Many Syracuse fans may have turned the game off early when the Orange were being blown out by Florida State 59-3. Despite the lopsided loss, there was a positive to take away. Two redshirt freshman running backs, George Morris and DeVante McFarlane, showed glimpses of the future at the position for Syracuse.
Against a Florida State defense that has an unreal combination of speed, size, strength and athleticism, Jerome Smith and Prince-Tyson Gulley found no running room early. Gulley only had one carry before exiting with an injury.
But Smith had just one yard on five carries in this game, despite being Syracuse's best offensive performer this season. When the Orange inserted the two freshman, the running game finally had a bit of a spark.
George Morris entered the game first, replacing the injured Gulley. He ran with purpose, doing damage between the tackles. Morris showed patience, power, and explosion through the hole. He finished with 67-yards on 21 carries. Only 3.2-yards per attempt, but the eye test says Morris ran better than the numbers suggest.
Devante McFarlane had the best day, with 81-yards on 13 carries for a beefy 6.2 yards per tote. He showed more burst than in the past, and powered through Seminole defenders. McFarlane is extremely athletic and just has a natural feel for the position.
While this game will be largely forgettable for most around the Syracuse program, it may have been a day where the Orange saw two of their young offensive playmaker start to blossom.