QB Sean Maguire
Maguire came out and did everything right. He started off fast, got the deep ball going, and did a great job of taking the check down when he needed too. He finished the game 23-35 for 348 yards, three touchdowns, and one big question for Jimbo Fisher. Who does he start next week?
WR Travis Rudolph
Rudolph hasn't been the player that Florida State expected him to be this season, but that changed against Syracuse. Rudolph ran wild to the tune of 5 catches for 191 yards and 3 touchdowns. His first touchdown catch was one of pure effort as he took a 40-yard grab, made three Syracuse players miss, stiff armed another and dove into the endzone. It was easily the best performance of his young career.
RB Jacques Patrick
Patrick got his first start against Syracuse and didn't disappoint. He ran over multiple Syracuse defenders on his way to a 24 carry, 162 yards, and 3 touchdown rushing performance, while adding 6 catches for 62 yards receiving. The Syracuse defense struggled to tackle him, and as the game went on Patrick was running with more and more confidence. If he can continue that going forward it will take a lot of the load off Dalvin Cook, as well as the Florida State offense in the redzone. The Seminoles scored touchdowns on three of their four redzone attempts with Patrick finishing two of them.
S Derwin James
James has been really coming on lately, but really made a jump against Syracuse. James was arguably the best player on the field, finishing with 12 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and 1 forced fumble. The play where he forced the fumble was incredible. He was rushing from the opposite hash that he forced the fumble, saw Dungey sneak out, and caught him from behind. To go from full speed towards the pocket to full speed chasing the play that quickly is just unfair.
DE Demarcus Walker
Walker has really turned it around this season, and that's why he got the Defensive MVP award for the first half of the season. He continued that performance against Syracuse by stetting the edge against the run, while also employing a controlled pass rush. He finished the game with 6 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and 1 sack.
CB Marquez White
White has been phenomenal so far this year. He's not being targeted, and when he is targeted, he's allowed barely anything. Syracuse didn't complete a single pass longer than 5 yards against him.
The Interior Rush Defense
This is more nitpicking than anything with a run defense that held Syracuse to just 4.1 yards per carry, but the defensive tackles had some trouble stopping the run on Saturday. They got blown off the ball a few times, and those resulted in the big gains for the Syracuse offense.
The Offensive Line
The offense put up 45 points against Syracuse so there's not much to complain about, but the offensive line did have some issues pass blocking, which has been a theme the entire year. Sean Maguire bailed them out a few times with some excellent pocket presence, but he was still hit way too often.
Six of Florida State's nine penalties were on the offense, and four of them were false starts. The Seminoles have had major problems staying set all season long, and that again caused issues for the offense. They were able to overcome the penalties against the Syracuse defense, but can't afford to make those mistakes against Clemson.