Syracuse dominates Florida State, 30-7; SU gets first win over FSU in 52 years

first_imgStanding in the locker room after Syracuse’s 30-7 win over Florida State, Dino Babers reflected on 1966, the last time Syracuse beat Florida State. Floyd Little rushed for 193 yards and three touchdowns in his last game in Archbold Stadium.“The last time it happened the Beatles were hot. The last time it happened the 66 Mustang was the baddest thing on the road,” Babers said before pausing and letting his head down for a moment. “Because I’m telling you now you just put yourself on the map. You took a bunch of non-believers and all the sudden they’ve got a lot to learn.”Similar speeches from Babers were shown after the 2016 win over Virginia Tech and last year’s upset against Clemson. But after the best defensive performance in conference play under Babers, the celebration came for different reasons.In Syracuse’s (3-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast) most lopsided Atlantic Coast Conference victory since 2014, it held FSU (1-2, 0-2) to 62 yards rushing and 240 total yards of offense. That’s more than 200 yards less than SU allowed on average last season and more than 50 percent lower than it’s 2016 average. The Syracuse defense, which has ranked in the bottom quarter of the country each of the last two seasons, tallied four sacks and an interception while allowing one Florida State third-down conversion.The Seminoles had struggled this season, but not like this. In their first two games of the season, against No. 13 Virginia Tech and Samford, FSU eclipsed 300 yards of total of offense. Deondre Francois threw more than 230 in both games.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textIn Syracuse’s opening conference game of 2018, against a team which has won three conference championships in the last seven years, the Orange flipped the narrative.“This performance show’s a lot of growth from the team where we were two years ago and even last year,” Defensive end Kendall Coleman said. “It means everything going forward because this is going to be major in establishing who we are this season.”With just more than a minute remaining in the first half, Coleman rushed off the left side of the line and beat the left tackle inside before collapsing on Deondre Francois’ ankles. Coleman’s sack, his first of two on the day, was a culmination of defensive line pressure throughout the first half.Francois, who completed eight passes for 70 yards in the first half, finished most passing plays on his back. On the second play from scrimmage, Francois was hit as he threw. Chris Slayton smacked Francois from behind and the pass dribbled incomplete.The next series, Florida State set up in an empty backfield, leaving little protection for Francois. Slayton ran in again. Francois let the pass fly and Slayton drove him into the ground.In the second quarter, a short Francois pass proved more costly for Florida State. With FSU still scoreless, defensive back Christopher Fredrick trailed his receiver on a vertical route with safety help above him. Fredrick noted that he’d seen Francois throw the ball in a line drive motion as opposed to lofting it on longer routes. What Fredrick saw on film happened, the ball came in low and behind the receiver and ended up in Fredrick’s, not an FSU player’s hands.“It was pretty visible that he was feeling us,” Coleman said. “Francois felt the pressure and that helped us in the passing game down the field with our coverage.”In years past Syracuse’s defense had been its Achilles heel. In 2017, Syracuse allowed more than 340 yards to Miami, Louisiana State and FSU, all three of which were games Syracuse played within a score deep into the fourth quarter. In Babers first season with SU, Syracuse allowed 454 yards of offense to a Willie Taggart coached South Florida team in a 45-20 SU loss which started SU 1-2 on the year.On Saturday, Taggart’s offense didn’t resemble the Bulls offense of 2016. The first year head coach wanted his team to move fast offensively but never strung enough plays together to do so.Repeated offensive line errors proved costly for FSU. On a third down in the third quarter, with FSU still scoreless, Kingsley Jonathan crashed down on Francois from behind while Chris Slayton sandwiched Francois from his front side.Jonathan ran out of the pile of players and stood alone in the middle of the field around the 30-yard line. He stomped, lurking like a slender man type creature. He paused, stood proud and took in the roars.“It was not trickery,” Babers said. “It was just guys lining up and whooping the guy in front of them.”After the game, Taggart reflected on a 1-2 start in his first season as the FSU head coach. He was asked about a shifting offensive line which has rotated 10 players through three games. People questioned his approach.In the Syracuse locker room, almost exactly two years after the USF loss, Babers and his players celebrated.“I don’t think it was an upset at all,” Senior defensive end Alton Robinson said. “The better team won tonight.” Comments Published on September 15, 2018 at 3:55 pm Contact Josh: [email protected] | @Schafer_44center_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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