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Syracuse vs. Florida State- Game Preview

Syracuse (3-4, 1-2 in ACC) Bio Flash:

Head Coach: Scott Shafer (3rd year, 13-19 record)

Key Players: Punter Riley Dixon, QB Eric Dungey, WR Steve Ishmeal, DE Ron Thompson

Last Year’s Record: 3-9 (1-7 in the ACC)

 

Quick Analysis:

Scott Shafer has done an average job with an average team. The Orange looked promising early in the year at 3-0, but the wheels fell off after a ten point loss to the LSU Fightin’ Leonard Fournettes. They have lost four straight games coming into the game against Florida State, which does not help the ‘Noles cause. Last week, the Seminoles lost in heartbreaking, Iron Bowl-like fashion to Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets had lost the previous five games in a row before knocking off FSU. Syracuse comes into this game on the road however, and got blown out by USF. On offense, the Orange can put up some points, and quarterback Eric Dungey loves to throw ball to wide receiver Steve Ishmeal. Look for Dungey to take a couple deep shots to Ishmeal in this game. On the defensive side of the ball, Syracuse is giving up 398.3 yards per game. The secondary is the weakest point of the defense, so whoever starts at quarterback for the ‘Noles should be productive. The best player on Syracuse is punter Riley Dixon, and he should be playing on Sundays in the near future. Hopefully FSU will get some stops on defense so everyone can appreciate the beauty that is a Riley Dixon punt. ‘Cuse also likes to draw up fakes for Dixon, and he was actually the leading rusher in a game last year versus Notre Dame with 42 rushing yards. The Orange faithful believe Riley Dixon is a Heisman favorite, but jokes aside, he should be at least a finalist for the Ray Guy Award.

4 Things 2 Watch:

1) No Cookin’

Dalvin Cook will not play this week to rest for the Clemson game. In his place Jonathan Vickers and Jacques Patrick should split carries. Normal backup running back Mario Pender is still nursing a collapsed lung, but Vickers has shown promise during garbage time early this year. Patrick is a highly anticipated true freshman, but inexperience has kept him on the sideline so far this year. Expect Vickers to start and get the majority of the carries, but look for Patrick to come in on short yardage plays.

2) QB Injuries?

Last week, Everett Golson took a shot to the head and has been going through concussion protocol ever since. There is mild speculation that he will not play, and that means Junior Sean Maguire will take the reigns. On the other bench, Syracuse starting quarterback Eric Dungey also took a scary shot to the head last week in the Orange’s game against Pitt. He laid motionless for a second, but hopped back up on his feet shortly after. He left the game but returned in the same quarter and finished the game. Dungey should be okay, but as kickoff gets closer Golson’s status looks doubtful.

3) Offensive Freshmen Impact

True Freshmen Josh Sweat and Derwin James have made their impact felt on the defensive side of the ball, and seem to get better each week. On the offensive side of the ball, there has yet to be a freshman to step up. Fans have been anxious to see Coach Jimbo Fisher show off his talented freshman receivers, but injuries have sidelined them thus far in the season. Coach Fisher hinted that they are healthy and could see meaningful minutes. The Syracuse game would be a perfect time to see what they can do, so expect to see some youth on Saturday.

4) Control the Destiny

Many have wrote Florida State off after the Georgia Tech loss, and fans have relinquished to making fun of Miami (because Florida is actually good this year). Even with the troubling loss to the Yellow Jackets, Florida State still controls their own destiny. The College Football Playoffs are out of the picture, but using a realistic approach most fans knew that in preseason. That doesn’t mean Florida State cannot still win the ACC title. Yes, they have to beat a very good Clemson team next week in Death Valley. NC State also poses a threat, but the ‘Noles should be favored and that game is in Doak. The Clemson game next week is the most important game of the season. The Florida game at this point is about bragging rights. Clemson is the team FSU must beat to keep ACC title hopes alive.

Forecast:

While Florida State was bound to get upset eventually, many did not see Georgia Tech as the team to do it. How the ‘Noles come out and play Saturday will tell a lot about where this team is mentally. They should come out angry and ready to move on from the loss last week. While Syracuse does have the tools to pull off the upset, its hard to see Florida State dropping two in a row to teams they’re favored over. The prediction this week is 27-13, with a couple turnovers by both teams. The difference will be Syracuse turning the ball over early, and the Florida State offense overcoming their red zone struggles. The game might be very slow in the second half, but expect Florida State to jump on ‘Cuse early. While the score might not show it, the ‘Noles should win this one with a little breathing room.

Ben Brewton

Writer at Nole Gameday covering football and basketball. FSU alum. Follow me on twitter (@Ben_Brewton) and we can talk sports. On the 8th day, God created college football.



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