Anthony Boone completed a 22-yard touchdown pass to Isaac Blakeney in the second quarter to give Duke a 10-3 lead at Syracuse. In a fairly even game between ACC schools, Duke holds the seven-point lead at the half in the dome.The teams exchanged field goals in the first quarter.
The teams exchanged field goals in the first quarter, and neither offense has been too pretty this afternoon. Duke owns a slight edge in total offense with 132 yards to Syracuse’s 131 yards, but Syracuse also has one turnover and one more penalty than Duke. Boone has completed 9-of-17 of his attempts for 79 yards. Jamison Crowder has caught five of those passes for 33 yards. Syracuse running back Prince-Tyson Gulley leads the Orange with 33 rushing yards.
Duke is looking to keep pace as the leader in the ACC Coastal Division. This is not a division game, but Duke needs a win to guarantee a stay in first place by themselves at the end of this week. Duke has won three straight ACC games and owns a head-to-head tiebreaker with Georgia Tech (playing NC State at the same time this afternoon). A win here helps Duke set up a potential finish that ends with a second straight division title with three home games after this week to close out the regular season.
No. 1 Florida State (6-0, 4-0 ACC) extended the nation’s longest winning streak to 22 games Saturday at Syracuse (2-4, 0-2 ACC). Quarterback Jameis Winston put aside all of the off-field drama surrounding his name once again and was sharp once again. Winston completed 30-of-36 pass attempts for 317 yards and three touchdowns in Florida State’s 38-20 road victory in ACC play.
Winston was on point right from the start of the game. Just a little more than 12 hours earlier it was reported Winston will face a disciplinary hearing at Florida State for possible violations to the school’s code of conduct, but Winston was locked in once he put a uniform on and took the field. Winston completed all five of his pass attempts on the game’s opening drive, which ended with a touchdown run by Mario Pender, and Winston later added two red zone touchdown passes in the second half. Rashad Greene led all players with 107 yards, and tight end Nick O’Leary added 97 receiving yards and a touchdown.
Syracuse did not go away, but the Orange dug too big a hole to crawl out of as the game unfolded. Syracuse managed to keep attacking Florida State’s defense, piling up 412 yards on the afternoon. It is the first time Florida State has allowed over 400 yards of offense this season. It came with some good balance as well. Syracuse quarterback AJ Long had the better day under center for Syracuse, completing 16-of-27 pass attempts for 167 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but he was also intercepted twice. Prince-Tyson Gulley gave it his best effort but was only able to pick up 80 yards on 16 carries.
The big question following a game like this used to be whether or not Florida State did enough this week to retain its spot atop the polls. With Auburn and Mississippi State meeting in a clash of top three teams, it is possible Florida State could be passed in the poll this week. It may even be expected the way polls seem to react. However, this should not be a concern for Florida State fans. All Florida State has to continue doing is winning games. There is little standing in the way of Florida State and another trip to the ACC Championship Game, and if Florida State manages to run the table it should be expected they should be as much of a lock for a spot in the four-team playoff as any other school could claim to be.
Florida State will host Notre Dame next week. Syracuse will look to snap a four-game losing streak when they head on the road to Wake Forest next Saturday.
Maryland will make its Big Ten debut next week with a road trip to Bloomington, Indiana to play the Hoosiers. The Terps will certainly be heading into their new conference schedule on the right foot after getting the big plays to go their way in defeating Syracuse 34-20 on the road Saturday afternoon.
C.J. Brown passed for 271 yards and two touchdowns and Brandon Ross (97 yards, 1 touchdown) and Marcus Leak (93 yards, 1 touchdown) each came close to 100-yard days. Stefon Diggs may not have had a big stat game but was a key contributor as well with six catches for 56 yards and some work on special teams and the running game. The Maryland offense has shown some good things in non-conference play that should carry over to Big Ten play. But the Maryland defense is going to have to get better.
Despite losing, Syracuse piled up nearly 500 yards of offense against Maryland (roughly 115 more yards than Maryland accumulated). It was big plays that helped Maryland overcome the yardage battle. Maryland had a 90-yard touchdown (Brown to Ross) and an interception returned for an 88-yard touchdown by William Likely. Maryland avoided turning the football over and forced two turnovers in the game. For Syracuse, preventing costly mistakes will be a key area focused on in practice before getting ready to dive into ACC play.
Syracuse first needs to make sure they can count on quarterback Terrel Hunt throwing the football. He completed just half of his attempts against Maryland for 219 yards, but he also added a team-high 143 rushing yards and a touchdown. Syracuse also had a good day from running back Prince-Tyson Gulley with 138 rushing yards and an average of 9.9 yards per carry. The potential is there for Syracuse’s offense if they can put it all together.
Syracuse will face Notre Dame in MetLife Stadium next week, which sort of qualifies as an aCC game with Notre Dame’s relationship with the ACC. But the Orange will officially get started with ACC play the following week against the team that replaced Maryland in the conference, Louisville.
In all likelihood it won’t make a spit bit of difference, but Syracuse could have key pieces from both sides of the football available for its daunting matchup this weekend. Maybe.
Running back Prince-Tyson Gulley and safety Durell Eskridge missed the second half of this past Saturday’s win over Maryland due to injury, the former with an ankle issue and the latter with what was only described as an upper-body injury. Gulley, who actually suffered the injury in the week leading up to the Terps game, was a full participant in practice Tuesday while Eskridge sat out.
Both, however, are expected to play in Saturday’s game against heavily-favored and nationally-ranked Florida State, the Syracuse Post-Standard reported.
Gulley is second on the team in rushing yards with 440 and in rushing touchdowns with four. His 14 receptions are tied for fifth overall and tops among running backs.
Eskridge’s 59 tackles leads the team, while his three interceptions are tied for the best on the Orange.