Opponent preview: What to know about Florida State

first_imgIn the midst of its second two-game slide of the season, Syracuse (3-4, 0-3 Atlantic Coast) travels to Doak Campbell Stadium on Saturday to play Florida State (3-4, 2-3 ACC). The Orange are winless in five trips to Tallahassee, with their last contest there a 27-24 nail-biter in 2017. Both teams come into Saturday’s contest having lost two straight games, although the Seminoles’ losses came against two of the top teams in the ACC in Clemson and Wake Forest.Here’s a look at Florida State before it kicks off with Syracuse:All-time series: FSU leads, 10-2Gambling odds: As of Friday afternoon, Florida State is an 11-point favorite and the game total is 59.The last time they met: Last year SU took down the Seminoles for the first time since 1966. In that game, Floyd Little led the Orange to a win in Archbold Stadium. Last season, Syracuse led just 6-0 at halftime but then-redshirt freshman Tommy DeVito saw extended playing time for the first time in his career and led SU to three second-half touchdowns to ultimately defeat Florida State, 30-7. Aside from running for a three-yard touchdown in the third quarter, DeVito also threw a touchdown to Ravian Pierce from the same distance. After defeating Western Michigan and Wagner in the first two games of the 2018 season, Syracuse’s victory over the Seminoles served as its first statement victory of the 10-win campaign. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Florida State report: The Seminoles have been largely mediocre this year, ranking near or below the middle of the pack in most team statistics. They rank ninth in the ACC with an average of 28.6 points per game but are even worse defensively, allowing 30.7 points per game — second-worst in the conference. The heartbeat of FSU’s offense is Cam Akers, its starting running back. The junior has rushed for over 100 yards on four separate occasions this season, including last week against Wake Forest when he combined for 199 yards and two touchdowns from scrimmage. Akers ranks 12th in the country in rushing yards (773) and leads the ACC in touchdowns. Quarterback James Blackman missed some time this season with a knee injury and was replaced by Wisconsin transfer Alex Hornibrook, but Blackman is back healthy and under center for the Seminoles.Defensive tackle Marvin Wilson leads the way defensively for FSU, ranking third on the team in tackles, second in tackles for loss and second in sacks this season. While he’s had a successful season individually, the Seminoles have struggled defensively as a unit. Aside from allowing the second-most points per game in the ACC, they’re also among the worst in sacks, penalties and yards allowed. How Syracuse beats Florida State: Do what it did last year and stop Akers. The back accumulated just 60 yards from scrimmage against the Orange last season, part of a dominant defensive effort by SU in which it held the Seminoles to 240 yards of offense and gave FSU quarterback Deondre Francois fits in the backfield all day. Containing Akers will certainly be the foremost priority for Syracuse.But perhaps more important for the Orange is the play of its offense. If Syracuse wants to beat Florida State, it’ll have to put points on the board and find some consistency offensively, something it’s struggled to do all season. Even against an underperforming Seminoles defense, that’ll be difficult for an SU squad whose quarterbacks are both banged up and offensive line has been amongst the worst in the country. But if the offense can get going and start producing with any semblance of consistency, it bodes well for not only Syracuse’s chances of taking down FSU but the remainder of the season.Stat to know: 17 — games since SU last held a power five team to single-digit scoringIt’s been 405 days since Syracuse defeated the Seminoles last season, the last time the Orange held a power-five opponent to fewer than 10 points. SU has also yet to defeat a power-five team since its Camping World Bowl victory over West Virginia 10 months ago. It’s certainly been one of the stronger parts of the team this year, but even the Orange defense has taken a number of steps back since its peak last season. Player to watch: Cam Akers, running back, No. 3Akers is one of the best running backs in the country and has added to his repertoire this season, having caught three touchdowns thus far. He’s already set career-highs in receiving touchdown and yards, and is on pace to nearly double his previous career-high in catches. Fresh off one of the best games of his career, Akers figures to give SU fits all day. Comments Published on October 25, 2019 at 10:19 pm Contact Eric: [email protected] | @esblack34 Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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