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Syracuse football: Week 11 grades vs Florida State

The words “not great” come to mind.

Florida State v Syracuse Photo by Isaiah Vazquez/Getty Images

Sometimes, we need a reminder that this Syracuse team is bowl eligible.

It can be easy to forget after that game.

The Syracuse Orange didn’t look particularly competitive against the Florida State Seminoles as the Orange couldn’t send off the seniors happy. A 38-3 loss marks the fourth straight defeat for Syracuse this season as the Orange continue to tread through the toughest part of the schedule.

Here’s our grades for this week:

Quarterbacks: F

Honestly, I don’t think anyone wants to see a below 100% Garrett Shrader on the field. The Syracuse coaching staff can only do so much to help him. Shrader continued to look limited because of injury. As such, he missed throws that he would have made earlier in the season and didn’t show his trademark scrambles on broken plays. Would you rather have a below 100% Shrader or someone else? At this point, I think we’re ready for someone else.

Florida State v Syracuse Photo by Isaiah Vazquez/Getty Images

Running Backs: C

That wasn’t the worst game from Sean Tucker. He broke off a couple of good runs that went for more than 5 yards and was once again limited by the offensive line. It helped that Florida State has a similar weakness to Syracuse in the run defense but at the same time Tucker isn’t going to do much with the protection he currently has. Throw in the penalties and his numbers look pedestrian when they could look much better. LeQuint Allen looked decent during the last drive for Syracuse as well.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: F

At this point of the season, it cannot just be the quarterback’s fault that the ball isn’t getting thrown quickly after the snap. Route running has been an issue for a couple of seasons, and unfortunately it seems like that hasn’t been solved yet. Whether your quarterback is injured or a backup, the others need to step up and help. The wideouts haven’t done that.

Offensive Line: F

I didn’t want to start contemplating this, and it’s one of the few coaching gripes that I have this season. How much of the offensive line decline do we credit to Mike Schmidt? This was supposed to be a better unit with all the returners and apart from Kalan Ellis missing a couple of quarters, the line has stayed healthy for the most part. I get the defenses Syracuse are facing at this point of the season are much better, but at the same time the quick pocket collapses, lack of push and holes for Tucker and the penalties are not good.

Defensive Line: F

I get it, the rushing attacks that Syracuse is facing are really good, especially over the past four weeks. But the buck has to start somewhere, and it’s far too easy for opposing running backs to get past the trenches and into the second level. Is it Syracuse’s lack of size up front that’s hurting the Orange? If some, something’s got to be done about that this offseason.

Florida State v Syracuse Photo by Isaiah Vazquez/Getty Images

Linebackers: C

Mikel Jones and Marlowe Wax are doing everything they can to keep the defense afloat, especially against a good offensive team that can both run and pass the ball. However, all the linebackers are still also getting dragged along by rushers at times. Now part of that is because rushers aren’t getting touched and have some much downfield momentum once they get to the linebackers. But the linebacking corp as a whole can do a bit more to stop rushers from getting extra yards after first contact.

Defensive Backs: D

This is one of the first games that we saw from the cornerbacks where an opposing team had the athleticism to beat the backups that were manning the sidelines. As such, we saw a ton of shedded tackles and jukes that got receivers extra yards. The middle wasn’t tested as much because the safeties continue to hold down the fort over the middle. But the backup corners were targeted with great effect to keep Syracuse’s defense guessing.

Special Teams: C-

Von Marburg’s punts looked worse than they did mainly due to Syracuse’s horrid starting field position throughout most of the game. What also didn’t help matters is that downfield tackling on coverage is continuing to regress. Either Von Marburg needs to get more air on his punts to allow the coverage to get downfield or the tackling needs to stop the returners much quicker.