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Florida State Football: The Hidden Yards v. Syracuse

The Seminoles absolutely dominated the Orange, both physically and statistically.

Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

10th game of the season, 10th version of this article I have had the pleasure of being able to write. We have been absolutely spoiled by how well this team has played the entire season and I have to say, this was probably the most complete game the entire team has played all season, at least from a statistical perspective. Obviously this game was not as big as Clemson or Miami (or Stanford defeating Oregon), but it did allow the Noles to go undefeated in ACC regular season play for the first time in what seems forever.

Syracuse is a below average team that could make a bowl with a win over Pitt or Boston College. Going into the game against the Seminoles they ranked at 74th in the F/+ ratings with the 85th best offense and the 61st best defense. The Noles posted season bests in terms of yards per play on offense and defense against Syracuse, but we'll get to that in a minute. This performance was very positive considering the current speculative off-field issues looming over the program and the offensive problems that FSU has been experiencing over the last few games (namely, sloppiness).

So here we are again. Analysis of hidden yardage and other stats does not include garbage time and clock killing drives. We're going to say garbage time started after Syracuse fumbled the ball with a little less than 6 minutes left in the third quarter.

Florida State's Offense
Result Possible Gained Plays Per Play % Gained
TOUCHDOWN 77 77 6 12.83 100%
TOUCHDOWN 74 74 1 74.00 100%
TOUCHDOWN 79 79 6 13.17 100%
TOUCHDOWN 39 39 4 9.75 100%
TOUCHDOWN 79 79 7 11.29 100%
FIELD GOAL 51 16 5 3.20 31%
Punt 62 15 4 3.75 24%
TOUCHDOWN 46 46 3 15.33 100%
TOUCHDOWN 83 83 4 20.75 100%
Totals 590 508 40 12.70 86%
  • 12.7 yards per play before garbage time. I was actually laughing maniacally as I was typing this because that is the equivalent to playing NCAA 14 on freshman difficulty. That is the highest yard per play mark FSU has set all season. This was a low possession game and boy did FSU make the most of its possessions. Just two drives were really hiccups. One ended in points and another was a punt. Not bad, not bad. It should be noted that the last 3 drives were with Sean Maguire leading the offense.
  • 5 straight touchdowns (6 straight scoring drives) to open up the game. This has become the norm for this offense and that is just ridiculous.
  • In contrast to the Noles not sustaining any explosive drives last week against Wake Forest, 6 out of 9 of their drives against Syracuse went for more than 10 yards per play.
  • FSU is continuing to prove that they are one of the most if not THE most efficient offense in the country, gaining 86% of possible yards in this game.
  • FSU's average starting field position was on their own 34 yard line. That's a pretty good place to consistently start your drives. This was mostly the result of the defense just getting stops, very quickly on Syracuse's drives but that's covered next. Kenny Shaw also had some real nice punt returns to help the Noles get decent field position the whole game.
Florida State's Defense
Result Possible Gained Plays Per Play % Gained
Punt 75 -1 3 -0.33 0%
Punt 75 16 6 2.67 21%
Punt 75 -6 3 -2.00 0%
Punt 75 8 3 2.67 11%
Downs 80 31 11 2.82 39%
Punt 73 7 3 2.33 10%
End of Half - - - - -
Punt 78 14 5 2.80 18%
Punt 75 15 4 3.75 20%
Fumble 75 6 5 1.20 8%
Totals 681 90 43 2.09 13%

  • The defense played even better this week despite not forcing as many turnovers. The defense only allowed 2.09 yards per play before garbage time. Syracuse's offense is not very good despite the media lauding their rushing attack all week (they were averaging around 200 rushing yards per game, FSU almost cut that number in half). This number is encouraging considering that Wake's offense is much worse than Syracuse's. The week to week improvement of the defense is just awesome watch.
  • No drives for Syracuse even went over 4 yards per play. That's nuts. They also only gained 90 yards in non garbage drives. That is also nuts. The only good yardage the Orange could muster came from a 20 play drive that went for 66 yards and ended in a field goal, but that was in garbage time. Dan Hicks also got an interception in garbage time. Football is weird.
  • The defense was once against wildly efficient, only allowing Syracuse to gain 13% of their possible yardage.
  • Syracuse's average starting field position was at their own 24 yard line. This gave FSU a 90 yard advantage in hidden yards, or just think of it as an extra 9 first downs for FSU. That's very good and can mostly be attributed to FSU's offense scoring easily and not having to punt. Roberto Aguayo was kicking it into the end zone on most of his kickoffs and the one time Cason Beatty punted in non garbage time was also a touch back.
FSU moves to 10-0 on the season and now has to take on the fearsome Idaho Vandals (which FSU is currently a 56 point favorite to win). I'm hoping there will be plenty of jokes about potatoes. There's already a lot of talk about lasers so I think we're on the right track. Idaho is currently ranked 119th in the F/+ with their offense, defense, and special teams all in the bottom 20 of all FBS teams. Should be fun right? It is Senior week so I hope a lot of you are able to make the 3:30 kickoff and send out the seniors in style.