Florida State unable to find offensive consistency, falls at Syracuse, 30-7

By: Fletcher Keel | WCTV Eyewitness Sports
September 15, 2018

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WCTV) – The struggles to begin the 2018 season continued for Florida State on Saturday, as the Seminoles dropped their first road contest of the season against the Syracuse Orange, 30-7, at the Carrier Dome.

The victory for the Orange marks Syracuse's first win over FSU since the first meeting between the two programs in 1966. The Orange snapped a 10-game losing streak to the Seminoles.

After settling for two first half field goals, the offense for Syracuse came alive in the third quarter when back-up quarterback Tommy DeVito led the Orange on two touchdown drives.

The first scoring drive came with the second ‘Cuse drive of the second half, as the Orange went 64 yards in nine plays and was capped off by a DeVito three-yard rush to give Syracuse a 13-0 lead. The drive marked the first time in the game the FSU defense was unable to hold Cuse to a field goal attempt once they were forced into the red zone.

The second scoring drive of the quarter came on the next drive and was a much quicker strike: Cuse running back Jarveon Howard used a 45-yard rush to set the Orange up at their own three yard line before DeVito’s first touchdown pass of the game to Ravian Pierce made it a 20-0 game.

An early-fourth quarter field goal by the Orange extended the lead to 23-0 before the Noles got on the board for the first time late in the frame.

Florida State went 70 yards in eight plays and were nearly stopped inside the ‘Cuse five yardline, but a pass interference call at the front of the end zone off a dropped pass on fourth down gave the Noles a fresh set of downs, and Francois finished the drive with his legs to make it 23-7.

Syracuse added a 13-yard rushing touchdown from Dontae Strickland to seal the deal with 3:19 left in regulation.

The Florida State offense was stagnant, to say the least, in the first half, unable to move the ball consistently until the closing drive of the opening 30 minutes. The Noles went 53 yards in the closing 1:40 of the half, but were unable to set up a field goal attempt to take a 6-0 deficit into the halftime locker room.

At the half, the Noles had nine penalties for 76 yards while the FSU offense had 110 total yards on 29 plays.

It wasn’t much better in the second half, as the Seminoles punted in each of their first four possessions of the half and turned the ball over on downs on their final possession of the game.

FSU quarterback Deondre Francois completed 18 of his 36 attempted passes for 178 yards and an interception and was sacked four times on the day.

The running game wasn't much of a factor for the Seminoles either, with Cam Akers leading the way, gaining 53 yards on 10 attempts.

After entering the game in relief in the second half, DeVito went 11-of-16 for 144 yards and a touchdown.

The Seminoles were unable to convert on their first 10 opportunities on third down, and finished converting just one of 14 third down opportunities.

Syracuse won the time of possession battle, 36:53-23:07, as well as total yardage, 441-240. The Orange averaged 5.01 yards per play to FSU's 4.0 yards per snap.

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