Florida State Seminoles vs. Syracuse Orange Complete Game Preview
After forcing seven turnovers against Wake Forest, No.2 Florida State will face off against the Syracuse Orange, who at 5-4 will most likely be the last team on FSU's regular season schedule with a winning record.
It's FSU's homecoming game, and the 1993 Seminole national championship team will be on hand to watch.
Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Place: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL
Radio: Florida State IMG Sports Network
Spread: Florida State by 39 according to Bovada.lv
All quotes and paraphrases were obtained either firsthand or via phone unless otherwise noted.
Florida State Keys to Victory
Stay thirsty, my friends
Florida State has all but solidified its spot in the BCS National Championship Game, with only Syracuse, Idaho, Florida and whatever team makes it out of the Coastal Division in its way. Jameis Winston has all but locked up the Heisman, so long as he doesn't spontaneously combust.
It goes without saying that FSU's biggest competition will be itself Saturday, and the team must do everything it can to avoid complacency. The lack of focus on the offensive end during the Wake Forest game was obvious, and head coach Jimbo Fisher noted this in his postgame press conference.
Establish early and don't let up
Expect there to be plenty of intensity coming from the Seminoles on Saturday, with the emotion of the return of the 1993 championship team as well as a desire to redeem themselves for the lack of focus against the Demon Deacons.
Syracuse Keys to Victory
Establish a defensive presence
Syracuse has pitched two shutouts this season, one against Wake Forest and the other against FCS opponent Wagner. Its defense ranks 36th in points allowed, as the Orange give up only 22.9 points per game.
Get the running game going
Averaging 202.7 yards per game, Syracuse would be smart to attack on the ground rather than through the air, seeing as FSU had six interceptions alone against Wake Forest. Junior running back Jerome Smith (705 yards, 10 touchdowns) will be the key part of this.
Florida State Players to Watch
The junior continues on his campaign to reach 1,000 yards, something that is within his reach if he continues to average 5.6 yards per carry.
Will he manage to bounce back from what was his worst game of his young career? Chances are Winston took Jimbo Fisher's postgame comments to heart and will come out Saturday firing on all cylinders.
Syracuse Players to Watch
Syracuse's quarterback has struggled at times, as the sophomore is completing 58.7 percent of his passes but has thrown seven interceptions. He has seven touchdowns and 946 yards to his name, along with 337 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
Hunt's play will be key if Syracuse wants to keep it close.
Smith has been the star of the offense for the Orange this year, rushing for 705 yards and averaging 4.9 yards a carry. He's also scored 11 touchdowns (10 rushing). He'll be key in keeping Syracuse competitive.
What They're Saying
Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher had these comments regarding this upcoming matchup with Syracuse:
On the opponent
We’ll have a great game with Syracuse. Syracuse is playing extremely well. They come on a two-game winning streak. They’ve given up three points total in their last two games. They’re playing extremely well. They’re tough to defend on – to deal with on defense, different blitz packages, different fronts, come at all different angles. On offense they’re very physical, can run the ball, (they have) two excellent backs (and) an athletic quarterback. Very physical up front and good skill guys at receiver and they’re very sound in the kicking game and very well-coached.
On coaching with a huge lead
You’ve got focus issues and you want to coach to let your other guys play but at the same time you don’t want to be disrespectful and try to run up the score because you have to execute your offense because they practice hard too. With the one’s offense, I acted like I was unhappy, I want to keep them on edge. We did an 80-yard drive, converted on a two-play drive, came back off the 15 (yard line), then we had a fumble, which we executed, we just had a fumble.
In the end, Florida State is too good of a football team for Syracuse to have a chance. Expect the Seminoles to come out with intensity in order to wash out of their mouths the taste of last week's poor offensive effort against Wake Forest.
FSU will welcome Syracuse to the ACC in the rudest way.
Final Score: FSU 58, Syracuse 10