome crowd. LeRoy Butler later returned a Bill Scharr (1989) pass for an 88 yard interception return in an eventual 41-10 final.

1991-The Orangemen twice took the lead in this game against the No. 1 ranked ‘Noles, silencing the rain-drenched crowd at Doak Campbell Stadium and stunning the national TV audience watching on ABC by first scoring a touchdown on the opening drive of the game.  Then after FSU made it 7-7, went back up 14-7 on Qadry Ismail’s (1989-1992) 95 yard kickoff return, before FSU scored the final 39 points of the game to win 41-14 and hand Syracuse its first loss of the season after a 4-0 start.

2004-Syracuse had home scheduling problems heading into Paul Pasquloni’s final season, and Florida State assisted greatly by agreeing to play in the Dome to give SU a meager five games at home, with a return game in Tallahassee the following season. In the closest game of the seven SU defeats in this series, the No. 8 Seminoles held off the Orange 17-13 as Leon Washington rushed for 165 yards and two second half TDs for the ‘Noles.

2005-Greg Robinson fared no better than his predecessors in leading Syracuse against No. 6/7 Florida State with his first team as the Orange, donning first-ever white uniform pants, trailed 24-0 at halftime on route to a 38-14 defeat, the final SU touchdown coming late on a 30 yard pass from Perry Patterson (2004-06) to wide receiver Nick Chestnut (2005-07).

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About Brad Bierman 722 Articles
Now in his sixth decade of covering SU sports, Brad was sports director of WSYR radio for eight years into the early 1990s, then wrote the Orange Watch column for The Big Orange/The Juice print publication for 18 years. A Syracuse University graduate, Brad currently runs his own media consulting business in the Philadelphia suburbs. Follow him on Twitter @BradBierman.