Things started so well for the Orange in Tallahassee. And then things began to unravel. And then it seemed the Orange turned things around. And then Shafer made some decisions that threw all of that out the window.
The Orange were driving, trying to cut the Seminole lead to 7 late in the first half. Despite the fact that the Orange had plenty of time to punch the ball in, Shafer used two time outs, meaning that when Dungey scored, the ‘Noles had plenty of time to respond. This was compounded by Shafer electing to do a squib on the ensuing kick off, giving FSU the ball near midfield. The Seminoles capitalized on Shafer’s blunder and doubled their lead before the intermission.
Shafer has been the subject of plenty of scrutiny, especially when it comes to his clock management. Saturday’s game will do nothing to ease the pressure.
The game got off to a flying start as the Orange were the first team to put points on the board. It all went down hill from there as the Seminoles would cruise for most of the game. The partnership of backup QB Sean Maguire and his favorite target Travis Rudolph was way too much for the porous Orange secondary to handle.
Maguire, who was filling in for Everett Golson who was sideline with a concussion, torched the Orange. He went 23 of 35 for 348 yards. Rudolph hauled in 5 passes for 191 yards and 3 TDs including a highlight reel touchdown to tie the game at 7 when he broke through a half dozen tackles.
Florida State freshman running back Jacques Patrick, who was in for injured Dalvin Cook, lit up the Orange, with 162 rushing yards and three TDs.
Eric Dungey struggled much of the day going 11 of 24 through the air for 120 yards. He did put up 46 yards on the ground including 3 TDs.
The offense had bursts where it looked like it may come alive, only to fall short around mid-field or go three and out on a drive following a score.
Ultimately, for large parts of the game, it was exactly what one would expect. The better team dominated the game on both sides of the ball. The second half looked like a top 25 program against a reeling, sub .500 football team. The Orange defense had no answer for the Nole offense and the Syracuse offense could not move the ball at all.
The only points the Orange scored in the second half came on a late, meaningless punt return touchdown by Birsly Estime.
The ugly game ended with a final score of 45-21 and the Orange now sit at 3-5. Though the performance on the field was far from pretty, the decisions made by Scott Shafer will certainly be the biggest headlines coming out of this game as his job security is in grave doubt.
What are your thoughts on the game? Should Shafer be fired? Comment below with your opinions.