FSU 2015 Season Preview Series: Syracuse

We continue our season preview series with the Syracuse Orange.

We continue our Season Preview series with the Syracuse Orange. Their second season in the ACC was a rough one. They finished with a 3-9 record and those three wins came against Villanova, Central Michigan, and Wake Forest.

Last season Florida State jumped out to a 24-6 lead over the Orange and coasted to a 38-20 victory. Mario Pender went down with injury early in the game and Karlos Williams was unable to play due to a concussion so Dalvin Cook took over at running back and didn’t look back for the rest of the season. He finished with 122 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries.

Breaking Down the Schedule


Win Shares

Sep. 4 Rhode Island


Sep. 12 Wake Forest


Sep. 19 Central Michigan


Sep. 26 LSU


Oct. 10 At USF


Oct. 17 At Virginia


Oct. 24 Pitt


Oct. 31 At Florida State


Nov. 7 At Louisville


Nov. 14 Clemson


Nov. 21 At NC State


Nov. 28 Boston College




There are four games on this schedule that are nearly unwinnable for Syracuse. They should start off the season 3-0, but it will be a very tough stretch after that. USF and Virginia are the best options for the Orange, but both are on the road. After that it’s going to be very tough for them to win any of the remaining games on their schedule and if they don’t get to five wins they could be looking for a new head coach.

Breaking Down The Offense

Projected Starters


Terrell Hunt

Running Back

Devonte McFarland


Ervin Phillips

Wide Receiver

Steve Ishmael

Wide Receiver

Alvin Cornelius

Tight End

Josh Parris

Left Tackle

Ivan Foy

Left Guard

Nick Robinson


Rob Trudo

Right Guard

Aaron Roberts

Right Tackle

Omari Palmer

Key Players

QB Terrell Hunt: Hunt returns after a very tumultuous season in 2014 and it’s not a lock that he will win the job. He is the most athletic option at the position and on a team with very few great athletes that could propel him into the starting role.

WR Steve Ishmael: As a freshman Ishmael was outstanding. He finished the season with 415 yards receiving even with a very poor group of quarterbacks getting him the ball. He will play a big part of the offense this season.

Improvement Needed

Running Back: The leading rusher that Syracuse returns for 2015 plays quarterback. None of the current running backs or half backs ran for over 200 yards last season and they will need to be a big part of the offense.


The Syracuse offense will need Hunt to step up as a passer this season as teams will load the box and force him to throw. This offense was a complete mess last season and finished 113th in the FEI offensive rankings out of 128 teams. If a team is that low in the rankings the common thought is that there is no where to go but up. Unfortunately for Syracuse it may not get better this season and if they do it will be on the back of Hunt and the new offensive system they are implementing.

Breaking Down the Defense

Projected Starters

Defensive End

Ron Thompson

Nose Tackle

Chris Slayton

Defensive Tackle

John Raymon

Defensive End

Donnie Simmons

Outside Linebacker

Marquez Hodge

Middle Linebacker

Zaire Franklin

Outside Linebacker

Parris Bennett


Corey Winfield

Strong Safety

Antwan Cordy

Free Safety

Chauncey Scissum


Julian Whigham

Key Players

LB Zaire Franklin: Franklin made an impact as a true freshman and will be the unquestioned leader of the defense heading into the season.

DE Ron Thompson: Thompson is one of the few blue chip recruits on the roster and is easily the most athletic player on the team. He will be the primary pass rusher on the team.

Improvement Needed

Secondary: Only one starter returns in the secondary and dealing with the loss of Eskridge is going to be tough. The replacements are all sophomores who are fairly talented, but there is a distinct lack of experience.


Syracuse’s defense was very good last year finishing 34th in the FEI defensive rankings, but after losing so many of their top contributors from last season can they come anywhere close to that mark in 2015? The front seven should be more talented than in 2014, but once again experience will come into play. Luckily they play three weak teams to start the season and should be able to get them some experience before LSU comes calling.

Breaking Down the Special Teams

Projected Starters


Cole Murphy


Riley Dixon

Punt Returner

Brisly Estime

Kick Returners

Ervin Phillips

Brisly Estime

How They Match Up With FSU

Florida State is the better team in this matchup, and even with the Seminoles coming off a very rough three game stretch and with Clemson looming they should be able to win this one with relative ease. The Syracuse offense is going to have trouble putting points up on the board against most defenses and with the speed and talent that Florida State has it will be doubly so.

On offense, Florida State will have settled in with whoever wins the quarterback job and the new offensive line by the time Halloween rolls around. The athletes at the skill positions will be too much for the overmatched Syracuse defense and this one could get ugly quickly especially with the game being in Tallahassee.

Wayne’s Prediction: 49-10 (Win Probability: 95%)

Jason’s Prediction: 59-17 (Win Probability: 97%)

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