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Game Preview: Syracuse vs Florida State

Syracuse (4-6) Bio Flash:

Head Coach: Dino Babers

Last Year’s Record: 4-8, 2-6 in ACC

Key Players: WR Amba Etta-Tawo, QB Eric Dungey, WR Alvin Cornelious, DE Chris Slayton

Game Introduction:

The Syracuse Orange are looking for answers after losing their second game in a row to NC State. They haven’t been able to find a rhythm on either side of the ball since starting quarterback Eric Dungey went down with an injury two weeks ago. Florida State, meanwhile, looks more confident after a blow out win against Boston College last Friday. This game kicks off Saturday at 3:30 PM at the Carrier Dome on ABC.

Headlines:

Dalvin Cook might have a field day

Simply put, Syracuse’s rush defense is not good. They rank 86th nationally in total rush defense and are giving up an average of 197.3 yards per game. They also have allowed 25 rushing touchdowns while giving up 4.79 yards per rush. Dalvin Cook is averaging 5.8 yards per carry and has 13 touchdowns on the year. The Walter Camp Award finalist should be able to find a lot of room to run come Saturday.

Syracuse to likely start backup QB

The latest on Syracuse QB Eric Dungey’s injury is that he was seeking a second opinion. He injured his head/shoulder area against Clemson two weeks ago. Dungey was responsible for Cuse’s 321.9 passing yards per game, good for 12th in the country. The run game just hasn’t been there for Syracuse this year, but that was to be expected in first year head coach Dino Baber’s air raid system. The backup quarterback for the Orange is Zack Mahoney, and he has very limited experience this year. This could spell trouble for Cuse if they can’t find their offensive groove without Dungey starting.

Burning Questions:

Is Deondre Francois healthy?

Francois left Friday’s game against Boston College in the third quarter with a shoulder contusion and did not return. It appears Francois was a full participant at practice all week and he is set to start. But he has taken hit after hit this year. FSU can’t afford for him to get hurt and stall his development this spring. 2017 is an important year for Florida State as far as contending for a national title goes.  Backup QB Sean Maguire had a great game, and would be more than serviceable moving forward. The Florida game would be an important one for Francois to play, but Maguire can more than handle Syracuse. It’s obvious that head coach Jimbo Fisher wants Francois to build chemistry with the young receivers, but if Francois isn’t 100% it may be a good idea to be cautious moving forward.

Should Logan Tyler start kicking long range field goals?

Florida State was up 35-0 early in the third quarter when a drive stalled at the FSU 36. Instead of sending out usual place kicker Ricky Aguayo, coach Fisher called on usual punter Logan Tyler to take the kick. And he absolutely drilled his first career field goal attempt from 53 yards. We all know how powerful Logan Tyler’s leg is, he displays that every time he kicks off. Ricky Aguayo is 0/1 on the year from 50+ yards and has a long of 47 yards. Tyler might just become the ‘Noles new long range field goal kicker.

Forecast:

This looks like another walk in the park for Florida State. Syracuse is without their starting quarterback, and boasts one of the worst run defenses in the country. This plays into Florida State’s strengths, and this one could get ugly fast. I think Dalvin Cook has a big game and the ‘Noles cruise to an easy 48-17 win. Should be a nice tune-up game before Florida State takes on the Gators.

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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