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Defensive observations from FSU’s stellar performance against Syracuse

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That’ll do, ’Noles.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 26 Syracuse at Florida State Photo by Logan Stanford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Seminole defense turned in its second straight impressive showing on Saturday, following up a solid effort against Wake Forest with a dominant answer to Syracuse in Florida State’s homecoming win.

In our graphic preview of this game, we talked about the balanced ineptitude of the Orange offense. And did it ever travel well. FSU came out knowing full well how bad the ’Cuse OL is, and looked intent on getting after Syracuse quarterback Tommy DeVito, who played behind a pair of freshman tackles.

The only real Orange threat this season has been explosive plays, so Florida State played off-coverage while still bringing some heat, particularly from DBs. The strategy worked, as FSU collected three sacks on the first three Syracuse possessions. After those three possessions, ’Cuse had eight total yards.

FSU forced punts on the first four Orange possessions— three of which were three-and-outs. Prior to garbage time in the fourth quarter, the only points ’Cuse mustered were from a 50-yard field goal on its fifth drive. And frankly, that came after another defensive stop by Florida State when a Syracuse drive was extended by a bad roughing-the-punter call. The Orange didn’t convert on a third-down until their sixth possession, missing on their first six tries.

Through three quarters, the Florida State lead was 35-3, so we’re not going to waste our time or yours talking about the two garbage-time touchdowns that Syracuse collected in the fourth quarter. But through those first three quarters, FSU allowed just a paltry 3.6 YPP, well under the goal of 4.25 set on the Nolecast preview.

Before the fourth quarter, the Seminoles gave up just six “chunk plays”: passes of 15+ yards and rushes of 10+ yards. And they really weren’t that long, with the longest pass being 23 yards and the longest run 16. The Orange collected three more chunk rushes in the fourth, but that was with FSU selling out against the pass. The biggest individual threat for ’Cuse, receiver Trishton Jackson, wound up with a pedestrian five catches on 10 targets and 57 yards.

Seven sacks helped, and Marvin Wilson led the way with two, while Janarius Robinson chipped in 1.5. The last time the ’Noles recorded seven sacks was against Idaho in 2013. The Seminoles also amassed a dozen tackles for loss— Wilson had three.

Hamsah Nasirildeen had a big game too, playing with his signature aggressive style and coming downhill nicely. He registered a game- and career-high 17 tackles.