FSU survives against Syracuse for first home win of season as Cam Akers shines

Written by Manuel DeLeon
Tallahassee, FL – When people count you out, it’s human nature to want to prove the doubters wrong. With bowl eligibility hanging in the balance, Florida State had much show to the nation, but more importantly to themselves. Welcoming Syracuse to Tallahassee, the Noles made slight work of the Orange 27-24.

The fireworks started early for the ‘Noles. One the first drive of the game Derwin James picked off Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey setting the ‘Noles up with excellent field position. Like a shark smelling blood in the water, Florida State struck quickly. On their opening drive, quarterback James Blackman found a streaking Nyqwan Murray for 51-yard touchdown pass. The touchdown would be the only points scored in the opening period.

“If you don’t have chunk plays you’re not going to be a great offense.” Said Fisher. “You have to hit chunk plays and finish in big areas, and they did. That’s the key.”

Florida State wasted no time going up 14-0. After a Syracuse punt put the ‘Noles at their 46-yard line, running back Cam Akers took the handoff around the left side, on the very next play, and raced 54 yards for the score.

Syracuse finally found the end zone after Dungey found Jamal Custis for a 47 yards touchdown pass. A busted coverage allowed the receiver to walk into the end zone.

On Florida State’s next drive, Akers made his presence known once again. Zigging and zagging through the Orange defense, the freshman found the end zone, this time from 63 yards out.

Down 21-7 late in the second quarter, Dungey found big play receiver Steve Ishmael behind the Seminole defense for a 34-yard touchdown pass. Making the score 21-14 at halftime.

Despite the lead heading into the locker room, Florida State had to rely heavily on the big play. The ‘Noles were 0-5 on third down at the half, and gave up three sacks. Huge plays are great entertainment, but the ability to sustain drives consistently can demoralize a team, especially with a wrecking ball in Akers in the backfield.

Fisher praised his freshman running back saying “ [Akers] He ran the ball extremely well…he finished runs; he hit the homerun. He had an outstanding day. I’m really proud of him.”

The freshman running back tallied 159 rushing yards in the first half alone. With both his, touchdown runs, and Murray’s 51 yard touchdown reception, the ‘Noles scored three offensive touchdowns over 50 yards for the first time since 1986.

Coming out of the locker room, both teams tightened up making the necessary adjustments. After gaining 159 yards in the first-half Cam Akers was held to just 32 yards rushing in the third quarter.

Keeping it close, the Orange pulled within four points after a Cole Murphy 42-yard field goal made it 17-21 Florida State. Ricky Aguayo, not to be outdone, banged through a 49 yarder bringing the Seminole lead back to seven 24-17.

The Seminole defense was able to corral this high octane offense of Syracuse. The defensive line gave coach Dino Barbers fits all day as the ‘Noles notched three sacks and six tackles for loss.

Aguayo added another field goal early on in the fourth quarter expanding the ‘Nole lead to 27-17. Getting the ball with just under seven minutes to go in the game, Dungey drove the Orange down the field in 14 plays capped by a three-yard touchdown run by the quarterback pulling the Orange within three at 27-24.

The ‘Noles failed to run the clock out on their last drive and gave Syracuse new life. Sustaining drives was an uphill battle all game for the ‘Noles as the finished just 1 of 13 on third down.

With one final shot to get back into the game, Dungey positioned his team for the tying field goal. Cole Murphy’s attempt though, sailed wide right at the end of regulation keeping Florida State’s bowl game aspirations alive.

“Great win, great momentum. It feels good you know, to get a win around here. First win at home it feels good.” Said Derwin James about their first home victory of the season.

Next, the ‘Noles travel to South Carolina to take on the Clemson Tigers November 11th. Kickoff is TBD.

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