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4 posts from November 16, 2013

November 16, 2013

Rapid Reaction: FSU 59 Syracuse 3


This game was over at halftime, but cruelly -- at least for Syracuse -- it had to go another 30 minutes. And the Seminoles didn't really cut the Orange much slack in the second half either.

Despite holding the ball for over 22 minutes longer than Florida State did, Syracuse's offense couldn't manage anything against the Seminoles first team defense and had to scratch, claw and fight just to make a meticulous 19-play drive agaisnt FSU's reserves. Even then, it took all 19 plays (and over 10 minutes) to go 66 yards just for the field goal. 

This one was all Florida State.

Jameis Winston did not play a single snap in the second half. His day finished 19/21 for 277 yards and two scores, he watched the third and fourth quarters from the sideline -- not far from Charlie Ward whom Winston passed for third all-time on FSU's single season passing TD list.

Sean Maguire came on and played with the first team for most of the third quarter, throwing his first career touchdown pass to Nick O'Leary in the process.

A little later Chris Casher added a touchdown after stripping the ball straight from Syracuse QB Terrel Hunt's hands. Then Dan Hicks hauled in his first career interception on the ensuing Syracuse possesion. It was 59-0 at the end of the third quarter when Syracuse was already six plays into its "death-by-1000-cuts," 10-minute field goal drive. 

Offensively, FSU rolled up over 500 yards of total offense including 225 on the ground. FSU's first team offense was blowing the Syracuse defensive line off the ball almost all game and the Seminole backs had plenty of room to run. Levonte Whitfield set the tone for the ground game on his second career carry when he went 74 yards for the score to open FSU's second possession. James Wilder also added two touchdowns and moved up to 10th all-time at FSU in career rushing TD's, while Devonta Freeman scored one himself to move up to fifth.

Kenny Shaw lead the way for the receivers with seven receptions for 99 yards, Kelvin Benjamin and Rashad Greene also caught touchdowns. 

More than stats and numbers though, Syracuse just didn't look like they belonged on the same field as Florida State for most of this game. Whether it was Kelvin Benjamin going up over an a defensive back to haul in an absolutely unfair six-yard touchdown in the second quarter or any number of Seminole defenders laying wood to Syracuse ball-carriers, the difference in physicality and athleticism was impossible to miss.

Credit Jimbo Fisher and his staff -- once again -- for keeping the team focused. It would've been understandable is the Seminoles came out a little bit flat. Unfortunately for the Orange that couldn't have been further from what actually happened. The Seminoles played angry at times on Saturday. Not in an out-of-control or malicious sort of way, but that same edge that FSU has played with -- when at their best -- all season was on display through most of the afternoon on Saturday.

Those looking for Florida State to falter came away disappointed. This Seminoles team continues to prove time and time again that they are for real.

Before the game kicked off Florida State honored their 1993 National Championship team. It was the 20th anniversary of the school's first national title. 

And with the way this year's team is playing, in 20 years they might be reuniting on Bobby Bowden field in much the same way.

Statistical Leaders:

Passing: Jameis Winston (19/21, 277, TD)
Rushing: Karlos Williams (4-78)
Receiving: Kenny Shaw (7-99)


For all the latest Florida State news and updates, follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

Halftime: FSU 38 Syracuse 0


It has been all Florida State so far today, they are leading Syracuse 38-0. 

If there were any concerns about the way that the Seminoles would come out and play in this one -- whether or not they were going to be able to block the distractions and focus -- those concerns were answered right off the bat.

Florida State drove the ball down the field on their opening possession and scored a touchdown, forced a three and out, hit on a 74-yard touchdown run and just a little over four minutes into the game the Orange we already trailing by two scores. FSU hasn't looked back yet, either. 

It's been all about winning at the point of attack for Florida State so far though, the Seminoles have controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and have dictated the tempo all afternoon.

Defensively Florida State has held Syracuse to just 68 total yards. The Orange came into game averaging 200+ rushing yards per game, they are currently at five for the day. Tim Jernigan has played on the other side of the line of scrimmage for most of the first half.

On offense Jameis Winston hasn't had to worry about pressure much at all today. FSU's redshirt freshman QB has been hurried a few times today and has taken a few sacks, but he has also had ample time to pick apart the Orange secondary on most of his dropbacks. He's been sharp too, going 19/21 for 277 yards and two touchdowns. 

Winston has now thrown for 28 touchdown passes, the third most of any player in a single season in FSU history -- behind only Chris Weinke and Danny Kanell. Winston passed Charlie Ward -- who is in attendance today celebrating the 20th anniversary of the '93 National Championship team -- to move up to third on the list.

Overall the Seminoles won the yardage battle in the first half 374-68. FSU is averaging 11.7 yards -- more than a first down -- per play. Syracuse is averaging just 2.3 yards per snap.

Fans got a chance to see Kermit Whitfield's speed early in this one. The true freshman scored on a 74-yard run play in which he took the ball cut back across the field and outran the entire Orange defense. Jameis Winston made an impressive block 40 yards downfield but it may not have even been necessary given how much separation Whitfield was already opening on the defender.

By the point Whitfield crossed the goal-line with 10:41 left in the first quarter and Syracuse already down 13 points, there was little doubt how this one was going to go. 

The Orange didn't force a third down until midway through the second quarter when they were already down 35-0. They didn't force a punt until the 29-minute mark in the first half. FSU hasn't been challenged in this one at all.

Fans are going to get a good look at Sean Maguire in the second half, this one is over.

Statistical Leaders:

Passing: Jameis Winston (19/21, 277, 2TD)
Receiving: Kenny Shaw (6-99)
Rushing: Kermit Whitfield (1-74, TD)


For all the latest Flordia State news and updates, follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

Pregame: Syracuse at FSU


It's almost time to kick off here in Tallahassee. Florida State's 1993 National Championship team is about to celebrate it's 20t anniversary and then the Seminoles and Orange will clash.

It's been a tumultuous week for the Seminoles. FSU's season got rocked in a number of ways on Wednesday afternoon and very quickly today's game against Syracuse became the last thing on everyone's mind. FSU has been sharp all season but this game will test their focus and resolve in a new way.

If FSU is on its game they should handle their business -- they are 38 1/2 point favorites. If they are not, this game could wind up being close.

Here's your pregame capsule:

A Good Week of Prep Turns to Distractions [From Print]
Previewing the Opponent: Syracuse Orange
Five Things to Watch For
Injury Report

More Coverage:

Seminoles Playing for Payton
Kiper Discusses Trio of Seminoles
Jimbo Fisher Dishes on FSU Coaching Job


For all the latest Florida State news and updates, follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

Five Things to Watch For: Syracuse at FSU


Here are five things to watch for when FSU and Syracuse play this afternoon.

1.) Focus, Focus, Focus

This is the hardest week that FSU will have had all season in terms of eliminating clutter and trying to focus on the task at hand. Since early morning Wednesday the storylines coming out of Florida State have had nothing to do with football -- at least not in an X's and O's sense. It's easy to forget that these are student athletes, young men between the ages of 18-22. Things like this do affect people and if Florida State's players weren't in the right mindset it could show up on the field. 

For what it's worth, Jimbo Fisher thinks that won't be a problem. On Thursday he said this is an exceptionally tight knit group that has rallied around one another this week. 

“You always talk about that," said Fisher. "We have no problems expressing our feelings for each other.  I love our players, they love each other.  There is nothing wrong with saying that and we say it all of the time.  I think it’s very important.”

2.) Take Your Pick

Syracuse has an offense that would prefer to run the ball today, control the clock and shrink the number of possessions. That's largely because rushing is their strength and also because they've thrown 15 picks as a team this season and are facing a Florida State secondary that leads the nation in interceptions. If Syracuse can establish the run and use it to set up the pass they will have a much better shot today than if the Seminoles can stop their run, build a lead and force them to pass. 

3.) Can Syracuse take advantage of single coverage?

If Syracuse is successful establishing the run in the early going they also have to show they can exploit single coverage situations when they get them. If FSU can confidently load the box on run downs and still defend the pass, they will have very little problem completely shutting down the Orange offense. Ultimately the Seminoles want to make Syracuse one-dimensional and force them to pass. They can't do that until they build a lead though. But if Syracuse can't show enough balance to make FSU respect the pass early in order to loosen the box and help the Orange continue to establish the run -- they'll be one-dimensional very quickly.

4.) Mr. Winston

Jameis Winston has not been rattled all year, but this has been a very different week for him. His personal life is in flux now. He's had all kinds of allegations made against him, his campus is abuzz and for the first time in his career his name has been in the headlines for the wrong reasons -- fairly or unfairly. 

How does he handle this?

Jimbo Fisher said he took all the first team reps this week -- as per usual -- and was very sharp. It's possible he looks flat and has a mediocre day. But given his history of rising to the occasion, I also wouldn't put it past him to have a career day.

5.) The 1993 FSU Team Returns to Doak

Lost in all the commotion this week is the fact that FSU will be honoring their first national championship. This is the 20th anniversary and all of the legends -- from Charlie Ward to Derrick Brooks to Warrick Dunn -- are in town to celebrate. Even Bobby Bowden will be in the house today. The '93 team featured FSU's first Heisman Winner (Ward) and cemented Bowden's legacy as one of the greatest coaches in the sport. If you're going to be at the game today, make sure you get there early so you don't miss the festivities. 


For all the latest Florida State news and updates, follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...



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