Seminoles avoid shutout with late TD but lose to Orange for first time at Carrier Dome
Tommy DeVito scored on a 3-yard run and hit tight end Ravian Pierce with a 3-yard score, and Syracuse overcame an injury to starting quarterback Eric Dungey to beat Florida State 30-7 on Saturday in the sweltering heat of the Carrier Dome.
Dungey was hurt late in the second quarter after a late hit to the helmet and never returned as the Orange took a slim 6-0 lead into the break.
Last year in Tallahassee, Dungey suffered a broken right foot on the Orange's fourth play from scrimmage, sat out most of the first half, and returned to nearly lead Syracuse to an upset. He accounted for 387 yards of Syracuse's offense and all three touchdowns, but the Seminoles escaped with a 27-24 victory.
Dungey, the team's fiery leader, never returned on this day and it didn't matter as DeVito, a redshirt freshman with scant experience, exhibited great poise in guiding the Orange (3-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) in the second half as they snapped a five-game conference losing streak.
Florida State (1-2, 0-2) finished with 240 yards offensively and prevented the shutout on a 2-yard run by quarterback Deondre Francois with 6:16 to play. The Seminoles were 4-0 in the Carrier Dome entering the game and had won 10 straight games in the series since 1966.
DeVito had completions of 33 yards to Jamal Custis and hit Pierce with a swing pass for 22 more before scoring his first career touchdown on a keeper up the middle midway through the third quarter.
DeVito, who finished 11 of 16 for 144 yards and no turnovers, gave the Orange a commanding 20-0 lead with his toss to Pierce with 3:33 left in the third. FSU had not allowed a point in the third quarter and just 10 second-half points in splitting the first two games against then-No. 20 Virginia Tech and FCS foe Samford.
Defensively, Syracuse put the clamps on Francois, who finished 18 of 36 for 178 yards passing with one interception and was sacked four times. Cam Akers led the Seminoles on the ground with 52 yards on 10 carries. FSU finished with just 62 yards rushing.
Dungey was knocked out of the game after a helmet-to-helmet hit while he was on the turf at the end of a run. A personal foul was assessed and DeVito entered. He hit Custis along the right side for 16 yards to set up a first-and-goal at the 1, but the Florida State defense stuffed Dontae Strickland on three straight running plays over left tackle, forcing a 19-yard field goal by Andre Szmyt.
Francois got untracked on the final possession of the half and hit Nyqwan Murray for gains of 20 and 16 yards, threading the needle both times among several Orange defenders. But time expired with the Seminoles inside the red zone and the second half was a bust.
Strickland scored on a 13-yard run late in the fourth to complete the scoring.
The Seminoles have fallen on hard times under first-year coach Willie Taggart. The offense has sputtered every game. Francois, who missed most of last season with an injury, has only clicked in spurts and the run game has been dismal behind an offensive line that's trying to find itself.
The Orange are unbeaten and seem poised to finally break out of the rut that has seen them finish 4-8 three straight times. Even if Dungey misses more games, DeVito proved he's a capable backup against a foe with a storied past.