Florida State travels to Syracuse late in the season to see an old friend... one that got them out of that 0-4 hole in 2021. The Orange found success with quarterback Garrett Shrader and their rushing core last season, with solid outings from their defense against a selective group of ACC squads.
The Noles face Syracuse a week after playing in Miami Gardens against the in-state rival Hurricanes. What does this mean? It means the Seminoles can ride an incredible confidence boost or head into the Carrier Dome with vengeance; either way they should have a step ahead of the Orange. They’re currently riding a two game win streak against them, taking down Syracuse in 2021 and 2019. FSU leads the all-time series with a 12-2 record against the Orange. Head coach Mike Norvell and the Noles should see this game as a boost to postseason hope, and a chance to end the season on a strong note.
Opponent: Syracuse Orange
Date: Nov. 12, 2022
Last matchup: 33-30, Florida State win
Syracuse Orange: Team Preview
2021 record: 5-7 (2-6 ACC)
Names to Know
Quarterback Garrett Shrader
Shrader kicked off his first season with Syracuse in 2021, after transferring from Mississippi State. The 6’4 quarterback finished his first year with nine touchdowns, 1,445 yards and a 52.6 completion percentage. His previous outing against the Seminoles was likely his best game of the season, collecting 150 yards and one touchdown in the air, and 137 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. Shrader’s feet was a big issue for the Seminoles last season, destroying their run defense with the Orange’s read option scheme. The Noles now have ample tape on the dual-threat quarterback so his decision making should be moderated.
Running back Sean Tucker
Whenever Syracuse was competing and playing solid football, running back Sean Tucker was piloting the offense. In his sophomore season, Tucker recorded 14 touchdowns, 20 receptions and 1,496 yards. It was a different story against the Seminoles last season when Tucker finished with his second lowest rushing average of the season with 4.3. He was still able to add 102 yards on the game but it’s crucial that the Noles keep him out of the end zone and don’t let Tucker get any unnecessary confidence. The 5’10 running back was recently listed on the Maxwell Award watch list, awarded to college footballs most outstanding player. He’s destined for a big step in his third year with the Orange.
Defensive end Caleb Okechukwu
Okechukwu is entering his fifth year with the Orange in 2022. He’s only had two true seasons in the collegiate world, having his 2018 and 2019 seasons cut short due to an illness and declared redshirt. Despite finishing the 2021 season with one fumble recovery, one and a half sacks and 22 total tackles the redshirt senior has adopted a leadership role. His quality run stopping ability will aid the Orange against FSU, who loved to force the ball through the run. Okechukwu may not be an ACC star but he can definitely cause trouble against an unpredictable offensive line.
The Seminoles must win this game if they want any momentum riding into the Louisiana and Florida matches. After the game against UM, things start to heat up for the Noles. If Florida State can get a dominant victory, it’ll really help the Noles mental spirit. There’s a handful of games that are essential for FSU to win big, and Syracuse is definitely one of them. A two touchdown victory would work wonders for Norvell and his team, being able to rotate some star players and get key rest to finish the season on a strong note. The best case scenario for Florida State would be a 30-16 victory on the road.
Syracuse is usually a great game to generate more hope in the Noles, whether it’s midseason struggles or late season stress that needs to be dealt with. Norvell and the coaching staff knows how important a dominant win at the Carrier Dome will be to stack up their resume and prepare for bowl season. FSU should head back home with a win, most likely a 7-10 point victory. The final score should look something like 28-16. If the Noles get on the board early and their defensive front is able to slow down the Orange’s running offense, they should be able to get a necessary win.
Norvell and company cannot afford to lose to a team that went 1-10 just two years ago. Despite the Orange’s passing improvement and sufficient defense there’s no reason to adding a conference loss. But, if Syracuse is able to slow down the Noles run-first offense and duel-threat quarterback that gave them so much trouble last season, they might be looking to cash in a victory. The worst case for the Seminoles would be dealing with a confident day on the ground from Shrader and Tucker, and having issues moving the ball downfield on the other side. FSU doesn’t want to take this game as a joke, they need to put points on the board early so they’re not playing catch-up late in the game. If the Orange start the game forcing a Seminoles turnover or their offense starts with a big run, they can win this game 24-17.