Backup QB helps rout FSU
Seminoles could only muster 131 yards of offense in first 3 quarters.
Syracuse didn’t even need quar
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — terback Eric Dungey to prolong Florida State’s early-season misery.
Backup Tommy DeVito, who entered the game late in the second quarter, ran 3 yards for a touchdown and threw a 3-yard scoring pass to tight end Ravian Pierce as the Orange overwhelmed the Seminoles 30-7 Saturday at the Carrier Dome.
It was Syracuse’s first victory over Florida State since 1966,
snapping a 10-game losing streak in the series.
The Seminoles (1-2, 0-2 ACC), who didn’t score a touchdown in their opener against Virginia Tech and needed a late rally to defeat FCS opponent Samford, continued to struggle on offense. They managed only 131 yards in the first three quarters and prevented a shutout on a 2-yard TD run by quarterback Deondre Francois with 6:16 to play.
“I still believe in this football team,” first-year coach Willie Taggart said. “We’re not where we want to be or should be offensively.
have a lot of season left. I know people don’t
like hearing it and they’re upset. And they should be. We have to do our part and take care of our business as a football team.”
Dungey, the Orange’s fiery leader, was injured on a late hit to the helmet in the second quarter and never returned. Coach Dino Babers said Dungey was suffering blurred vision from a poke in the eye.
Last year in Tallahassee, Dungey suffered a broken right foot on Syracuse’s fourth play from scrimmage, sat out most of the first half, then returned to nearly lead the Orange to an upset. He accounted for 387 yards and three touchdowns but the Seminoles escaped with a 27-24 victory.
DeVito, a redshirt freshman with little experience, took over with Syracuse (3-0, 1-0) holding a 6-0 lead. He showed great poise in helping the Orange snap a five-game conference losing streak.
DeVito had completions of 33 yards to Jamal Custis and 22 yards to Pierce before scoring his first career touchdown on a keeper up the middle midway through the third quarter to make it 13-0.
“It was the same stuff in practice,” DeVito said. “All the guys rallied behind me.”
DeVito finished 11-for-16 for 144 yards passing with no turnovers. He gave the Orange a commanding 20-0 lead with his toss to Pierce with 3:33 left in the third quarter.
Defensively, Syracuse put the clamps on Francois, who finished 18-for-36 for 178 yards passing with one interception. Francois was sacked four times.
“When he was upright, he played well,” Taggart said. “He got hit quite a bit. It’s hard to play quarterback when you’re on the ground.”
The Seminoles had a chance to take the lead on their final possession of the first half when Francois hit Nyqwan Murray for gains of 20 and 16 yards, but time expired with FSU inside the red zone.
The poor showing left Taggart pleading with his fan base not to give up on his team after three games — the latest a blowout loss to a team that has finished 4-8 the past two seasons.
“They should be (upset),” Taggart said. “We’re not performing the way they expect us to or the way we expect us to. Our fans have every right to be upset. There’s an expectation here. There’s a standard here. And we’re not living up to it.
“But I will tell them, ‘Don’t give up on this football team. Please don’t give up on this football team.’ But if some do, we understand it and we’ll work our tail off to get ’em back.”
In the home locker room, the mood was different.
“They really played their heart out,” said Babers, who led a rousing postgame celebration. “I thought it was a fantastic family win. Those guys (FSU) are the top athletes in the country. To get a win like this, we need to enjoy it.”
Florida State head coach Willie Taggart looks at the scoreboard late in the fourth quarter. “Our fans have every right to be upset. There’s an expectation here. There’s a standard here. And we’re not living up to it.”