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Staff Predictions: Florida State Seminoles vs Syracuse Orange

Can Florida State beat Syracuse to become bowl eligible?

Peyton Baker/Tomahawk Nation

The 4th-ranked Florida State Seminoles (5-0, 3-0 ACC) will be hosting the Syracuse Orange (4-2, 0-2 ACC) Saturday at Bobby Bowden Field in a sold out Doak Campbell Stadium. The game is being televised on the ABC Network with the kickoff scheduled for 12:00 p.m.

The Seminoles are looking to remain undefeated and in the driver's seat of the ACC conference standings. Syracuse, with their dual threat quarterback, will be trying to snap a 2 game losing streak.

The Seminoles are in the midst of an 11 game winning streak, the third longest active streak in the country, and have scored at least 30 points in every one of those 11 wins, which is good for the 2nd-longest active streak in the FBS.

Florida State leads the all-time series with Syracuse 13-2, including 7-0 in Tallahassee. Since the Orange joined the ACC for the 2013 season, the teams have met every year except 2020 and FSU is 8-1 in those matchups.

The Noles are a perfect 20-for-20 in Red Zone trips this season and have scored on nine of their 10 opening drives of a half this season.

Syracuse ranks 11th in the nation in red zone defense. The Orange lead the ACC and rank 12th in the nation in tackles for loss, averaging 7.8 per game. The ‘Cuse defense recorded a season-high 13.0 TFLs in their loss to Clemson.

FSU QB Jordan Travis has thrown 132 passes without an interception, and has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 17 consecutive games, which is FSU’s longest stretch since 2013 Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston’s 27-game streak in 2013-14. Travis is the only player in FSU history with more than 50 passing TDs and 12 rushing TD’s, and one of four active players nationally with at least 7,000 passing yards and 1,800 rushing yards in their careers.

Seminole RB Trey Benson needed just 11 carries to rush for 200 yards in the 39-17 win vs. Virginia Tech, breaking off touchdown runs of 62 and 85 yards in the second half. Those are the longest runs of his career and FSU’s longest plays of the season. It was FSU’s first 200-yard rushing game since Dalvin Cook in 2016, and Benson is the first Seminole with multiple 60-yard touchdown runs in a game since Chris Thompson in 2012. Benson set the FSU single-game record with 18.2 yards per carry (min. 10 att.), breaking Warrick Dunn’s record from 1995.

Syracuse dual threat QB Garrett Shrader is one of two active FBS quarterbacks with more than 6,000 yards passing and 2,000 yards rushing, joining LSU’s Jayden Daniels. Additionally, he is one of 10 to have thrown for more than 5,000 yards and rushed for more than 1,500 yards in their careers. The last time Shrader visited Doak (2021) he rushed 16 times for 143 yards and 3 touchdowns in a 3 point Seminole win.

Shrader and RB LeQuint Allen Jr. have led the Syracuse ground attack this season that averages 174.2 yards per game. Allen has scored eight rushing touchdowns, which ranks 10th in the nation, while Shrader has six, which is 24th nationally.

According to DraftKings, the Seminoles are a 17.5-point favorite against the Orange, with the over/under set at 55.

A) Read what your TOMAHAWK NATION PROGNOSTICATORS think about this Saturday’s showdown.

2) Then look over and digest all of the FREE PREGAME CONTENT we’ve posted below.

D) We would love to hear your thoughts about how you feel about this game and your final score prediction in the comments.

  • Brian Pellerin (Season record: 4-1)

Easy pick for me this week as Syracuse has been on a downward slide. I do expect them to bottle up the run game better than VT, but I’d expect the passing game to carry the load as the Cuse secondary has been porous against P5 opponents.

FSU 37. Syracuse 17

  • NoleThruandThru (Season record: 5-0)

I’ve adjusted my expectations after the first five games. I’m no longer expecting a team that fires on all cylinders for four quarters of dominance because I’m just not sure FSU is built that way. I’ve accepted that there will be fireworks on offense followed by scoring droughts, then quick responses to adversity. There will be frustratingly long drives from opponents with 3rd and 4th down conversions, then there will be stretches of forced three-and-outs. That just seems to be who this team is and they haven’t lost yet, so let’s ride.

FSU can’t get caught looking ahead to Duke (did I really just type that?) We’ve already seen what happens when FSU looks ahead, and Syracuse is a better team than Boston College. For the offense, I’m still looking for a slot receiver to step up, continued success on the ground, and a helluva lot more (cow)Bell to cure my fever. The receivers and tight ends should be able to feast. On defense, I’m hoping the defensive backs have improved a bit and that Jared Verse and Patrick Payton have equally successful performances. Stay healthy, ‘Noles!

FSU 45, Syracuse 23

  • TimScribble (Season record: 4-1)

I expect this game to be a little similar to the Virginia Tech matchup. Hopefully without the officials making an impact. Syracuse’s offensive line is banged up which should allow the Seminole defensive front to feast. But Garrett Shrader can run it and that has been a sore spot for this defense. In the end, FSU is too much for the Orange.

FSU 45, Syracuse 21

  • Jon Marchant (Season record: 5-0)

Fuller’s defense doesn’t handle running qb’s well and Shrader is a good player. Unfortunately for Syracuse, Shrader doesn’t have a lot of help and the Orange should be outmatched across the board. Still, I expect FSU to give a half-hearted performance with more streaky play on both sides of the ball.

Syracuse 23, FSU 33

  • FrankDNole (Season record: 5-0)

Unfortunately for the Orange, they will be facing a Seminole team that is running on all cylinders, if last weeks 2nd half performance against Virginia Tech can continue.

If the Nole defense can contain dual threat QB Scharder from running wild, the game will be over by the third quarter. If the Seminole defense is not able to limit Schrader’s running, garbage time might not come until the 4th quarter for the Noles.

Either way, this should be a game where FSU controls both lines of scrimmages, giving Travis time and not forcing him to run except on designated QB runs on offense, and pressuring Scharder into making mistakes on defense.

I honestly think this will finally be a game where FSU dominates for all 4 quarters, and not sleep walk through a quarter or more like they have been.

FSU Seminoles 52, Syracuse 20

  • Jordan Silversmith (Season Record: 4-1)

After starting the year off red-hot, Syracuse crashed back to earth and now heads to Tallahassee on a two-game losing streak. Meanwhile, after coming off of its most consistent performance to date, Florida State will look to beat up on an opponent whom, in recent years, they enjoyed loads of success over. Two truths will indicate the way this game will turn out. First, Syracuse’s offense has not looked the same since the beginning of the year. They have scored 21 points in the last two games, and Shrader has not thrown for over 200 yards in either of them. Adding insult to injury, both of their starting offensive tackles were graded below 50, according to PFF against North Carolina and Clemson. Good luck slowing down Patrick Payton and Jared Verse, who are just hitting their stride.

On the flip side, the Orange love to blitz and come after the quarterback. However, no signal caller looks more efficient against pressure than #13. Gaining back a healthy Maurice Smith and playing at home will allow Travis to make all the checks he needs at the line and get the protection right. Meanwhile, when Keon Coleman lines up 1 on 1 on the outside, everyone in Leon(Keon) County knows where that ball is going. Syracuse presents trouble on both sides of the ball with innovative play calling. Look for the regular inconsistencies in Florida State throughout the afternoon. However, the Seminoles win and cover on Saturday.

Florida State 35 Syracuse 14

  • Jon Loesche (Season record: 4-0)

Much less concerned about this game than I was a few weeks ago when Syracuse was 4-0 and looking sneaky good. Garrett Shrader will make some plays with his legs that will cause a lot of “Fire Fuller” comments in the game thread despite FSU winning by 3+ scores. FSU advances to 6-0 for the first time since the Obama administration.

Florida State 35, Syracuse 17

Evenflow58 (Season record: 4-0)

I think a fully healthy Syracuse could have given FSU a run for their money but the Orange are awfully banged up. While FSU won’t likely be able to run as well as they did against Virginia Tech I think they will be able to run the ball effectively. I’m guessing we’ll see more outside runs, or runs that are bounced outside instead of trying to see backs constantly go up the middle. I expect Jordan Travis to have a big game assuming he can be slightly more accurate on his deep balls.

FSU 42, Syracuse 17

  • LastNoleOfKrypton (Season record: 5-0)

Syracuse is on the tail end of one of the three toughest stretches in the country. Home vs. Clemson, at North Carolina, and finally at FSU. Just brutal, you heard Dino Babers speak this week about the lack of depth and how the transfer portal and NIL makes it harder for non-elite programs to maintain depth and I don’t think he was complaining to just complain. He knows at this point in the season with all the players they’ve lost their depth is taking huge hits and that’s a big problem against one of the best teams in the country in a home stretch where it looks like things are starting to click.

FSU dominates defensively and keeps it going with the running game. Toafili and Benson will both go for over 100 yards this weekend.

FSU 38, Syracuse 6.

  • Matt Minnick (Season record: 5-0; 4-1 ATS)

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: FSU prepares to have their defense tested by a strong, tough to tackle, dual threat QB. Such is life in the ACC, the league that consistently features the deepest contingent of running QBs in the country. As has been the case for much of this year, I expect Syracuse QB Garrett Shrader to keep some sustained drives alive with his legs and this will surely frustrate Seminole defenders and fans alike.

However, the Orange as a squad are too beat up to truly push the ‘Noles to the brink. Add in the fact that Saturday will be easily the hottest day of the surrounding 13 day window in Tallahassee—what a joyful treat that is for us sitting in the bleachers all day—and I’m banking on FSU to pull away in the second half for a victory, as well as covering the 17.5 point spread.

Florida State 41, Syracuse 21

  • Perry Kostidakis (Season record: 5-0)

Call it the sequel, or I guess the third in a trilogy, since for the third straight year I think we’re going to see FSU use a matchup vs. Syracuse to shift into another gear.

The Orange come into the game on a two-game losing streak, bringing to the table an impressive defensive scheme but an offense that’s struggled to get going now that the meat of the schedule has arrived.

FSU 38, Syracuse 10

Florida State Seminoles vs. Syracuse Orange

Pre-Game Coverage from Tomahawk Nation

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