Syracuse v. Florida State (10/2/21) Game Information:
- Teams: Syracuse (3-1) v. FSU (0-4)
- Date: Saturday, October 2
- Game Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
- Venue: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, Fla.
- Network: ACC Network
- Spread: FLORIDA STATE +5.5
- History: The teams last met on Oct. 26, 2019, with the Seminoles knocking off the Orange 35-17 in Tallahassee. FSU owns the series lead, 11-2.
Fearless Prediction: Florida State 24, Syracuse 23
Dino Babers and the Orange have a real opportunity to capitalize on last week’s thrilling win against Liberty when Syracuse visits the Florida State Seminoles on Saturday.
The pessimistic SU fan looks at the Liberty win and thinks, “Sure, Syracuse blew a 14-point lead and got lucky that Hugh Freeze didn’t kick a field goal instead of trying to score on fourth down.”
But Tony White’s 3-3-5 defense has thrived in his time at Syracuse.
The Orange made a goal line stand when Liberty went for the go-ahead touchdown. And they came up even bigger by forcing the game’s only turnover in Liberty territory that resulted in Andre Szmyt’s game-winning field goal.
Make no mistake, Liberty is a good team and that was a good win.
But it means nothing if the Orange don’t show up against the Seminoles. Speaking of…
Life in the Sunshine State hasn’t been easy for Mike Norvell.
Charged with returning Florida State to the elite status the late Bobby Bowden elevated the Seminoles to has proven far more challenging than Norvell probably anticipated.
The ‘Noles dropped their opener in OT to Notre Dame before losing a stunner to FCS Jacksonville State on a last-second Hail Mary. ACC play hasn’t proven to be any easier as new league power Wake Forest waxed FSU, 35-14, while Louisville beat them 31-23 last weekend.
So the Orange finds themselves in a precarious position.
Are the Seminoles an angry, wounded animal looking to make a statement by kicking the stuffing out of their next opponent? Or, are they a defeated bunch content to play out the string during a season that hasn’t gone anything like they hoped?
Either way, Babers has handed the car keys – at least to start – to Garrett Shrader.
The Mississippi State transfer started against Liberty and immediately made like Sean Tucker with 53 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Tucker, meanwhile, did all sorts of Tucker things. The freshman – yes, still a frosh as last season was a freebie – doused the Flames with 169 yards on 32 carries, including a 27-yard touchdown scamper. He also caught two passes for 27 yards.
Blowing holes in Liberty’s D-Line was one thing. It will be quite another to do that to the Seminoles as FSU only allows 3.1 YPC.
On the other side of the ball, Syracuse’s senior-laden defensive line matches up quite well with a Seminole offensive line that has been, well, offensive. Will the Orange’s D, like they often did last season, be able to force a few turnovers that give Syracuse’s powerful ground game some short fields?
As successful as Syracuse was on the ground, Shrader struggled with the passing attack. That will have to change to keep FSU honest as they are sure to stack the box to contain Tucker. Shrader will need to connect on a few long passes to keep the Seminoles honest, and to make life easier for Tucker and Abdul Adams.
Florida State, at 0-4, is desperate for a win. And frankly, they’re too talented to be the Bad News Bears of the ACC.
Syracuse, meanwhile, seems to be standing at a precipice. Their improved offensive line combined with Tucker has, so far, given them a running attack that needs to be reckoned with on a weekly basis. And their defense has emerged as one of the better squads in the ACC.
Will Syracuse break through with what would be a statement win on the road, regardless of FSU’s record, as they look to show that last year’s 1-10 record was the perfect storm of when it rains it pours?
Only if the passing game takes flight.