No. 17 Florida State Seminoles (7-3 SU, 5-5 ATS) vs. Syracuse Orange (4-6 SU, 4-6 ATS)
College Football Week 12
Date/Time: Saturday November 19th, 2016. 3:30PM (EST)
Where: Carrier Dome Syracuse, N.Y.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: FSU -20.5/SYR +20.5
Over/Under Total: TBA
The no. 18 Florida State Seminoles scored a resounding 45-7 victory over Boston College this past weekend in Tallahassee. Quarterback Deondre Francois threw for 3 touchdowns and Dalvin Cook went over the 100 yard mark for the 6th time in the last 7 games to lead the Seminoles offense. Meanwhile Florida States defense, that has received a lot of scrutiny this season, had one of their best outings of the year limiting the Eagles to just 146 total yards. This week Florida State tries to build some momentum off of last weeks performance, before their rivalry meeting with Florida in two weeks, as they go into the Carrier Dome to meet the Syracuse Orange.
The Orange will enter this Saturdays showdown as significantly large 20.5 point underdogs. In fact, it marks just the 2nd time this season that Syracuse was 20 plus point underdogs. The other instance that happened was against Virginia Tech when the Orange covered the 22 point spread in a 31-17 outright victory inside the Carrier Dome. Therefore, Syracuse will not only look to cover this weekend against Florida State but also attempt another surprising upset as well.
The good news is that Syracuse has some tangibles that can be used to attack the Seminoles defense. It is not a secret that the Seminoles have struggled significantly against the pass this season giving up 236 yards per game through the air (76th in FBS). The Seminoles have been really solid against the run which was part of the reason they were so impressive against Boston College last week. I specifically pointed out that Boston College was at a big disadvantage in that game due to their inability to throw the football and backed the idea of laying the points with FSU despite a 3 touchdown point spread.
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However, Florida State does not matchup as well against this Syracuse team that houses the exact same record as Boston College at 4-6 SU. The reason is that the Orange has a passing offense that can expose the Seminoles weaknesses against the pass. Possibly the biggest determining factor towards Syracuses chances this weekend will reside on the injury status of quarterback Eric Dungey. Dungey has been a big asset for the offense this season with a minimum of 300 yards passing in 6 of his 8 starts. However, Dungey suffered a head and shoulder injury in the loss to Clemson and also missed last weeks game against North Carolina State. Originally the Syracuse coaching staff expected Dungey to be back this week but his status is starting to develop more doubt as the week progresses.
It is worth noting that junior backup quarterback Zack Mahoney has completed just 15 of 29 passing for 198 yards with 1 score and 1 pick since Dungey went down. Mahoney got the start last week over Austin Wilson who took over during the Clemson game. Mahoney is expected to be the quarterback again if Dungey is not able to play. Either way it will be downgrade at the quarterback position for Syracuse if their starter is sidelined for another week and puts some serious strain on their ability to compete in this game.
Florida State has not had any problem moving the football in recent weeks. As stated early, Dalvin Cook has reached the 100 yard mark in 6 of the last 7 games and quarterback Deondre Francois is getting better with each passing week. The Syracuse defense has been nothing but problems this year giving up 34.2 points per game which ranks 106th in the FBS. I have little confidence that the Orange will be able to stop Dalvin Cook and this Seminoles offense. However, a cover is still within reach if they can get solid play at the quarterback position.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: This is a risky play given the uncertainties at quarterback for Syracuse. However, I still think Mahoney can play well and give Syracuse some chances to get the ball in the hands of WR Amba Etta-Tawo who leds the ACC with 1,242 receiving yards. As long as Syracuse can find ways to manufacture points, I think they are the play here. Take Syracuse +20.5
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