Right before the close of the first half, the Syracuse Orange were down 21-7 and driving for a score. For some reason, Scott Shafer called timeout and stopped the clock with just over a minute left. The Orange go on to score a touchdown but left 56 seconds on the clock. He might as well have just handed the Florida State Seminoles another touchdown right then and there. Instead of taking momentum into the locker room, FSU took advantage of a bad squib kick and drove down the field lightning-fast to score and take a 14-point lead into the half. The Orange never regained momentum or recovered and FSU cruised to a 45-21 victory.
When given a chance, Eric Dungey, Dontae Strickland, George Morris II and Brisly Estime were able to create things but the passing game was shut down as expected. The SU defense had very few answers for Sean Maguire, Jacques Patrick and Travis Rudolph, all of whom put up career-best numbers. It didn't matter than Dalvin Cook and Everett Golson were out, FSU simply had too much talent and the Orange made too many mistakes to have a chance.
Once again, curious game-management decisions overshadowed decent play from Orange players. Shafer has to answer for that timeout before the half as well as why he keeps telling his kickers to squib kick when we all know that's a terrible idea. The secondary continues to be a tire fire as well. Not sure what to do about that at this point.
Very few people expected SU to win this game but there were a lot of expectation on both sides that the Orange would be able to hang with the Noles, maybe even make it a game. That wasn't the case. Now the Orange have lost five in a row and head to Louisville where the Cards look beatable but Syracuse has yet to put together a complete performance on the road this year. With Clemson looming after that, expect that Shafer chatter to only get louder, whether you like it or not.
We'll have a longer recap soon but in the meantime share your initial thoughts below.