No flag, and no win, for Syracuse against FSU

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Oct 2, 2021; Tallahassee, Florida, USA; Syracuse Orange wide receiver Courtney Jackson (85) is tackled during the first quarter against the Florida State Seminoles at Doak S. Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

Syracuse lost on a field goal as time expired in a 33-30 loss to Florida State on Saturday. Here are some quick hits from the game:

  • Still technically a freshman, Sean Tucker is on pace to easily become the leading freshman rusher in Syracuse history. Tucker now has 638 yards in five games, which puts him third among freshman at SU, 75 yards behind Delone Carter in second place with Joe Morris atop the list with 1,001 yards.

  • Garrett Shrader looked more comfortable throwing the ball in his second start, including on boot action rolling to his right side. He completed several passes while on the move, finishing 13-of-23 for 150 yards, and also had to be accounted for as a running threat.
  • Florida State showed from the beginning that they were keying on both Tucker and Shrader in the ground game, challenging the Orange to pass the ball. SU was only able to gain 16 yards on 14 carries through the middle of the second quarter with Shrader throwing just four passes on that time. Shrader completed an 11-yard pass to Sharod Johnson, then went off on his 55-yard touchdown run, changing the complexion of the game. The Orange then marched 60 yards in five plays, mixing run and pass to open things up for the rest of the game.
  • It will still be a challenge for Syracuse the rest of the season to have an offense that works well in both facets. Future opponents will do the same thing as the Seminoles, taking away the ground attack until SU can force them to respect the passing game.
  • This game will go into the memories of Syracuse fans as “what could have been”. The Orange went for it on fourth-and-two in the first quarter instead of attempting a 44-yard field goal while down 3-0 and failed to convert. Andre Szmyt missed an extra point following the first Orange touchdown. The officiating was its own story with curious replay decisions and an uncalled holding infraction against FSU that set up their winning field goal.
  • Clock management was terrible on the final SU drive of the first half. After a Seminole touchdown gave them a 16-13 lead, Trebor Pena returned the ensuing kickoff to the Orange 34 and SU had 30 seconds and a pair of time outs to work with. Shrader connected with Courtney Jackson on a 26-yard pass to the Seminole 40, but the team opted not to call a time out, allowing several precious seconds to leak off the clock while the team hurried to the ball, got the play call, then set for the next play, an incomplete pass. Dino Babers then called one of his time outs prior to the next snap, but the Orange threw two more incompletions. Faced with the choice of heaving the ball to the end zone or a 58-yard field goal attempt, Babers opted for the former, which was picked off in a crowd.

» Related: A look at two Syracuse nominees to the Pro Football Hall of Fame

  • #24 Wake Forest will travel to Syracuse next Saturday, bringing their pristine 5-0 record, including a 3-0 ACC mark, with them. The Demon Deacons have scored at least 35 points in every game this season, including Saturday’s 37-34 home win over Louisville.
  • Sam Hartman has thrown for 1,285 yards with 11 touchdowns and just two interceptions and added two more scores on the ground this season for Wake. Three different wide receivers have between 19 and 22 receptions on the season and have combined for eight scores. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. and an airing on ESPN2.

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About Jim Stechschulte 725 Articles
A 1996 graduate of Syracuse University, Jim has reported on Syracuse sports for the Syracuse University Alumni Club of Southern California on nearly a decade, where he currently resides. He has also written a fantasy basketball column published by NBA.com. Follow him on Twitter @DSafetyGuy.