Cam Akers breaks out in FSU’s win over `Cuse

Logan Stanford/Icon Sportswire

Florida State (3-5) held on to defeat Syracuse (4-5) 27-24 inside Doak Campbell Stadium. It was the first win in Tallahassee for the Seminoles during the 2017 season, they started 0-3 at home after dropping games to NC State, Miami, and Louisville. FSU has just one home game remaining, a tilt with Delaware State on November 18, prior to the possible rescheduling of UL-Monroe.

It certainly wasn’t a statement win for the `Noles. The Orange racked up 463 yards of offense on the day, amassing 120 more yards than the guys in garnet and gold. FSU was inconsistent offensively outside of three huge plays that went for scores in the first half. They failed to get in the end zone during the final 30 minutes, settling for two field goals.

3 UP

1. Cam Akers

What more can you say about the true freshman? Akers came through with a career day that helped drive Florida State to the victory. He finished with 22 carries for 199 yards and two touchdowns. All three stats were new career highs for Akers.

The former five-star prospect had touchdown runs of 54 and 61 yards, sparking the `Noles on offense. Akers has recorded 127 carries for 695 yards and three scores on the ground in 2017. He’s almost on pace for 1K yards with games against Clemson, Delaware State, Florida, and possibly ULM remaining.

2. Explosive plays

Florida State was mostly silenced on offense outside of three huge plays that went for scores in the first half. True freshman quarterback James Blackman connected on a 51-yard touchdown pass to Nyqwan Murray on the `Noles first drive. It was an impressive throw as Blackman stood in the pocket and delivered while taking a brutal hit. Seriously, I never see a replay on a passing down when he’s not on the ground.

The aforementioned Akers had the other huge plays. He took a handoff from Blackman in the pistol formation before shaking a defender at the line of scrimmage and sprinting up the left side of the field. Akers wouldn’t be touched until he was inside the five but he was still able to get into the end zone for a 54-yard score. He would score again later in the second quarter. Akers took another handoff from the pistol and ran up the left side of the field before cutting back and scoring up the right side. The touchdown was from 63 yards out, a new career long rush for the former five-star prospect.

3. Ricky Aguayo

Sophomore kicker Ricky Aguayo did his job in the second-half when the inconsistencies on offense began to show. He connected on field goal tries from 49 and 38 yards out while also knocking down all three of his extra points.

Aguayo is an impressive 14-17 in 2017. He’s missed only one kick since the Seminoles loss to North Carolina State.


1. Drive Sustainability

The offensive inconsistencies were obvious throughout FSU’s narrow victory over Syracuse. The `Noles had a whopping 15 offensive possessions in this game but only 5 turned into points.

Florida State scored touchdowns on three of their nine possessions in the first half but they also punted five times. The Seminoles would falter even more in the second half. They were limited to six possessions and only scored on two of the drives, where they were forced to settle for field goals. In total, FSU punted a whopping NINE times in this game. Personally, that is unacceptable output from what is supposed to be one of the most talented teams in the country.

Message to Jimbo Fisher, hire a freaking offensive coordinator, your play calls are outdated.

2. Defense

It’s a week by week thing at this point. This defense, one of the most highly touted on paper prior to the start of the 2017 season, is a failure. The only consistent unit among them is the defensive front and look who’s coaching them. Odell Haggins and Brad Lawing, two extremely talented, proven, veteran, coaches.

The problem with the `Noles defense starts at the head of the snake, Charles Kelly. This man has crashed and burned an FSU program that has been built upon stout defenses. He’s awful at putting his players in position to make plays, see the usage of Derwin James in 2017, I could do better in NCAA 14, man. His usage of formations in certain situations is baffling. The third-year defensive coordinator routinely presses on third and long and then plays back on third and short. Those attempted mind games or tricky gimmicks just simply aren’t consistently successful with his system. Kelly’s unit gave up another 463 yards of offense this week to the Orange, including a sweet 314 yards through the air.

The secondary is still having miscommunications, we’re in WEEK TEN. Guess who coaches those defensive backs? That bald guy who’s usually squinting while having to be held back by another grown man. At least I won’t have to see an adult have a babysitter on the sideline next year.

3. The celebration

Did anyone else see this in the locker room after the game? These guys are jumping around and celebrating like they just got selected to the College Football Playoff. Come on, I’m the last guy who wants to down anyone after a victory, but this is a little much.

It’s Syracuse. It’s not even Alabama, Miami, or Louisville. Heck, it’s not even North Carolina State. FSU is 3-5 with their hopes of a bowl game dwindling. I hope they’re ready for what they’ll face in Death Valley this week because I’ll tell you what, it certainly won’t be Syracuse.

Dustin Lewis

Lead writer for NoleGameday. Majoring in English Editing, Writing, and Media at Florida State University. Writer for FSView Sports and Hashtag Basketball.

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