Three things we learned in FSU’s loss to Syracuse


SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Florida State fell to Syracuse 30-7 on Saturday, dropping to 1-2 on the season.

Here are three things we learned from the lopsided defeat… 

1. There’s no hope on offense

At least in the immediate future.

Our entire staff thought this offense was capable of scoring 30 points against a bad defense. And FSU didn’t even come close.

The offensive line was going to be an issue all year, that much was clear after FSU’s Week 1 loss to Virginia Tech. But there were at least flashes of being a competent group in the final drive the following game against FCS opponent Samford. That appeared to be smoke and mirrors after the offense was abysmal against what’s typically one of the worst defenses in the country.

FSU scored just seven points against a Syracuse team that gave up a whopping 9.70 yards per play against MAC opponent Western Michigan earlier this year, and the Seminoles didn’t do much better against Syracuse (4.0 yards per play) than FCS squad Wagner (3.89.)

At this juncture, FSU’s offense skews closer to that of an FCS team than a MAC team. And what’s even more disturbing is that fact that FSU doesn’t have any answers to fix the most glaring problem — offensive line — this year. Credit the staff for trying to mix and match with about a dozen line combinations, but it’s evident that none have worked so far in the soft part of FSU’s schedule.

The line looks lost right now and the defensive fronts will only get more difficult. And unless that somehow magically gets better, FSU’s skill players are not going to be able to carry a unit that simply cannot even block at close to an average level.

2. This just is a bad, undisciplined football team

It’s easy to focus solely on the offensive line, because that’s the group that is hindering FSU’s play the most.

But that doesn’t mean other problems do not exist. Far from it.

FSU has a bevy of issues that are alarming: The defense plays hard, but it committed a couple of silly personal-foul penalties on Saturday; Clock management at the end of the first half was just bad; Special teams continue to be an adventure (an unorthodox onside kick nearly results in a touchdown return, and a big punt return by D.J. Matthews was called back by a penalty); And FSU had two delay-of-game penalties on offense immediately after kickoff returns.

This all trickles up to the top. Willie Taggart’s team has looked generally unorganized so far. Maybe that changes, but right now this is team is a sloppy mess that has more penalties against its two FBS opponents (18) than points (10). 

3. FSU’s 36-year bowl streak is in serious jeopardy…through three games

Before this week’s loss, the S&P+ projections had FSU as a favorite against two teams: Syracuse and Northern Illinois.

And both of those games had FSU favored by just a score.

Well the Seminoles were thumped by Syracuse and the metric will adjust as it gets more data. At this stage, who knows if FSU will be favored over Northern Illinois, but it’s safe to assume that the Seminoles will be underdogs in almost all of the eight following games.

FSU has lost to a depleted Virginia Tech team and a Syracuse program that hasn’t had a winning record since 2013 by a combined score of 54-10. And it barely beat FCS opponent Samford. After Northern Illinois, FSU faces seven consecutive teams that went to bowl games last season and then rival Florida.

It’s difficult to find five more wins on this schedule given how FSU is performing.

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