Florida State flattens Syracuse in third straight loss

FSU flattens Syracuse in third straight loss

Syracuse remains winless in the conference
Published: October 27, 2019
Neal Moe Run - Syracuse vs. Florida State - Oct. 26, 2019
Syracuse running back Moe Neal tries to fend off FSU linebacker Amari Gainer during Saturday's loss in Tallahassee.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. —Syracuse’s football program has endured one heck of a week. Not only did they lose their third straight ACC game against Pitt at the Carrier Dome, but they also lost their top nickel corner in sophomore Trill Williams to a lower leg injury. Even worse, redshirt senior tackle Ryan Alexander left the program, according to syracuse.com.

“We don’t react to guys that quit,” Syracuse head coach Dino Babers said in his post-game press conference. “(Alexander) decided to quit before all that happened. He didn’t come talk to me. I haven’t spoken to him … he called his (offensive) line coach and told him.”

It’s upsetting for a coach to lose a game to an interconference rival in their own stadium. It’s even more upsetting to lose two players in the same week. But time moves on, as does the Orange. For Saturday’s game, SU traveled to Tallahassee, Florida, home of ACC rival Florida State Seminoles.

The Seminoles, like the Orange, came into this contest 3-4, losing their last game at home to Boise State. Both Syracuse and FSU were in desperate need of a win in order to keep any semblance of a bowl dream alive — it seemed only one team was desperate enough to actually go out there and play.

Through the first three-quarters of the game, FSU outscored and outpaced Syracuse in nearly every facet of the game.

FSU’s first two drives of the game resulted in back-to-back touchdowns for junior halfback Cam Akers, who scored four of FSU’s five rushing touchdowns on the day, tying a school record and becoming the sixth player ever in school history to do so.

The Clinton, Mississippi native racked up 171 total offensive yards: 144 rushing, one receiving, and 26 passing.

Hamsah Nasirildeen - Syracuse vs. Florida State - Oct. 26, 2019
FSU's Hamsah Nasirildeen wraps up Tommy DeVito for one of six sacks the SU quarterback had on the day.

Babers gave Akers a lot of praise during his post-game press conference, especially with how FSU used him in wildcat packages. “When you got a first-round draft pick and you got 10 guys blocking; that’s it. That is a really, really good formation. I would be very surprised if they don’t continue to use that [wildcat play] throughout the year,” he said.

Syracuse gave up 487 total yards of offense total, 241 of which came from the ground game.

In defending the pass, SU only allowed 246 yards through the air by three different passers. Sophomore defensive backs Andre Cisco & Ifeatu Melifonwu combined for all five of Syracuse’s pass breakups.

As for Syracuse’s offense, their first nine drives of the game resulted in six puts, a converted field goal, a missed field goal and a turnover on downs

It wasn’t until late in the fourth quarter where Syracuse was finally able to garner some offensive traction. On their last two offensive drives, both senior running back Moe Neal and redshirt junior running back Abdul Adams were able to each punch in a rushing touchdown in the game.

Both backs combined for 130 of Syracuse’s 192 total rushing yards on 31 carries (4.2 yards per carry).

Syracuse’s quarterback Tommy DeVito went another week without throwing an interception — but he didn’t score a touchdown either. DeVito put up pedestrian stats on the night, completing just over 60% of his passes for 151 yards while also running for 32 yards on 13 carries.

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Tommy DeVito was 20 for 33 with 151 yards passing on Saturday.

In his post-game presser, DeVito said the team is making a lot of the same mistakes.

“I feel like it’s a lot of mental mistakes, which is what makes the coaches the most upset,” he said. “It’s something that we have to pay more attention to detail to in practice and something that we really have to take to heart during practice.”

Whether it’s DeVito hesitating on when/where to throw the ball, the defense not sticking with their assigned roles, or the offensive line just not holding defenses off from their signal-caller, it’s the same thing every week.

Syracuse will host Boston College next Saturday. The Eagles have one of the strongest rushing attacks in the NCAA, with junior running back A.J. Dillion coming in as the No. 2 leading rusher in the nation. Dillion has 968 rushing yards and 6 rushing touchdowns.

If Syracuse ever hopes to win an ACC game this year, especially against a strong Boston College Eagles team, those “mental mistakes” better get fixed. Soon.