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4 questions, 4 answers: FSU moves to 7-3 after third straight blowout win

Seminoles finish with best record in ACC play since 2016

NCAA Football: Florida State at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

For the third straight week, No. 23 Florida State (7-3, 5-3 ACC) blew out a conference opponent, this time heading on the road and dominating the Syracuse Orange (6-4, 3-3 ACC) in a 38-3 win.

Florida State logged 420 yards of total offense while holding Syracuse out of the end zone and to just 160 yards, most of which were earned well into garbage time.

The Seminoles finish conference play with its best mark since 2016, with games against the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (5-5, 3-4 Sun Belt) and Florida Gators (6-4, 3-4 SEC).

Below, some thoughts from the Tomahawk Nation staff on storylines from the game.

What has been the key behind FSU’s offensive performance over the last three games?

Perry: Simple as it sounds, finally converting drives into points. Florida State has shown an ability to move the ball at will in each of its games, but the difference in its three-game losing streak was failing to get points on the board following those explosive plays.

LastNoleOfKrypton: Healthy offensive line, and Trey Benson.

Evan Johnson: Health and outmatch opponents are certainly key but FSU has been playing much more crisp. It does feel like a bit of a sea change for this team occurred in the bye week but more likely progress isn’t linear.

Juan Montalvo III: Execution. They’ve had talent, but not had an offensive line that can consistently mash, QB who can make throws, WRs with no drops, etc.

Could the Seminoles have done anything better or different on defense?

Perry: Uh, I guess managed to keep Syracuse under 100 yards? Two straight weeks without allowing a touchdown is silly, and the defense deserves its flowers for the last couple of games.

LastNoleOfKrypton: No

Evan Johnson: I guess they could have been perfect and held Syracuse to no points but that’s asking an awful lot. They played very well.

Juan: A couple of key penalties probably kept this from being 40+ with starters still in.

More impressive offensive play — Malik McClain’s stiff-arm or the Tally Special?

Perry: Tally Special, but just because it was a major “keep beatin’ em down” move from Norvell when the Seminoles could’ve easily run a standard play or kicked a field goal. Florida State is really starting to feel itself and the results are reflecting that.

LastNoleOfKrypton: Malik McClain’s stiff arm set the tone that we’re physically better than you and we’re about to prove it. The Tally Special is just extra film work for Billy Napier.

Evan Johnson: I don’t know that I could do to my son what Malik did to that Cuse DB. That’s rough for that dude.

Juan: Malik. It’s just men beating down boys.

What needs to be the main focus for Florida State moving forward?

Perry: Keeping up the pace that the Seminoles’ have established these last few weeks — you can see the small parts of the self-inflicted mistakes start to creep back occasionally with this team, and if FSU wants to end the year with 9 wins, those have to stay repressed.

LastNoleOfKrypton: Dominating upfront and winning the turnover battle; do that and you’ll finish the season 10-3; best record since 2016.

Evan Johnson: Big dumb football. Run your counters and outside zones. Force teams to beat stop that and then our resource them on the edge with Travis and the receivers. On defense force teams to earn their scores honestly. Don’t give up big plays and keep hitting hard. Most importantly continue to tackle well. That’s probably too many focuses for being the main focus so you can simplify it by saying that they just need to continue to be tough.

Juan: Mash the ball, execute and beat the damn Gators. Come out of this season with 10 wins including over Miami and Florida and it’s the most successful season in a long time, and shows Norvell has turned the program completely. They look like they’re turning that corner for good - need to recruit to that.