November 18, 2016 - by
First And 10: No. 17 Florida State at Syracuse

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)

Out Indefinitely
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)


Syracuse Orange

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


  • The buzz surrounding this game is centered largely around Dalvin Cook and his chase for Florida State’s all-time career rushing record. Cook enters the game with 3,941 yards and needs just 19 to surpass Warrick Dunn, who ran for 3,959 yards from 1993-96. Cook also needs just 59 yards to reach 4,000 yards for his career. He would be just the sixth player in ACC history to reach the 4,000-yard mark, and the first to do it in just three seasons. Syracuse would be an appropriate place for Cook to reach the top of the FSU record book, as he had his first 100-yard game there as a freshman in 2014.
  • Saturday marks the fourth meeting between FSU and Syracuse since the Orange joined the ACC in 2013. The series has been heavily one-sided, with the Seminoles outscoring Syracuse 142-44 over the last three seasons.


  • Syracuse enters Saturday’s game looking not only for an upset but also to gain bowl eligibility for the first time since 2013. The Orange would need wins in each of the next two weeks to reach a 6-6 record. Syracuse, however, is expected to be without starting quarterback Eric Dungey, who suffered an unspecified injury against Clemson two weeks ago and hasn’t played since.

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.

First And 10: No. 17 Florida State at Syracuse

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.


  • With their win over Boston College last week, the Seminoles clinched their 40thconsecutive winning season, the longest active streak in the nation. FSU hasn’t finished below .500 since 1976, Bobby Bowden’s first year in Tallahassee.
  • FSU ranks second in the nation in offensive red-zone percentage. The Seminoles have converted 44 of 46 opportunities (95.7 percent) inside an opponent’s 20-yard line.


  • According to ESPN’s QBR metric, FSU has faced the No. 2 (Louisville’s Lamar Jackson), No. 4 (USF’s Quinton Flowers), No. 6 (UNC’s Mitch Trubisky), No. 12 (Ole Miss’ Chad Kelly) and No. 17 (Clemson’s Deshaun Watson) quarterbacks in the nation this season.
  • This game continues an unlikely trend of matching up former high school teammates – FSU’s Harrison Frank and Jake Rizzo and Syracuse’s Colin Byrne and Samuel Clausman (Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas); FSU’s Carlos Becker III and Syracuse’s Devon Clarke (Kissimmee Osceola); FSU’s Tarvarus McFadden and Brian Burns and Syracuse’s Juwan Dowels (Plantation American Heritage); FSU’s Ricky Aguayo and Deondre Francois and Syracuse’s K.K. Hahn and Donnie Foster (Bradenton IMG Academy); FSU’s Dalvin Cook, Fredrick Jones and Da’Vante Phillips and Syracuse’s Marqez Hodge (Miami Central).


  • Nineteen Syracuse players hail from the state of Florida. Only one Seminole – senior guard Kareem Are – is from New York.



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 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.

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