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What went right, wrong for FSU on offense vs. Syracuse

Jordan Travis pulled off a “touchdown triple crown” as the offense rolled against Syracuse

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

The Florida State Seminoles came out firing on all cylinders in their Saturday night win over the Syracuse Orange. Jordan Travis was near perfect, completing 21/23 passes and pulled off the rare “triple crown” of touchdowns. The offense amassed over 300 yards of offense before garbage time began in the third quarter. We’ll breakdown what went right and even find a few things that went wrong in FSU’s blowout.

First Quarter

  • Three possessions: Two touchdown drives, one punt.
  • Total yards: 129
  • Rush yards: 61
  • Pass yards: 68
  • What went right:

Outside of one drive in the first quarter, Florida State’s offense operated at near perfection. Jordan Travis finished the quarter 8/9 with one touchdown pass. Travis connected with five different Seminoles in the first quarter, capped off by a 15 yard touchdown pass to Malik McClain. On the ground, Trey Benson led the way with a huge 27 yard run on his first carry and the team as a whole finished with 61 rushing yards. Travis scored with his legs from three yards out.

Overall, the main area that stood out was the decision making of the offense. Travis made the right reads and outside of one drive, the players executed at a high level.

  • What went wrong:

This is nitpicking, but Johnny Wilson had two plays that stood out in the first quarter, both on the same drive. On FSU’s second possession of the game, Wilson picked up a holding penalty on a first down play which put the Seminoles behind the chains. On third down, Wilson slipped coming out of a route and saw Travis’ pass skip through his hands to force FSU to punt.

Second Quarter

  • Four possessions: One touchdown, one field goal, one turnover, one punt.
  • Total yards: 107
  • Rush yards: 48
  • Pass yards: 59
  • What went right:

After the quarter began with two failed possessions, the Seminoles would strike quickly on their third attempt. After a punt return by Mycah Pittman was aided by a Syracuse penalty, Johnny Wilson would make up for a slow first quarter with a 24 yard touchdown reception on the first play of the drive. Wilson made a defender miss and was off to the races. Florida State extended the lead with a field goal to end the half. Much maligned kicked Ryan Fitzgerald would make the field goal on three separate attempts before finally getting one to count.

  • What went wrong:

The first quarter perfection did not carry over as FSU struggled in their first two offensive possessions of the second quarter. After the defense held Syracuse to a field goal, Travis would hold the ball for a half-second too long and fumble in the pocket. Syracuse would recover and the defense would manage to keep the Orange off the board. In their second possession, FSU would pick up one first down before stalling out at midfield.

On Florida State’s final drive of the half, the decision making that stood out in the first quarter was not as evident. The Seminoles lost a few precious seconds on slow timeouts and going down inbounds. On the final play before the field goal attempts, Travis would take a sack on an obvious blitz that he should have thrown away. During the field goal setup, FSU would commit two straight false starts before a Syracuse timeout. Fitzpatrick would finally connect and end the quarter on a high note.

Notable moments of the first half:

  • Jordan Travis finished 17/18 for 127 yards and two touchdowns.
  • Mycah Pittman’s yards did not jump out on paper, but he had his hands on the ball in several plays. Pittman would catch three passes, make one rush, and receive four punts.
  • Malik McClain only had two receptions but both saw the young receiver show off his skills. The sophomore showed off a stiff armed touchdown and big first down reception on the last drive of the quarter.
  • Trey Benson continued to impress every time he touched the ball. Benson would finish with 66 rushing yards, averaging 8.3 yards on his eight carries.

Third Quarter

  • Three possessions: Two touchdowns, one missed field goal.
  • Total yards: 137
  • Rush yards: 97
  • Pass yards: 40

What went right:

The start of the quarter had the potential to fizzle out in multiple situations. First, Syracuse would attempt an onside kick which freshman Azareye’h Thomas would recover. After that, Benson and Lawrance Toafili seized control of the first drive, combining for 37 yards on the ground before Travis hooked up with Kentron Poitier for the touchdown. The touchdown pass came on third and goal after FSU looked to be falling back into their goal line struggles. It was a big score for the Florida State offense coming out of the half.

After starting the second possession of the quarter with three passes, it turned into the Trey Benson drive. Benson picked up 41 yards on five straight carries. The sophomore appeared to score but a review placed him down at the half yard line. The Seminoles would run a reverse pass that saw Wyatt Rector connecting with a wide open Jordan Travis in the end zone.

What went wrong:

Tate Rodemaker would take the helm on the third possession. A coverage sack after a first down set the offense behind schedule and Fitzgerald’s 51 yard field goal attempt would fall a few yards short. Hard to fault the offense overall here on this drive as the second string began integrating into the game.

FSU once again struggled on goal line rushes. They failed to punch it in from the half yard line but managed to score on a fourth down pass.

Fourth Quarter

  • Two possessions: One punt, one turnover on downs.
  • Total yards: 47
  • Rush yards: 24
  • Pass yards: 23

Not really worth calling out what went right or wrong in the fourth quarter. Florida State went to their bench at almost every position. This wasn’t even all two-deep guys as some players were held out as the four game redshirt rule is starting to come into play.

Notable moments of the second half:

  • Jordan Travis caught a touchdown pass to complete the “triple crown”.
  • Trey Benson picked up 97 more yards on the ground, setting a new career high with 163 yards on 18 carries. In all, a 9.1 yards per carry average.