SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Florida State is at Syracuse for its final road trip of the regular season, as well as its ACC finale. Here are the names, numbers and notes you need to know before the Seminoles meet the Orange.
No. 17 Florida State (7-3, 4-3 ACC) at Syracuse (4-6, 2-4 ACC)
When/Where: Saturday, 3:30 p.m./Carrier Dome (49,250) in Syracuse, N.Y.
TV/Radio: ABC or ESPN2(Coverage Map)/Seminole IMG Radio Network; FSU Broadcast Live Stream
Florida State injury report:
OL Brock Ruble (leg)
Out For Game
LB Josh Brown (foot)
CB Marcus Lewis (hip)
OL Corey Martinez (knee)
WR Da’Vante Phillips (wrist)
LB Jacob Pugh (concussion)
DE Jalen Wilkerson (concussion)
DE Keith Bryant (foot)
DB Derwin James (knee)
RB Johnathan Vickers (concussion)
Out For Season
DB Nate Andrews (right pectoral)
WR George Campbell (core muscle)
OL Landon Dickerson (knee)
DE Adam Torres (leg)
WR Jesus Wilson (foot)
Coach: Dino Babers (4-6 in one season at Syracuse, 41-22 overall)
Last game: With starting quarterback Eric Dungey sidelined by an injury, the Orange offense managed just 218 total yards in a 35-20 loss at home to NC State. Syracuse held the ball for just 18:42 while surrendering 544 yards to the Wolfpack.
Last game vs. Florida State: Sean Maguire threw for 348 yards – the vast majority of them to Travis Rudolph – and Jacques Patrick scored three touchdowns in relief of an injured Dalvin Cook as FSU rolled to a 45-21 victory on Oct. 31, 2015.
FSU vs. Syracuse all-time: Florida State leads the all-time series 8-1, and is 4-1 in Syracuse. The Seminoles haven’t lost to the Orange since their first meeting on Nov. 12, 1966.
1966: SYRACUSE 37, Florida State 21
1978: No. 17 Florida State 28, SYRACUSE 0
1989: No. 22 Florida State 41, No. 17 SYRACUSE 10
1991: No. 1 FLORIDA STATE 46, No. 10 Syracuse 14
2004: No. 8 Florida State 17, SYRACUSE 13
2005: No. 6 FLORIDA STATE 38, Syracuse 14
2013: No. 2 FLORIDA STATE 59, Syracuse 3
2014: No. 1 Florida State 38, Syracuse 20
2015: No. 17 FLORIDA STATE 45, Syracuse 21
One offensive and defensive player from each team who could swing the game
Syracuse: The Orange boast one of the top receiving trios in the country, with senior Amba Etta-Tawo leading the way. A transfer from Maryland, Etta-Tawo has an astounding 1,246 receiving yards, which is second-most among players from Power 5 conferences. He’s also struck for eight touchdowns, including an 81-yarder in last week’s loss to NC State.
With just 14 sacks this season, the Orange have had a hard time rushing the quarterback. But in junior linebacker Parris Bennett, Syracuse has one of the top stoppers in the ACC. His 75 tackles rank third in the league, with teammate Zaire Franklin (72 tackles) not far behind.
Florida State: It’s hard to go with anyone other than Dalvin Cook, who ought to cement his place in FSU history early in the game. While Cook has said he’s not focused on the record, it would still be good for him and his Seminole teammates to get it out of the way early and get on with the game at hand.
With so many receiving threats to deal with, Florida State’s secondary could be in for a test on Saturday – even if it’s SU backup Zack Mahoney under center. With that in mind, FSU safety Ermon Lane could play a big role, especially in his first game on artificial field turf as a defender.
Total offense: FSU: 464.9 YPG (35th nationally); SU: 438.9 YPG (47th)
Scoring offense: FSU: 34.7 PPG (38th); SU: 23.3 PPG (108th)
Passing offense: FSU: 275.3 YPG (30th); SU: 321.9 YPG (12th)
Rushing offense: FSU: 189.6 YPG (49th); SU: 117.0 (118th)
Total defense: FSU: 384.6 YPG (47th); SU: 471.5 YPG (116th)
Scoring defense: FSU: 26.6 PPG (56th); SU: 34.2 PPG (106th)
Passing defense: FSU: 236.6 YPG (76th); BC: 274.2 YPG (116th)
Rushing defense: FSU: 148.0 YPG (45th); SU: 197.3 YPG (86th)
Number of note, courtesy of Pro Football Focus: Dalvin Cook ran for 108 yards last week, 42 of which came after contact. It marked just the second time this season that Cook’s yards before contact exceeded his yards after contact (UNC, 130 before, 62 after).
“I haven’t heard game control anymore. Did that one go out of the equation?” – FSU coach Jimbo Fisher on the College Football Playoff rankings, making reference to 2014, when his team was penalized weekly for winning but not exhibiting “game control”
“Everything happens for a reason. You never wish those guys got hurt. Unfortunately, those guys got hurt and I stepped into a role as a freshman at a big-time university. I had to just grow up quick and go out there and make the plays that I came to college to make.” – Dalvin Cook on his breakout game at Syracuse in 2014, in which he received an extended workload after injuries to veterans Karlos Williams and Mario Pender
“I’m learning to practice better. Not just coming out to get it over with, but coming out to get better and work on the silly mistakes I made in the game.” – receiver Auden Tate on his late-season surge
“I don’t settle for anything. There is no bone in my body that says, ‘Hey, I’m looking forward to next year.’ My whole task is finding a way to win now.” – Syracuse coach Dino Babers on whether he’s tempted to start gearing toward next season. The Orange are 4-6 after 10 games.
Syracuse on Saturday is giving out Floyd Little bobbleheads to the first 20,000 fans to arrive at the Carrier Dome. Little, of course, is part of an impressive lineage of Syracuse running backs and, incidentally, played the final home game of his career against Florida State on Nov. 13, 1966. Little ran for 193 yards and three touchdowns on just 25 carries. Other notable names to play in the game include Larry Csonka and future FSU president T.K. Wetherell.
Little was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010. While footage of that 1966 FSU-Syracuse game has proved elusive, this package of photos and videos from Little’s career is still worth a watch.
Jim Henry of the Tallahassee Democrat caught up with Warrick Dunn to get his thoughts on who is the best FSU running back of all time.
Bob Ferrante of the Osceola breaks down what has made Cook so special over the last three years.
Joe Reedy of the Associated Press takes a look at Cook’s record chase as it relates to ACC history.
Bud Poliquin of Syracuse.com puts coach Dino Babers’ first season in perspective, and says there’s some positive signs to go along with the Orange’s 4-6 record.
The Orange always seemed to be facing an uphill climb in its quest to pull off an upset, and missing its talented starting quarterback makes that hill even steeper. Still, the Orange’s offense – particular its receiver trio of Amba Etta-Tawo, Ervin Phillips and Steve Ishmael – should provide a nice test for FSU’s secondary.
The other side of the ball is where Syracuse will struggle. The Orange ranks in the 100s in several defensive categories, including rush defense. Which means that Dalvin Cook’s run to the record books should finally be completed, and the Seminoles should leave New York with a win in the penultimate game of their 2016 regular season.