A quick take on Syracuse’s 33-30 loss to Florida State on Saturday afternoon:
WHAT HAPPENED: Ryan Fitzgerald’s 34-yard field goal as time expired gave Florida State its first win of the 2021 season. FSU took over at their own 21-yard line, and quarterback Jordan Travis immediately scrambled for a 33-yard run. Marlowe Wax could’ve shoved him out of bounds earlier, but wanted to avoid the late hit, allowing Travis to rush another 15 yards. Three plays later, Travis sprung free again for a 25-yard rush, as the officials chose not to flag an obvious offensive holding call, setting up the game-winning field goal. It thwarted a come back attempt from the Orange, which trailed by 10 points at the start of the fourth quarter.
ANALYSIS: Syracuse blew a golden opportunity against an opponent that had lost to an FCS game earlier in the season. SU will likely not be favored the rest of the year, and the road gets immediately harder in its ACC home opener against sudden ACC powerhouse Wake Forest. And though Clemson has had two missteps this season, they are still a vastly superior team in terms of talent, and the Orange will host them the weekend after the Deacons. It’s difficult to see three wins left on the schedule to qualify for a bowl game.
HERO: Garrett Shrader rushed for three touchdowns on the ground and 137 yards, complimented by Sean Tuckers 102 yards on the ground. Still, Shrader struggled with his passing again, completing just 13 of 34 passes for 150 yards.
ZERO: Yes, the officials blew an obvious holding call, and should rightly be exorcised for that. But Syracuse also left plenty of points on the board. The last 30 seconds in the first half were a perfect display of clock mismanagement, the Orange chose to go for it on 4th and goal in the second quarter and came away empty handed, while normally reliable kicker Andre Szmyt missed an extra point that could’ve proven to be the difference.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse returns home to face Wake Forest on Saturday, Sept. 9 at the Carrier Dome. The Demon Deacons knocked off Louisville, 37-34, to improve to 5-0 on the year, and become a favorite to win the Atlantic Division.