This weekend, Syracuse will travel to Florida State to take on the Seminoles, who just came off of a heartbreaking loss to Georgia Tech at the buzzer when a field goal try was blocked and returned for a touchdown. Simply put, the ‘Noles will be playing angry with something to prove after taking its first loss of the season. With a showdown looming against Clemson, the Seminoles cannot afford to lose another game. Look for the Orange to improve in these areas:
The Orange’s most prized player, freshman quarterback Eric Dungey, looked confident in the pocket during the first half of last week’s game against Pitt. Once he took a hard hit to the upper body, though, he changed as a player. Offensive coordinator Tim Lester started calling more true throws for Dungey and he stood tall in the pocket and delivered pretty well. The offense started as an option offense for Terrel Hunt, but Lester is finally adapting the play call to protect his young quarterback. Look for Dungey to get more looks from the pocket, like he did last weekend. Florida State has a talented defensive line, so protection will be the key.
Start Playing Some Young Guys
The season is essentially over for the Orange right now and while it’s important to put the best players on the field, it’s also important to get some of the underclassmen game experience. Units like the defensive line and the secondary have struggled, so it wouldn’t hurt Scott Shafer and the coaching staff to start playing some young guys that will contribute next year. Technically yes, the Orange could make a bowl. Realistically, though, it would benefit the team so much more to start mixing young talent into the rotation in preparation for next season.
Force Some Turnovers
The Orange defense had a ton of success forcing turnovers early in the season against lesser opponents. However, when the competition toughened up the defense struggled accordingly. Florida State QB Everett Golson was a turnover machine at Notre Dame, and takeaways will be the one way that the SU defense keeps the team in the game. With running back Dalvin Cook potentially missing the game to recover for the Clemson tilt, the offense will run through Golson, who finally threw his first interception of the year against Georgia Tech last week. The ‘Noles have let lesser teams like Boston College, Wake Forest and Miami hang around in games, so if Syracuse can move the ball and cause turnovers, the game may be closer than anyone expects it to be.