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An interactive, graphic preview of FSU vs. Syracuse

Not that kind of “graphic.”

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Florida State
Nov 4, 2017; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles running back Cam Akers (3) runs for a touchdown against the Syracuse Orange at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports
Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports

For the second week, we’d like to turn to some fun images to help prepare you for the Seminoles’ game on Saturday. This week, Florida State (3-4, 2-3) welcomes the Syracuse Orange (3-4, 0-3) to Tallahassee. Once again, a thanks to Zane Murfitt of Coug Center. Check them out for your Washington State coverage.

Let’s start with the overarching SP+ numbers on these teams.

Overall: FSU 57th, Syracuse 67th

Offense: FSU 42nd, Syracuse 90th

Defense: FSU 73rd, Syracuse 49th

Special Teams: FSU 105th, Syracuse 22nd

Let’s start with the ’Cuse offense. But don’t blink— you might miss it. Not because of its speed, but it is fast, averaging 81.5 plays per game, 6th in the country, but because it’s often nonexistent.

As you can see, the Orange are quite balanced on offense: they’re neither efficient nor explosive. They don’t really do anything that well, and may be starting a backup quarterback (and look how well that worked for Wake Forest— oops). Florida State may even be able to get some heat on that QB, given Syracuse’s havoc rate allowed. ’Cuse has conceded more sacks (35) and sack yards (224) than any other FBS team this season.

The Orange do have a top-25 receiver, in Trishton Jackson, who’s back on the field after sitting out a season following his transfer from Michigan State. Jackson’s 82.1 YPG are second in the ACC to Sage Surratt, and his six receiving TDs are the most of any non-Deac ACC WR. FSU’s red-zone TD-allowed percentage of 49% is up to 14th in the country, but get this: ’Cuse boasts a reliable kicking game, having made 9-11 attempts this season. Their average punt distance of 45.25 yards is a top-20 national figure as well. Any of that sound familiar?

Let’s turn to when the ’Noles have the ball.

FSU has to rediscover its explosiveness, as ’Cuse is susceptible to the big play. Otherwise, the Orange have the ability to get teams off schedule with with their stuff rate, and when forcing foes into passing situations, at which FSU has struggled mightily, Syracuse’s havoc rate further complicates matters. The Orange’s 23 sacks are tied for 15th in the country, and their 51 TFL are 29th. The Seminoles have allowed 24 sacks (120th, nationally) and only four offenses have given up more than the 61 TFL conceded by Florida State. Success with passing on early downs could prove pivotal for the ’Noles.