Noles need win against Syracuse to keep Bowl hopes alive

Written by Manuel DeLeon


Tallahassee, FL- With one month remaining in the season, Florida State’s streak of 36 consecutive bowl appearances is in major jeopardy. With only four games left, the ‘Noles (2-5,2-4) find themselves in their version of a playoff; win and get in, or lose and go home. First up are the Syracuse Orange (4-4,2-2) led by head coach Dino Babers. Syracuse looks to get their first road win of the season against Florida State.

After a surprising 35-3 beat down at the hands of Boston College, everything looked out of sorts for Florida State.

“We didn’t play well at all,” said Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher. “It was a game in which we were beaten in in all three phases – offense, defense, special teams, coaching, everything. Coaches and players, we’ve got to do a much better job. And we collectively, as an organization, didn’t fulfill what we needed to do in that game, for sure.”

With former starting quarterback Deondre Francois already done for the year, freshman quarterback James Blackman has filled the role honorably. Now with running back Jacques Patrick dealing with injuries and potentially out for the year, the ‘Noles continue to get younger at key positions. Freshman running back Cam Akers now has a backfield all to himself.

You can look at it as the glass half empty, or the glass half full, depending on your outlook on life. You lose knowledge and understanding of the scheme from the older players, but you gain precious game-time experience for the younger players.

“It not just about their abilities, it’s what they know and the game experiences they go through,” said Fisher

The ‘Noles are moving defensive back Ermon Lane back to wide receiver and will get freshman wide receiver D.J. Matthews more involved in the game plan. Florida State is looking to build depth as the wide receiver group has been decimated by injuries. The defensive unit will also see some fresh faces.

“[Joshua]Kaindoh has played really well” said Fisher. “As you saw, he had a big tackle and strip in the Louisville game. Warner has been on special teams and now evolving into the defensive scheme and playing. Stanford Samuels is doing a great job. [Defensive tackle] Marvin Wilson is in that group in there playing. All those guys are making a significant difference and they are going to have to. You have to keep building that depth because you want it for the future and they deserve to play because they have practiced well.”

Defensively, the Seminoles must prepare for a fast-paced Syracuse offense. The Orange lead the nation in plays per game. Over their last three outings, ‘Cuse has run over 93 plays per game. Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey knows exactly what Babers wants from him and run the offense effectively. The junior not only does it with his arm, he can do it with his legs. He leads the Orange in rushing with 486 yards and eight touchdowns.

“Talk about a competitor now, you’re talking about a guy who can really play, makes the difference for them and makes them go. He’s a heck of a football player, heck of a leader.” Said Fisher of the Syracuse quarterback.

With a 4-4 record, Dino Baber has the Orange trending in the right direction.

“Dino has always done a great job,” Fisher said. “He’s a great guy and a really good football coach. He’s done heck of a job.”

Despite a worse overall record, the ‘Noles come in as the slight favorite. The ‘Noles season may have went up in flames, but you don’t fold under pressure, you attack things head on.

In the words of Jimbo Fisher, “you go fight the fire.”

Kickoff is scheduled for 12 pm EST inside Doak Campbell Stadium.

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