Time – 12:00pm, Doak Campbell Stadium
TV/Radio – ABC, 99.5FM WTKW
Series – FSU Leads 7-1
Last meeting – October 11, 2014, FSU won 38-20
Walking Wounded – Florida State is dealing with a rash of injuries in this one and Syracuse has two normal contirbutors out as well. The Seminoles are without their best player, star running back Dalvin Cook, who is out with an ankle injury. Also out are starting linebacker Terrance Smith and starting right tackle Derrick Kelly. Starting quarterback Everett Golson has been banged up and is not a certainty to go. Backup quarterback Sean Maguire has taken the first team reps in practice this week. The Orange are without h-back Ben Lewis and tight end Kendall Moore.
Turning the Tide – Syracuse is coming off of four straight losses while Florida State suffered their first defeat of the season last week against Georgia Tech. The Orange want to get their season headed back in the right direction, and a road win against a top-20 team would certainly do just that. The Seminoles on the other hand want to rid themselves of the taste from an upset a week ago and stay on track for another ACC title.
Going Home Again – Syracuse has a roster filled with players from the Sunshine State. Playing in Tallahassee gives them a chance to play in their home state in front of friends and family. Players such as Steve Ishmael, Brisly Estime, Antwan Cordy, Cordell Hudson and many others will have that opportunity. They did that a few weeks ago against South Florida, but this is a different deal playing at Doak Campbell.
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Syracuse Secondary vs FSU Wide Receivers
Without Dalvin Cook and potentially Everett Golson, the Seminoles offense will be predicated on the production of their wide receivers. The Syracuse secondary has struggled in coverage downfield and in tackling on screens this season. There has been improvement in each area, but that should not step Florida State from attacking the Orange in this area.
If Florida State has success with screens, slants, comeback routes and then even in their deep shots, it could be a long day for Syracuse. On the other hand, if Syracuse is able to take a big step forward here, they could hang around in this one.
Orange wins if …
They Win the Turnover Battle – Whenever you are looking to pull an upset, turnovers can be a huge help to your cause. If Syracuse wants to do that, forcing a couple or more is critical. Not only can it help turn momentum, but it can give your offense a short field, prevent scores from the other team, and even turn into points on a pick six or scoop and score. Syracuse has to win the turnover battle on Saturday, which includes limiting their own mistakes.
Seminoles win if …
They Limit Mistakes – Even without several starters, Florida State still has a talented roster. On paper, they still should have success against Syracuse in a variety of areas. The key for the Seminoles is to limit mistakes, take care of the football, prevent the big play and play smart.
WR Kermit Whitfield – Whitfield is the best wide receiver for FSU this season and has elite speed. He could have a huge impact in this game on screens, slants and going over the top. Expect the 'Noles to have Whitfield heavily involved in their game plan without Cook in the mix.
Something to Prove
RB Jacques Patrick – Filling in for Dalvin Cook is no easy task, but that's the challenge in front of Patrick. He only has six carries for 12 yards on the season, but has an opportunity to prove that his accolades as a top-10 running back in the 2015 class were warranted.
Looking to Build
RB Jordan Fredericks – Fredericks has been the starter the last two games and continues to expand his role within the Orange offense. He eclipsed the 90-yard mark last week, but faces a more athletic and fast defense in Florida State. Can Fredericks continue to be a playmaker for Syracuse?
Freshman to Watch
QB Eric Dungey – Dungey is a big reason why the Syracuse offense has been drastically improved this season. He is a playmaker that has created big plays for the Orange despite being a true freshman. His performance will be interesting to watch as this may be the most talented defense he has faced. Combine that with some big time cover corners and his ability to make the right reads will be critical for Syracuse.