Backup QB helps rout FSU

Semi­noles could only muster 131 yards of of­fense in first 3 quar­ters.

The Palm Beach Post - - SPORTS - By John Kekis

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.”

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