Mistake after mistake has seemingly piled up for both teams, though the penalty advantage belongs to FSU. The ‘Noles have committed nine fouls for 76 yards, while Syracuse has six for 30. Florida State’s Deondre Francois also threw an interception to SU’s Chris Fredrick — the game’s lone turnover so far.
After everyone picked a shootout, we’ve seen a defensive battle this afternoon at the Carrier Dome. The Orange’s scores have both been off of Andre Szmyt field goals (he also missed another try). FSU has only been to the red zone once, at the end of the half before time expired.
For Syracuse, the defense has shown up in a big way, bringing a ton of pressure against Florida State’s porous offensive line and getting hits on Francois. The Seminoles have just four first downs on the game, plus 110 total yards (70 through the air). They’re also 0-for-7 on third down. SU’s Kendall Coleman is the only Orange player to log a sack so far, while Chris Slayton has two QB hurries and Alton Robinson has one.
Evan Foster leads Syracuse in tackles with six, while Kielan Whitner has five so far.
Burying the lede slightly, Eric Dungey is a bit banged up in this one and has been since the opening drive, when he winced and grabbed at his elbow after a throw. Since then, he’s taken several hits and his throwing motion’s looked a bit off. He was in the medical tent late in the first half, as Tommy DeVito led the team to the one-yard line on the strength of a nice sideline grab by Jamal Custis.
When Dungey was in the game, however, he was 7-of-15 for 75 yards. Dontae Strickland owns the longest reception of the day at 29 yards. Devin Butler has two catches (for 23) and Custis has three for 25. Sean Riley’s caught two passes for 14 yards as well.
Despite some amount of passing success early — especially with screens — SU has abandoned the downfield ball in favor of a whole lot of running. The Orange have 29 carries as a team, though no rusher is averaging over four yards per carry. Moe Neal has 13 runs for 43 yards, and Dungey has nine for 49 (largely based on one 33-yard pick-up). Strickland has just 10 yards on the ground.
You like the see the ground game when it’s working, but Dino Babers and Mike Lynch’s play-calling has been entirely dedicated to it, almost to a fault. Two deep drives into FSU territory leaned only on the run inside the 10. SU’s final drive of the half was stopped with three straight runs from the one-yard line (all stuffed).
Syracuse is in the lead and out-playing Florida State, but they’ll need to start putting points on the board if they have a shot to finish off a win — no matter how ugly it may be. The Orange receive the ball at the half. We’ll be here for whatever excruciating conclusion (win or lose) awaits us...