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Seminoles Offense Looks to Exploit Syracuse

The Florida State Seminoles offense is coming off a dominating 45-3 win over arch-rival Miami. Jordan Travis continues to play efficiently in the pocket and on the ground. FSU now sits at 6-3 overall heading into a crucial ACC match-up at Syracuse on Saturday. The week 11 game for the Noles is a must-win to keep the hopes of a 9-3 season alive. As the Seminoles turn the page to face the Orange, all eyes will be on the dynamic offense’s ability to move the ball effectively.

Seminoles’ Offense Looks To Exploit Syracuse

Not only did Travis dominate Miami through the air, but the rushing attack played a big part in that win. The team had a total of 229 rushing yards, and 128 of those came from Trey Benson. He also recorded two touchdowns on 15 rushing attempts. Travis’ three passing touchdowns helped to seal the deal against the Hurricanes. Establishing Benson and Lawrance Toafili in this game will be pivotal. In 2022, Syracuse allows 141.1 rushing yards per game. With two talented tailbacks, FSU could hit that mark in the first half alone. Playcalling will be something to watch for in this game.

But now, Florida State has to shift focus to a Syracuse team that is coming off a loss to Pittsburgh. Record-wise, both programs enter the game at 6-3. Orange running back Sean Tucker has accounted for 777 rushing yards with seven touchdowns. Junior quarterback Garrett Shrader has 1,636 passing yards with 14 touchdowns and five interceptions. While Cuse is not an elite offense, the Seminoles will need to score early with the dynamic talent this team has. That means that receivers Mycah Pittman and Johnny Wilson have to get separation against the Syracuse defenders. Getting tight-end Camren McDonald targets in this game would force Syracuse to pressure Travis. But, Noles fans recognize how coherent of a signal-caller he is. His ability to lead the team down the field on crucial drives is the reason FSU is bowl eligible.

Noles Must Avoid Going Three and Out

The Syracuse defense ranks 22nd in the country in terms of first downs allowed. The unit has given up 81 first downs via the rushing attack through nine games. 63 more first downs have been allowed through the passing attack. Statistically, FSU should gameplan to attack Syracuse on first down with either a handoff to either Benson or Toafili or let Travis utilize his skills to pick up a first down on the ground. To counter that, the Noles like the passing attack on first down and have used it a lot this season. Either way, gaining first downs and winning that category will be crucial. It will be interesting to see how Syracuse prepares for what the Seminoles show on first downs throughout the game.

On third down, Syracuse allows 37.9% of attempts to be converted into a first down. Mike Norvell and his staff typically dial-up solid play calls on third down for Florida State. If FSU is in the red zone, trying to force the Orange to jump offsides before the snap on a third down could turn into an easy touchdown play. The Orange are by no means a completely terrible defense. However, the stats show that opposing offenses are moving the ball on the Syracuse defense.

Opportunity to Make Noise in the ACC

A win on Saturday would put Florida State third in the Atlantic division. Syracuse sits at 3-2 overall and is currently second in the division. While this game has no ACC Championship implications, a win for either team could increase their chances of a better bowl game. For FSU, a win would push the program to seven wins and a third straight over the Orange.

However, Norvell and the play callers have to get more players involved. Receivers Kentron Poitier and Darion Williamson provide exceptional pass-catching abilities on the outside. Mixing those two into the rotation would give Travis more options to throw the ball and potentially more time in the pocket to hit a receiver deep downfield if the offensive line can hold up.

If the Seminoles’ offense can continue to dominate, the Noles will leave Syracuse with a marquee conference win. Yards per play for Florida State will prove to be a key factor in this conference match-up. Averaging over five yards would allow Travis and the offense to quickly push the ball down the field. Florida State enters the game on a two-game win streak and is a six-and-a-half point favorite.

 

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