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FINAL: Seminoles 33 - Syracuse 30

File-Florida State's Marvin Wilson tackles Syracuse's Jarveon Howard during an NCAA college...
File-Florida State's Marvin Wilson tackles Syracuse's Jarveon Howard during an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, in Tallahassee Fla. Wilson and defensive back Asante Samuel Jr., will try to contain a Miami attack led by transfer quarterback D'Eriq King, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon, File)(Steve Cannon | AP)
Published: Oct. 2, 2021 at 12:23 AM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - We have officially entered the third calendar month of the 2021 college football season and the Florida State Seminoles are still in search of their first win of the campaign as they welcome the Syracuse Orange to Doak Campbell Stadium.

For FSU fans hanging onto any glimmer of hope for today’s game, let me give you a trio of things to be optimistic about:

  • The Seminoles have never lost to the Orange at home. The closest call came back in 2017 when the Noles eked out a 27-24 victory
  • Since becoming yearly opponents in 2013, the Seminoles have won six of the seven meetings between the two programs. Not only that, but FSU is 11-2 all-time against Cuse
  • After spotting Louisville a 17-0 lead last week, FSU scored the game’s final 16 points in the second half and shut out the Cardinals over the game’s final 31:49

While none of those are sure-fire causes or reasons that Florida State will pick up its first win today, they’re certainly causes for hope as the Seminoles seek to avoid an 0-5 start to the year.

ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) gives FSU a 58.6% chance of winning this one, which might sound crazy as Cuse comes into today with a 3-1 record, but their road thus far hasn’t exactly been challenging.

The Orange’s three wins have come against Ohio, UAlbany and G5 darling Liberty while Cuse’s lone loss has come at the hands of *checks notes* Rutgers, a 10-point loss.

At home.

To Rutgers.

Suffice to say this is a winnable game for the Seminoles, we are going to have to see more from the offense, a refrain that has been consistent throughout the season thus far.

Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. and can be seen on the ACC Network.

Below will be a running a live blog of tonight’s game. We’ll have score updates, analysis, stray observations and thoughts. For up-to-the-minute updates and analysis, be sure you’re following myself and WCTV Sports on Twitter.

FINAL: FLORIDA STATE 33 - SYRACUSE 30

Well there you have it: The Seminoles have their first win of the season and for a second straight week, it was the defense who stole the show.

I think Jordan Travis is the answer under center going forward, he looked really good and was instrumental in the eventual game winning drive.

Our recap, courtesy of our pals over at Noles247, is right here. Thanks for joining us this week for the Noles first victory!

4th Quarter, 5:17: FSU 30 - Syracuse 30

All things considered, that series went about as well as it could for the FSU defense, holding Cuse to three after the interception.

Syracuse looked primed for the endzone after two or three plays in the drive, but stalled once they got inside the 10.

Now to see how Travis responds after the first FSU turnover of the day.

4th Quarter, 8:28: FSU 30 - Syracuse 27

Danger zone time for FSU after Syracuse is set up at the Noles 41 following a tremendous interception from Darius Chestnut on what was supposed to be a screen pass from Travis to Corbin.

Instead, it’s Cuse ball with a chance to at the very least tie the game.

4th Quarter, 10:35: FSU 30 - Syracuse 27

What has, at times, been kind of a snooze fest has turned into a boat race here early in the fourth quarter as the Orange answer the Noles’ explosive scoring drive with one of their own, marching 60 yards on six plays in less than three minutes to tie it up.

Again, FSU can afford to swap scores if the offense stays hot. If the Cuse defense gets a stop sooner rather than later...

4th Quarter, 13:24: FSU 30 - Syracuse 20

The most explosive drive of the day for the Seminoles puts FSU with another 10-point lead: Treshaun Ward set it up with a 65-yard rush to put the Noles in business at the two, and Jashaun Corbin finished it from there.

If we’re going to be trading scores like this for the rest of the day, FSU can say hello to their first win of the year.

END OF THE THIRD QUARTER: FLORIDA STATE 23 - SYRACUSE 20

Assuming they can hold on, FSU is 15 minutes away from their first win of the season.

3rd Quarter, 0:09: FSU 23 - Syracuse 20

It’s a one-score game again as the Orange have a third rushing touchdown from their quarterback.

It looked like FSU had secured a huge defensive win - and I guess they technically did, stopping the Orange at the half-yardline, but they were unable to move the ball effectively deep in their own territory and went three-and-out, giving the ball back to Syracuse to allow for the short field to work with.

3rd Quarter, 8:48: FSU 23 - Syracuse 13

I truly do not know how to describe what just happened so I think I’m going to show you.

Whatever it takes! Noles lead is up to 10 after a fantastic response drive following FSU’s three-and-out to open the half.

HALFTIME: FLORIDA STATE 16 - SYRACUSE 13

As rough as that second quarter was for the Noles, it couldn’t have ended much better, what with the Helton touchdown and FSU getting the ball to start the second half.

A Travis Jay interception as time expires will help pad his stats, but the FSU offense will need to look the part out of the gate.

2nd Quarter, 0:36: FSU 16 - Syracuse 13

Back and forth we go as the Seminoles re-take the lead, this time thanks to a 14-yard touchdown reception from Keyshawn Helton.

The Orange didn’t make that drive easy on themselves, getting called for pass interference on an interception that kept the ball with FSU and a roughing the passer call (which I think was rather questionable) that moved the Noles inside the Cuse 35.

Easily the best drive of the game outside of the first one for FSU.

2nd Quarter, 2:33: FSU 9 - Syracuse 13

I’m not sure what switch was flipped on the FSU defense, but someone needs to find a way to flip it back before this gets out of hand.

A second-straight Orange drive ends in a touchdown after a second-straight Shrader TD run that was preceded by a 16-yard Shrader rush to set the Orange up inside the 10.

Nothing is going right for the Seminoles right now. Plain and simple.

2nd Quarter, 6:21: FSU 9 - Syracuse 6

Over Syracuse’s first four drives, they totaled 38 yards of offense, three three-and-outs and one turnover on downs.

On Syracuse’s fifth offensive drive of the game, they get on the scoreboard courtesy of a 55-yard touchdown rush by quarterback Garrett Shrader, running wild against the Noles in the backfield and then outrunning everyone in the second and third levels.

The Orange, too, missed a PAT, so we have a bit of a weird score at this juncture, but the Seminoles continue to lead and will get the ball back.

2nd Quarter, 7:40: FSU 9 - Syracuse 0

That is more like a drive I expected to see with Travis at the helm: five plays, 50 yards in 1:53 minutes to get FSU on the scoreboard.

Jordan Travis unleashed his legs for the first real time today, getting FSU into the redzone, then he slings a pass to Camren McDonald who rumbles in four a 14-yard score.

A missed PAT makes keeps the Noles under double-figures, but are up by two scores midway through the second frame.

2nd Quarter, 9:33: FSU 3 - Syracuse 0

Hi there - just checking in to say...well, just letting you know I haven’t forgotten about you. Nothing much has happened so far: The FSU defense continues to look very impressive but the Seminole offense is struggling to replicate the success of that first drive of the day.

Noles have a short field to work with after a poor Cuse punt puts FSU just shy of the 50.

END OF THE FIRST QUARTER: FLORIDA STATE 3 - SYRACUSE 0

Syracuse responded to FSU’s scoring drive with an eight-play, 46 yard drive of their own and got inside the FSU redzone, but were stuffed on fourth down to turn the ball over.

The Noles, however, went three-and-out the next time they had the football.

We’ll start the second quarter with a Syracuse second down.

1st Quarter, 6:12: FSU 3 - Syracuse 0

The FSU defense picked up right where it left off last week, forcing the Orange to go three-and-out, and the offense put together one of its most methodical drives of the season to score the game’s first points.

A 17-play, 48-yard drive ends with a 35-yard field goal on a drive that saw the Noles convert twice on fourth down and saw Jordan Travis and Jashaun Corbin connect multiple times - it’s early, but I see that becoming a favorite connection this afternoon.

The biggest takeaway from that opening drive, though: How slow it was. Looked like FSU was purposefully taking their time and only ran tempo once.

COIN TOSS

FSU wins the toss and defers.

The game will begin with the Noles on defense.

PREGAME pt. 2

A rare second update to the pre-game portion of the live blog, but this is a big one: Despite not being listed as such on the depth chart, Jordan Travis will be the starting QB for the Seminoles today. Lets see if that generates some early-game offense.

PREGAME

Hello once again, friends, and welcome to another Seminole football Saturday. Fletcher Keel here with you, once again filling in for Will who has been your normal captain throughout this season: He’s out of town this weekend and I was happy to fill in for him.

You know all the set up for this one - FSU is winless but normally plays pretty well against Cuse, and I see no reason this week should prove any different, especially with how unproven the Orange are a month into the campaign.

McKenzie Milton is still listed as QB1 all by himself, so we’ll see how true Mike Norvell makes that appear on the film. I do suspect some Jordan Travis designed packages, but I also think this is Milton’s ship unless things go very wrong very early (which, this year, is in the realm of possibility).

Though, as I was writing that sentence, friend of the station and Tomahawk Nation’s Brett Nevitt reported that it was Travis taking QB1 reps, not the listed depth chart starter.

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