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Five questions, five answers: What takeaways are there from FSU’s win over Syracuse?

FSU is off to its best-ever start under Mike Norvell

Charles Mays/Tomahawk Nation

No. 4 Florida State (6-0, 4-0 ACC) took down the Syracuse Orange (4-3, 0-3 ACC) in a 41-3 victory on Saturday, the second straight year that the Seminoles held the Orange to just three points.

Wide receiver Keon Coleman put together a ridiculous performance, logging 247 all-purpose yards (140 yards through the air, 107 on punt return) that included a career-long 58-yard touchdown reception and 72-yard punt return.

The Florida State defense also held steady, keeping Syracuse from scoring a touchdown over the course of 60 minutes and holding the Orange to 3.9 yards per play.

FSU’s offense, while putting up 535 total yards and 41 points, left points on the field after seeing several drives stall out or being forced to settle for field goals.

Overall, it was an impressive win — FSU has now scored 30 points in 12 straight games, five games short of the Seminoles’ record 17-game streak from 2012-2014 — that secured bowl eligibility for the second straight year under Mike Norvell.

What’s there to take away from Florida State’s win over Syracuse? The Tomahawk Nation staff discusses below.

What held Florida State’s offense back the most today?

LSK: Execution and that includes the players and the coaches. Whether it was some questionable calls after going up 17-3 in the red zone, some bad drops, or some missed reads by Travis they were largely out of sync today.

NoleThruandThru: The playcalling was fine today outside of the two failed drives in the second quarter. I don’t know if it was Atkins or Norvell who tried to get cute, but they owed Fuller an apology at halftime. The drops were frustrating today and the OL still has a long way to go.

Perry: The inability to finish off drives after earning ideal field position either through the efforts of the defense or an explosive play resulted in a 41-3 victory that was somehow short of what was possible. The playcalling did get a little bit too cutesy on fourth down, but there were chances to extend and close out the drives prior to those failed attempts. The production was there (535 total yards!!) but the scoreboard didn’t fully reflect that.

Evenflow58: It’s the same thing that always seems to hold back this offense and it’s execution. I think it’s clear that Jordan Travis is not the same as he was last year but he’s still a good quarterback. The line is in a similar state when it comes to run blocking. It feels like they consistently have one miss on about half their plays, whether it’s a dropped ball or missed block or overthrow. Thankfully this offense hunts for the big play so it can absorb those mistakes against most teams.

FrankDNole: Dropped passes.

Jon Marchant: Execution. It was sloppy and inconsistent. Have to agree with criticism on some of the playcalling today. But FSU had multiple chances to put the game away much earlier and it was a cavalcade of frustrating self-inflicted errors and mistakes.

Who impressed you the most on FSU’s defense?

LSK: Joshua Farmer and Renardo Green; Farmer is just dominating up front and Green is clearly FSU’s most dependable DB.

NoleThruandThru: The linebackers had a really nice day today and Shyheim Brown came to play. Azareyeh Thomas had a really nice game in coverage. The sheer strength displayed by Farmer on the forced fumble was incredible.

Perry: I really, really liked how the front seven performed — Joshua Farmer and Pat Peyton were consistent menaces in the backfield and along the line of scrimmage when Syracuse attempted to pass.

FrankDNole: Since the announcers brought it up multiple time, I started watching and noticed Kalen DeLoach was always around the ball. Same with Tatum Bethune.

Evenflow58: I don’t think Syracuse has a very good receiving corps with Oronde Gadsden Jr out but the secondary has struggled at times against a lot of teams this year. Shrader’s a good QB but was held to under 100 yards on 9-21 passing.

Jon Marchant: It was a dominant performance by the defense today, but I’ve come to expect that from the Seminoles’ defensive line. Therefore, I’m gonna give a shout out to the secondary, specifically Shyheim Brown and Azareye’h Thomas.

Which aspect of the Seminoles’ game on either side of the ball took the biggest step forward?

LSK: The linebacker crew; just a really clean, disciplined game of football today from that entire unit.

NoleThruandThru: The defense as a whole showed consistency and resiliency throughout the afternoon. Excellent showing by that group.

FrankDNole: The defense almost pitched a shut out and it seemed the players were coached not to put up with Shrader’s nonsense. This does not by any mean we still shouldn’t not #firefuller.

Perry: Agreed on the defense taking a major step in the right direction — only allowing three points even when throwing in depth in garbage time was a reflection of a solid gameplan and consistent communication and execution on their end. On the offensive side, the run game continues to find its form with each back having a solid day in their time on the field.

Evenflow58: The defense played well at all three levels. I think they’ve been good to very good this year but have been knocked by the fans for not being elite. Today they looked pretty darn good generating negative plays and limiting deep shots.

Jon Marchant: I have to echo LSK’s point about the linebackers, but I also thought FSUs LBs and secondary did a good job contesting passes.

What are two things you liked from today, what are two things you need to see fixed?

LSK: Two things I liked: Saw some more attacking in the middle of the field and after missing Jaheim on a deep ball earlier put it in stride on the second one to Keon.

Two things I disliked: Execution in the red zone and the penalties on special teams.

NoleThruandThru: I liked seeing Bell more involved and I liked seeing Travis constantly hitting the crossing routes in the middle of the field, they were open all day.

I disliked the playcalling in the two failed 2nd Q drives and seeing a few guys get banged up (Darius Washington, Destyn Hill).

Perry: It was awesome to see Ryan Fitzgerald continue his perfect year and Keon Coleman dominating is something I will always like. There’s nothing statistically that I’ve dove into yet to see if it is a major significant issue, but I have really been frustrated with some of the broken tackles I’ve seen from the defense this season and there were a few today that could’ve shut down some Syracuse drives even earlier. Inconvenient drops on offense were also something that stuck out.

Evenflow58: I really liked the way the defense played. They didn’t get stuck in any long drives. They didn’t give up explosive plays. They kept Syracuse down the whole game. I was also really happy to see some lesser used players on offense get some good reps.

I was less than thrilled with the play calling in key situations. FSU didn’t sit Travis until about the middle of the fourth quarter but they could have probably brought in the backups earlier with some better play calling in the second quarter. The offense also lacks a crispiness to their execution, which is the other thing I continue to be frustrated with.

Jon Marchant: Don’t have anything new to add here, everyone else nailed it. I do wish Scott and Washington were healthy and could see the field.

FrankDNole: I agree with Jon Marchant.

Not a question, just a free space to wax poetic about Keon Coleman

LSK: When you show up to the game wearing a P-Dub shirt and then you put on that performance you earn the right to call Leon County Keon County

NoleThruandThru: Love me some Keon, but… HYKEEEEEEEEM!!! I may have mentioned him a time or two and ‘Nole Nation got to see exactly what I’ve been talking about today. That size/speed/shiftiness combo is gonna be devastating in the next couple years!

FrankDNole: Keon is good, but he is no Travis Kelce.

Perry: I said this in the Tomahawk Nation Slack channel, but with no disrespect to Jordan Travis, Keon Coleman is the most electric player to come through Tallahassee since Dalvin Cook. That man wanted a punt return touchdown badly, and when he almost recovered from slipping and rumbled into the end zone on that 72-yarder I nearly lost it.

Evenflow58: He called his shot and then nailed it. He’s got to be FSU’s best player in the past five years and I’m not sure it’s close.

Jon Marchant:

Sky-high game changer

Fall’s electric warrior

That’s six, it’s Keon