The Syracuse Orange and Florida State Seminoles will battle in an early-season ACC showdown when they collide at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse on Saturday afternoon. Florida State is hoping to avoid a second loss, as it dropped its opener to Virginia Tech before scraping past Samford. The Orange are coming off victories over Western Michigan and Wagner.
Slow start for Taggart
“It kind of is what it is.”
That is what first-year Florida State head coach Willie Taggart said of his team’s offensive line following an ugly 36-26 win over Samford on Saturday night. He could just as easily have used those words–which are rarely if ever good–about his entire team. Prior to the Seminoles’ scare against Samford, they suffered a costly ACC loss to Virginia Tech via a 24-3 thrashing. As bad as the big opener was, FSU’s performance against an FCS opponent was perhaps even more alarming. The Bulldogs scored the first 13 points of the contest, led 16-7 after one quarter, and still maintained a 26-21 advantage in the fourth quarter before Florida State scored the final 15 points of the night.
“We’ve got to play cleaner (and) we’ve got to play smarter, if we’re going to be a championship football team like we aspire to be,” Taggart assured. “For us to play as bad as we did and find a way, I’m impressed with our guys that we didn’t quit and that they kept fighting and found a way to win the game. I thought it was a hell of a come back for them, and for them to do that says a lot about them.”
A river runs through it
Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey compiled 384 yards of total offense in his team’s opener, a 55-42 shootout win over Western Michigan. In that contest, Dungey exited at halftime with his team leading 34-7. His time on the sidelines ended in a hurry after the Broncos promptly scored 21 unanswered points in the third quarter to get back in it at 24-28. Dungey returned and shut the door on Western Michigan’s upset bid to the tune of three consecutive touchdown drives.
“He’s like a river behind a dam; you’ve got to hold him off,” head coach Dino Babers said of the senior QB. “I wanted to see if we could battle out of that without him. But we didn’t get that done, so we put him back in.”
Babers learned his lesson and did not remover Dungey until the final minutes of a 62-10 rout of Wagner in the home opener this past weekend. And that wasn’t before the Lake Oswego, Ore. native tied a school record with five touchdown passes.
“You’ve just got to annihilate (opponents),” Dungey explained. “It’s just kind of a mindset you’ve got to have,” Dungey said. “I feel like we should have won by more. Just from my standpoint, I feel like we could have done a lot better. We could have scored more and more. It’s going to be good film to watch. It’s going to be good film to watch and learn from.”
The Syracuse Orange are:
- 8-3-1 ATS in their last 12 overall
- 4-0 ATS in their last four games following a win
- 19-7-1 Under in their last 27 overall
The Florida State Seminoles are:
- 4-9-2 ATS in their last 15 overall
- 0-7-2 ATS in their last nine conference games
- 1-5-2 ATS in their last eight games against teams with winning records
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Syracuse’s defense briefly imploded against Western Michigan in the third quarter, but in the seven other quarters so far this season the Orange have outscored opponents 103-24. “Obviously, Florida State’s one of the best teams in the nation, regardless of what people say,” Dungey said. “They have the most athletes. So it’s going to be a tough match, but I’m confident in the guys that we have. And each week we’re getting better and better. There’s so much we can do and so much we can progress on so I’m looking forward to getting into the film room.” The Seminoles obviously have talent, but they also have a lot of problems–and the offensive-line issues appear to have little chance of being solved anytime soon based on a lack of personnel in the starting lineup and on the bench.
Prediction: Syracuse Orange
Full-Game Total Pick
Florida State is inconsistent at best on offense and the fact that the unit struggled against Samford of all teams is a major red flag. The Seminoles scored their final touchdown of that contest on an interception return for a touchdown. At the same time, Dungey and company have not yet seen a defense with the speed of FSU. The under is 6-1-1 in the Seminoles’ last eight on the road and 21-7-1 in their last 28 conference contests. It is also 19-7-1 in the Orange’s last 27 overall, 9-2-1 in their last 12 at home, and 13-3-1 in their last 17 against the ACC. Look for this one to stay under the total.
Full-Game Prop Bet
The Orange have scored more than 100 points total in the three quarters other than the third so far this season. They should be able to continue piling up points against a Florida State defense that is not as ferocious as it traditionally is in Tallahassee.
Prediction: Syracuse points over 32.5
Half-Time Side Pick
Syracuse is playing in the friendly confines of the Carrier Dome and should be able to get off to a fast start in front of the home crowd. Florida State’s offensive line is a patchwork unit and may be slow to gel.
Prediction: Syracuse Orange +1.5
Half-Time Total Bet
This is a massive first-half total and these two offense probably won’t be able to go over it–no matter how poorly the defenses perform.
Prediction: Under 35