Syracuse makes too many mistakes to stick with No. 1 Florida State in 38-20 loss

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Just as quickly as Syracuse received a breath of life, it gave it right back.After pouncing on a mishandled punt, the Orange was set up at the Florida State 21-yard line with a chance to cut the Seminoles’ lead from 18 points to two scores.AJ Long, as steady as he’d been to that point of the game, reminded everyone he’s still a freshman. Facing pressure, he threw a pass that FSU’s Nate Andrews picked off and the Carrier Dome groaned as another scoring opportunity for SU was lost.The Orange did snap a string of 100-plus minutes without scoring a touchdown on Saturday afternoon, but it wasn’t enough. SU’s (2-4, 0-2 Atlantic Coast) youth took the team a step in the right direction, yet the recurrence of missed opportunities shot down any chance the Orange had of staging an upset in a 38-20 loss to the No. 1 Seminoles (6-0, 4-0).Florida State and Jameis Winston flexed their muscle and powered through SU for the victory, spoiling Tim Lester’s debut as SU offensive coordinator before a gathering of 43,295 in the Carrier Dome.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I really believed we could beat this team,” SU head coach Scott Shafer said, “and we didn’t get that done today.”But, considering all that’s happened in the last three weeks, the discussion of missed chances — and not embarrassment at the hands of the nation’s top-ranked team — is a positive in itself.After Austin Wilson threw an interception on SU’s first drive, the Orange settled for a field goal after three failed attempts at the end zone from inside the 10 on Long’s first collegiate drive under center. On the first play of the next drive, Durell Eskridge dropped an interception on a deep ball from Winston, who then made SU pay by leading the Seminoles down the field for a 17-3 edge.“You can put them up against anyone,” SU cornerback Julian Whigham said.Midway through the second quarter, the Orange pounced on a fumble inside the 20, but again settles for a field goal. SU then marched inside the 10 right before the break, but came away with nothing and the Seminoles led 24-6 heading into the half.“We’ve just got to keep working on it,” left tackle Sean Hickey said. “I sound like a broken record, but it’s what you have to do.”By halftime, it had been more than 95 minutes of game time since Syracuse’s offense had finished a drive with a touchdown. Lester’s reign as offensive coordinator had yet to resolve that issue. The bend of the Orange’s defense was on the verge of breaking against Winston, who orchestrated another lengthy drive to pile on more points on FSU’s first possession of the second half. Then, momentum slowly churned in SU’s direction.The Orange finally struck gold on offense with a well-placed, 22-yard touchdown pass from Long to fellow freshman Steve Ishmael. After that, the SU defense forced a three-and-out to get the ball back.But on the Orange’s next possession, Long’s inexperience got the best of him as he threw the interception to Andrews. He and Ishmael would link up again for a touchdown to draw the score to 38-20, but a few more missed chances in the second half kept SU at that length.Cornerback Brandon Reddish got his hands on a would-be interception three plays before Winston threw his third touchdown pass of the day. Winston later fumbled from the pocket, but SU couldn’t run it down. Long, hit as he threw, tossed an interception with five minutes left that sent fans to the exits.Shafer doesn’t believe in moral victories. Hickey can’t accept them, either.But looking at how the Seminoles dismantled the Orange, 59-3, last year and how the past three weeks have transpired, Hickey found a bit of solace in progress.“It’s a step in the right direction,” Hickey said. “Last year, we felt like we didn’t get that respect because we didn’t deserve it. We got destroyed. “And this year we wanted to make them earn the win and earn some respect and I felt we did that.” Comments Published on October 11, 2014 at 3:44 pm Contact Phil: [email protected] | @PhilDAbblast_img

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