Saturday afternoon, Syracuse went on the road and played a supporting role in “The Cam Akers Show”. Akers, the star running back for Florida State, had a field day, rolling up 144 yards and four touchdowns on the ground, as the Seminoles (4-4, 3-3 ACC) routed the Orange (3-5, 0-4), 35-17.
Once again, the SU offense was the main culprit, as they did not accomplish much on offense until the fourth quarter when the ‘Noles defense eased off the gas. Syracuse moved the first down sticks just twice in the first quarter, both by virtue of FSU penalties. The Orange finished the game with 343 yards on offense, but did not put together any sustained drives until the final 18 minutes of play.
The game got off to an auspicious start, as the first two SU possessions netted one first down via penalty. By contrast, Florida State’s first two possessions ended in Akers touchdowns. Josh Black blocked the extra point try on the first kick, but the Orange still were in a 13-0 hole less than seven minutes into the action.
Syracuse’s first threat on offense came when they started a drive late in the first at midfield. A roughing the kicker call on a punt moved the Orange to the Seminole 36 and Andre Szmyt connected on a 50-yard field goal at the end of the next set of downs. The kick came on the first play of the second quarter and chipped the FSU lead down to 13-3.
Two possessions later, SU started in Florida State territory and got a first down before settling for a 46-yard field goal attempt from the right hash. This time, Szmyt’s kick caromed off the upright, keeping the ten-point margin intact with a little over four minutes remaining in the half.
The Seminoles responded with a touchdown drive, adding the two-point conversion to make it 21-3 with 1:35 left on the clock. Syracuse was able to cross midfield, but ran out of time before they could threaten to score.
The Orange tried an onside kick to start the second half, but the ball bounced out of bounds, giving FSU a short field. Five plays later, Akers had his fourth score of the day and the hosts held a 28-3 lead.
Midway through the third quarter, SU’s best threat to that point was stopped on a fourth-and-three inside the Florida State 15. The ‘Noles put the game on ice, grinding out a 16-play drive culminating in another touchdown that made it a 35-3 game with 2:24 left.
Syracuse finally got their offense going, scoring touchdowns on their next two drives. Abdul Adams had a two-yard run to finish the first and Moe Neal had a one-yard score on the latter. Szmyt added extra point kicks to each, bringing the Orange within 35-17 with six minutes to play. The hosts responded by running out the clock on the ensuing drive.