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Hidden History: Florida State at Syracuse

Jacques Patrick is one of several Seminoles who have had career days versus the Orange.

Florida State v Syracuse Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Basic Facts

All-time series record: FSU leads 10-1

First meeting: 1966; Archbold Stadium; Syracuse won 37-21

Most recent meeting: 2017; Doak Campbell Stadium; FSU won 27-24

Largest margin of victory: 2013; Doak Campbell Stadium; FSU won 59-3

Not the First (Orange) Rodeo for Coach Taggart

Admittedly I stole this from the fantastic Syracuse SBN site, Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician, but it seemed worthwhile for this crowd. When Willie Taggart walks out of the tunnel on Saturday, it might be his first road game as FSU’s head coach, however it won’t be his first time coaching in the Carrier Dome. Taggart went 2-0 against the Orange during his time at USF, including a 45-20 road victory over then first-year head coach Dino Babers in 2016.

To read the whole article, which I highly recommend, point and click here.

Five out of Six

Due to their shared history as Independent programs, plus some quirky schedule timing, FSU has beaten five of the last six Syracuse coaches dating all the way back to the late 1970s. The only Syracuse head coach not to face FSU during that time is current Jacksonville Jaguar head man, Doug Marrone.

1978 - Traveling to Syracuse for Archbald Stadium’s last year of existence, Bobby Bowden led the ‘Noles to a 28-0 shutout over Frank Maloney’s Orangemen (as they were known back then).

1989 - In the next meeting between the two programs, Bowden got his first win in the Carrier Dome over Dick MacPherson’s 17th ranked Syracuse team, 41-10.

1991 - The return game of the home-and-home came two years later and by that time MacPherson had accepted a job as head coach of the New England Patriots. So, first year coach Paul Pasqualoni brought his team down to Tallahassee, losing to Bowden’s boys 46-14. More on that game in a minute. Over a decade later, Bowden and Pasqualoni would meet one more time, a 17-13 FSU road win, in what would be Pasqualoni’s last season in Syracuse.

2005 - Bowden and the Seminoles welcomed first-year head coach Greg Robinson to Tallahassee with a 38-14 beating. Robinson would finish his Syracuse tenure with a 5-37 overall record, the worst in school history.

2013 - Now conference mates, FSU and Jimbo Fisher obliterated first-year head coach Scott Shafer, 59-3. Shafer would also lose to FSU in 2014 and 2015.

2016 - Three years later, another first-year head coach, Dino Babers, fell to Jimbo and the Seminoles, this time 45-14 in the Carrier Dome.

Did You Know?

The current career high single-game rushing total for both Cam Akers and Jacques Patrick were set against Syracuse. Patrick ran for 162 yards filling in for the injured Dalvin Cook in 2016, while Akers rumbled for 199 yards in last year’s matchup.

Blowing Off the Dust

Most fans have heard about or seen a highlight from the “Foolah from Pascagoula” game in 1989 against Syracuse. It’s the one where freshman sensation Terrell Buckley “feigned everyone.” But fewer folks recall that FSU and Syracuse met two years later in a top 10 showdown, that would turn into a serious beat-down.

The Orangemen rolled into Doak Campbell Stadium on a rainy, October afternoon intent on shocking the world with an upset of the number one ranked Seminoles. FSU owned the nations longest winning streak at 10 games going back to the 1990 season, but ‘Cuse pounded the 5th ranked Florida Gators 38-21 two weeks prior and had arguably the fastest man in college football, Qadry “The Missile” Ishmail.

Two plays into the game, first year head coach Paul Pasqualoni reached into his bag of tricks and, true to his name, Ishmail exploded for six:

Then, immediately after the ‘Noles knotted the score at 7, Ishmail stunned the partisan crowd with another big play.

The Seminoles battled back again, but at the half the situation seemed precarious as FSU held a slim 17-14 lead. But in the locker room, Mickey Andrews did what he did best: made adjustments. FSU played stifling defense in the second half, holding Syracuse to just 16 total yards in the third quarter.

Meanwhile, the offense caught fire. When senior QB Casey Weldon launched this perfect pass to a streaking—and then sliding—Shannon Baker, the game was essentially put out of reach.

FSU’s offense would end the game with 642 total yards of offense, the most ever allowed by Syracuse at that time. Ironically, this broke the previous record of 587 set by FSU in 1978. Weldon threw for 347 yards and three touchdowns before giving way to Brad Johnson in the 4th quarter. The 347 yard performance would end up as Weldon’s career high.