By: Fletcher Keel | WCTV Eyewitness Sports
October 26, 2019
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Florida State relied on their best offensive weapon early and often as running back Cam Akers totaled 144 rushing yards on 20 rushes and four touchdowns as the Seminoles rolled through Syracuse, 35-17.
Akers also saw quite a bit of playing time under center, as Willie Taggart gave the offense a new look with Akers running the Wild Cat and either keeping the ball for himself or distributing it on play action runs. From under center, Akers threw for 26 yards on 2-for-3 throwing.
FSU started out hot, scoring on their first offensive series of the afternoon. Starting quarterback Alex Hornibrook connected with Tamorrion Terry on a 30-yard play to set the Seminoles up inside of the Syracuse 25, where Akers took it to the house from 23-yards out for his first score to make it a 6-0 game after FSU missed the point after attempt.
On the ensuing offensive possession, the Noles moved down the field again, going 72 yards in just six plays, capped by a three-yard Akers rush to make it 13-0.
The hot start quickly cooled towards the end of the first quarter and all throughout the second quarter, as the Noles' pace slowed to 3.1 yards per play from their 12-yards per play in the opening two drives, totaling just 76 yards over their next 17 plays.
During the same stretch, Syracuse got on the scoreboard with a 50-yard field goal to pull within 13-3.
The zaniest play of the game happened in the closing minutes of the first half, when Horibrook lateraled it to Akers, who lateraled it back before getting tackled to set up a a huge gain to Terry who took the ball into the red zone, allowing for Akers to punch it in from six-yards out as he took the snap himself, making for a 21-3 halftime score.
#FSU just got a huge gain on a play that looked like it could be a nightmare. Sums up the #Syracuse defense.— Billy Heyen (@Wheyen3) October 26, 2019
Not sure I've ever seen a triple pass quite like this one. Alex Hornibrook covered pretty much, Cam Akers still threw it back to him. pic.twitter.com/o1w4QLIvT4
Akers logged his fourth score of the game on the first drive of the second half, punching it in from seven yards out to make it 28-3.
The first non-Cam Akers touchdown of the game came with less than 2:30 to play in the third quarter, when Khalan Laborn scored his second career touchdown, taking it in from two yards out, to make it 35-3.
Syracuse scored garbage time touchdowns, both of which came on the ground, in the fourth quarter from Abdul Adams and Moe Neal but it was too little too late as the Noles held on to draw even both in conference play and overall on the season.
Despite all of FSU's scoring coming from the ground, and despite Akers seeing plenty of snaps at the QB spot, starter Alex Hornibrook turned in a strong performance, completing 15 of his 26 pass attempts for 196 yards and didn't turn the ball over.
It was a slow start to the game for Syracuse, who finished the first quarter with just 24 yards of total offense. The Orange had a tough time protecting quarterback Tommy DeVito, who faced pressure from Florida State all night long and finished with 151 passing yards while completing 20 of his 33 pass attempts.
FSU now has their sights set for Miami next Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium as they'll look to improve their record to above .500 for the first time this season.