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FSU’s red-zone offense, worst among power-five teams, must improve— and now

Coffee is for closers. How many people still get that reference?

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Florida State Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports

As far as Florida State’s 2018 season goes — and certainly WIllie Taggart’s tenure as the head coach at FSU — we’ve only just begun. But that certainly doesn’t mean that it’s too soon to talk about finishing. Specifically, for the Seminoles, that means capitalizing on red-zone opportunities, which, so far this year, the ’Noles have done worse than any other team in a power-five conference.

Admittedly, it’s a very small sample size, but after two games, both of which transpired on Florida State’s home field, the Seminoles have scored on just four of seven trips inside their opponents’ 20 yard line. That 57.14% “success” rate comes in at 127th out of 130 FBS teams, ahead of only Arkansas State, next weekend’s opponent Northern Illinois, and Western Kentucky.

The ’Noles are not scoring as many red-zone touchdowns as they should be, with just three, due in part to a sketchy offensive line, poor quarterback decisions, and drops— so at least it’s been a true team effort. And points of any sort have been tough to come by because of a woeful place-kicking game, as Ricky Aguayo has begun the 2018 campaign by making just one of four field-goal attempts.

On the other side of the ball, FSU’s foe on Saturday, the Syracuse Orange, have been pretty good defensively in the same part of the field, even if it’s come against Western Michigan and Wagner. They’re 22nd, nationally, in opponents’ success rate inside their own 20. In what most think will be a high-scoring affair against the Orange, getting seven, instead of three — or zero — could prove a crucial factor in the final result.