We were cautiously optimistic all week about this game, but we never imagined it would play out like this. The Syracuse Orange are 3-0 (1-0 in the ACC) after beating the Florida State Seminoles, 30-7 at the Carrier Dome on Saturday.
Eric Dungey started the game for SU, but suffered an elbow injury on the first drive. He took additional hits thereafter, before a hit to the head had him on the sideline in the second quarter. From there, it was Tommy DeVito’s show and the young quarterback showed himself a capable replacement.
DeVito was 11-of-16 for 144 yards and a touchdown, plus he ran for another score. Syracuse threw for 219 yards on the game.
But it was really the rushing attack that carried the weight of the offense. Moe Neal had 19 carries for 76 yards, and Jarveon Howard had five for 55. Dontae Strickland had 13 carries for 42 yards and a late touchdown to get SU to 30 points on the day.
Strickland also got involved in the passing game, with a nice 29-yard grab. Jamal Custis was the team’s leading receiver with four catches for 56 yards and Ravian Pierce had three for 34 yards and a score. Seven different players caught passes for Syracuse on the day.
The real MVP was the defense, however. Florida State had just 11 first downs in the game, and fewer than 250 total yards. Their lone touchdown was in the latter half of the fourth quarter. SU forced one turnover on the game, courtesy of Chris Fredrick. Kielan Whitner led the team 11 tackles, while Evan Foster had 10. The front four generated a TON of pressure throughout the game, too. Kendall Coleman had two sacks, and Kingsley Johnathan and Alton Robinson each picked up one while getting after Deondre Francois all afternoon.
FSU was also just 1-for-14 on third down and heavily penalized (11 for 90). Willie Taggart is likely to get the offense moving soon. But for now, they continue the early struggles they exhibited against Virginia Tech.
Syracuse faces UConn at home next week. More recaps to come. WE ARE 3-0 AND JUST BEAT FLORIDA STATE.