Syracuse overwhelmed by No. 2 Florida State 59-3
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP)
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.
''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.