Behind a strong offensive performance both through the air and on the ground, Florida State topped Syracuse, 45-21, at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee on Saturday afternoon.
With the loss, Syracuse falls to 3-5 overall on the season and to 1-3 in Atlantic Coast Conference play. The Orange must now win three of its final five games to become bowl eligible. Meanwhile, Florida State improves to 7-1 overall and 5-1 in conference play with the win.
Syracuse led early on Saturday, taking a 7-0 lead in the first quarter after Dontae Strickland's 62-yard reception set up an Eric Dungey one-yard touchdown run. But it was all Florida State after that play; the Seminoles finished the game on a 45-14 run, thanks largely to its near-perfect play on offense, which started with its quarterback.
Maguire finished 23-of-35 for 348 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. He repeatedly had success throwing the ball down the field, where Syracuse's secondary was often torched by Florida State receivers.
In particular, Maguire connected frequently with wide receiver Travis Rudolph, who had five receptions for 191 yards -- an average of of 38.2 yards per catch -- and three touchdowns.
The two first connected for a touchdown in the first quarter. It came on a 75-yard strike and immediately after Dungey’s touchdown, tying the score at 7-7. Then, later in the quarter, Maguire found Rudolph again for a touchdown -- this time on a 45-yard pass to put the Seminole sup 14-7.
Later, in the third quarter and with the game somewhat still hanging in the balance, Maguire hit Rudolph for a 19-yard score, giving Florida State a 35-14 lead and effectively putting the game away.
Meanwhile, Jesus Wilson and Jacques Patrick combined to catch 12 passes for 131 yards.
Patrick was also successful on the ground. With running back Dalvin Cook sitting out of today’s game, Patrick took over the starting duties at running back and the Seminoles’ running game hardly missed a beat. Patrick logged 24 carries, finishing with 162 yards rushing and three touchdowns, becoming the fourth running back this season to rush for at least 100 yards against the Orange.
Syracuse’s offense wasn’t nearly as prolific. Quarterback Eric Dungey had one of his least efficient games of the season, completing just 11 of 24 throws for only 120 yards and zero touchdowns. He did run the ball 13 times and for two touchdowns, but he finished with only 46 yards on the ground.
SU’s one bright spot was George Morris II. He ran for a team-high 55 yards on six carries, averaging a game-high 9.2 yards per rush. But it wasn’t enough for the Orange to prevail.
Syracuse next takes the field in a week, when it travels to Kentucky for a date with the Louisville Cardinals at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. Kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m. and, as always, you can listen to live game action on 88.3 WAER-FM.