Syracuse overwhelmed by No. 2 Florida State 59-3

Scott Shafer hoped his improved Syracuse defense was ready for
its biggest test of the year. The unit had allowed just three
points in the previous two games and was playing some of its best
football of the season.

The Orange gave up 28 points before it managed 28 yards of
offense in a 59-3 loss to No. 2 Florida State.

”This is horrible,” Shafer said. ”I hate it. We won’t sleep
for a couple of nights. I know I won’t. You hate losing. God, I
hate losing but you bounce back and figure out how to teach the
kids because that’s what we are. We’re teachers.”

Syracuse (5-5, 3-3) went to Tallahassee, Fla. with the No. 2
rush offense in the ACC, but found little room against the
Seminoles (10-0, 8-0). The Orange managed 143 yards rushing on 50
attempts for an average of 2.9 yards per carry. Florida State ran
for 225 yards and averaged 11.8 yards per carry.

Top rusher Jerome Smith was held to a yard on five attempts.
Devante McFarlane posted a team-high 81 yards rushing.

”That’s one of the best football teams I’ve seen in my 23 years
coaching,” Shafer said. ”I’d like to see them go out there and
represent the ACC and win the whole damn thing because they are a
damn good football team.

”But I was disappointed because I saw us make mistakes from a
physical point of view.”

The Florida State defense dominated and showed why it’s the No.
4 scoring defense in the FBS. The unit allowed 68 yards on 30 plays
in the first half while the Seminoles’ offense had 374 yards on 32
plays. The Orange fell behind 38-0 at halftime.

Syracuse managed four first downs in the first half while
punting five times. Florida State now has a school record six games
scoring 50-plus points.

Syracuse quarterback Terrel Hunt completed 10-of-18 passes for
75 yards. Backup Drew Allen entered the game in the third quarter
and completed 5-of-9 passes for 29 yards with an interception.

”They’re a great team,” Hunt said. ”We lost to a better team,
basically. It would be more of a bruised ego if we lost to a team
that we’re better than. But we lost to a better team – you accept
it, you move on. We have two more games and we want to go
2-0.”

Syracuse cornerback Julian Whigham was injured on the play,
taken off the field on a stretcher and immediately loaded into an
ambulance late in the first quarter. He was taken to the
hospital.

Orange coach Scott Shafer said Whigham was OK in the hospital
with an abdominal injury and would remain overnight. Syracuse also
lost running back Prince-Tyson Gulley to a lower-body injury and
receiver Jarrod West left with an upper-body injury.

”Really, we just continue to fight,” Hunt said. ”Other than
that, we just want to flush this one down the toilet. Go in the
film room, get things fixed and let it go.”

On the opposite sideline, it was business as usual for Jameis
Winston and Florida State.

The Heisman Trophy candidate showed no effects from a tumultuous
week, completing 19-of-21 passes for 277 yards and two
touchdowns.

News broke Wednesday that Winston was under investigation for an
alleged sexual assault that took place Dec. 7, 2012. Attention
moved away from his Heisman Trophy campaign to the many unanswered
questions surrounding an investigation that is nearly a year
old.

Any questions about whether the off-field issue would impact
Florida State’s game were answered immediately. Florida State led
28-0 in the first quarter. Syracuse was held scoreless until late
in the fourth quarter.

Florida State outgained the Orange 523-427.

”It’s the same thing every single week,” Winston said. ”We
prepare ourselves the same way every single week. One thing about
Florida State, we’re a big family. So we stay inside the
family.

”We’ve got the same plan every week. We want to be elite. We
want to be great. And just like we had the 1993 championship team
come down. We want to be just like those guys. We want to just keep
everything rolling the right way.”

The Seminoles are second in the BCS standings and are likely
three victories away – they play Idaho, Florida and the ACC
championship game in the next three weeks – from locking up a spot
in the BCS championship game.

Syracuse hosts Pitt next week, trying to get the victory it
needs to become bowl eligible.