If you're a Syracuse fan, you probably considered changing the channel before the first quarter came to an end, and nobody would have blamed you.
Despite all of the off-field distractions that stole the headlines during the week leading up to Saturday's game, the Florida State Seminoles -- lead by Jameis Winston -- came out with the determined look that FSU fans have become accustomed to during the 2013 season as they went on to crush visiting Syracuse, 59-3, and are now 10-0 for the first time since their 1999 National Championship season.
Winston went a perfect 5-for-5 during the game's opening drive that ended in a James Wilder Jr. touchdown run to the right side quickly putting the 'Noles up 7-0, and they never looked back.
Florida State would continue to outplay Syracuse in every facet of the game on their way to another dominating victory over an ACC opponent. Defensive starters would again sit out the majority of the second half giving the backups quality reps and Jameis Winston would only play one half of football allowing Sean Maguire to get some quality playing time as well.
It was business as usual for the 'Noles.
The offense was running on all cylinders in the first half as they racked up 374 total yards, 277 of which were in the air. Jameis Winston's day would be over as the 'Noles made their way to the locker room after the first half up 38-0. He would finish going 19-for-21 with 277 yards and 2 touchdowns. Rashad Greene and Kelvin Benjamin would both catch touchdown passes in the first half, courtesy of Winston. The air attack would slow in the second half for the Seminoles while they leaned on their ground game. But backup quarterback Sean Maguire did have a chance to throw a beautiful touchdown pass to Nick O'Leary, so there is that.
The run game worked on Saturday, too, for Florida State. They gained 225 yards on the ground against Syracuse on only 19 carries, averaging 11.8 yards per carry. Karlos Williams would lead the way with 80 yards rushing, but it was true freshman Kermit Whitfield who had the largest gain on the day. Early in the first quarter on FSU's second possession, Kermit Whitfield caught the sweep to the right side and took it for the 74-yard touchdown. Winston would again make his presence known, this time with a big block on the Whitfield touchdown.
But the Florida State defense was also stellar.
They would hold a Syracuse rushing attack that had been bolstered all week long to only 5 yards on 18 carries in the first half. And the Orange's air attack wouldn't prove any more impressive, as they would muster up just 68 yards in the first half of football. Lamarcus Joyner would record 1 1/2 sacks, with Eddie Goldman adding another half sack. But it wasn't all numbers for the starters, it was the way they instilled their will on the Syracuse offense. Safeties Terrence Brooks and Jalen Ramsey made the Orange think twice before catching the ball anywhere beyond the line of scrimmage, while Christian Jones and the Florida State defensive line kept Syracuse quarterback Terrel Hunt looking over his shoulder.
The Syracuse offense would eventually find themselves in the position for a field goal late in the 4th quarter making it 59-3, but the Florida State second and third team defense would hold them to just that. Chris Casher had a 31-yard touchdown in the third quarter after stripping the ball from Hunt's hands and scooping it for the score. And Reggie Northrup would go on to lead the Seminoles with 11 tackles.
Florida State will play it's last home game against Idaho in Tallahassee next Saturday at 3:30 p.m.