The Daily Nole

FSU’s Top 5 Moments vs. Syracuse

Jeff Romance/FSU athletics

Florida State will make its first road trip of the year on Saturday as it travels to Upstate New York to face Syracuse. It’ll be the 12th-ever meeting between the schools and the seventh in Syracuse.

After dropping the first contest in the series, Florida State has not lost to the Orange since. Despite the series having a relatively small history, there have been some notable moments for the Seminoles against Syracuse.

Sam McGrew’s game-sealing interception in 2004 narrowly missed making the list. Here’s a look at the top five moments:

5. FSU Scores 39 Unanswered in Top-10 Showdown
(10) Syracuse 14, (1) Florida State 46
Oct. 5, 1991

No. 10 Syracuse had the look of a road team ready to make a major statement as it invaded Doak Campbell Stadium to start the month of October in 1991. The Orangemen led just 23 seconds in on a 44-yard touchdown reception by Qadry Ismail and 14-7 after a quarter following a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Ismail, but that was the last time Syracuse would score. The No. 1 Seminoles would score the game’s final 39 points in what would turn into a rout. The Seminoles finished with 642 yards of offense to Syracuse’s 185. FSU quarterback Casey Weldon passed for 347 yards and touchdowns to Matt Frier, Shannon Baker and Edgar Bennett. Running backs Amp Lee and Sean Jackson combined for 202 yards on the ground and a touchdown while Clifton Abraham and Terrell Buckley came down with interceptions for the FSU defense.

4. O’Leary Sets FSU TE TD Record
Syracuse 3, (2) Florida State 59
Nov. 16, 2013

There was little drama when Syracuse came to Florida State as the Seminoles wrapped up conference play in 2013. FSU led 28-0 after a quarter and 38-0 at halftime, but it may have been the last offensive touchdown that was most significant in a 56-point rout. With the Seminoles leading 45-0 midway through the quarter, Sean Maguire delivered a beauty of a pass to tight end Nick O’Leary for a 17-yard touchdown. The touchdown pass was the first for the then redshirt freshman, but the catch was the 11th touchdown reception in O’Leary’s career. That tied Melvin Pearsall for the most ever by a Florida State tight end.

3. Greene, O’Leary Set FSU Reception Records
(1) Florida State 38, Syracuse 20
Oct. 11, 2014

Florida State’s 2014 trip to the Carrier Dome was business as usual as the top-ranked Seminoles easily disposed of the Orange. During the contest however, two FSU seniors set records for receptions from the top two pass-catching positions. Tight end Nick O’Leary finished the day with eight catches for 97 yards and a touchdown, but it was a grab early in the first quarter that made history. The early catch was the 83rd of O’Leary’s career, which surpassed Gary Parris’ 32-year-old record for most ever by an FSU tight end. In the third quarter, Rashad Greene hauled in a 9-yard reception, which was the 213th of his career. That surpassed Ron Sellers for the most in school-history. Greene and O’Leary combined for 204 yards receiving in a 38-20 victory.

2. T-Buck Fools the Orangemen
(22) Florida State 41, (17) Syracuse 10
Oct. 7, 1989

For legendary FSU head coach Bobby Bowden, deception was an ally. One of the best cases came on a punt return in the Carrier Dome in 1989. With FSU leading 20-3 midway through the third quarter, cornerback Terrell Buckley casually caught a punt at his own 31-yard-line. Buckley stood still for a couple of seconds to pretend as though he had just fair caught the ball. When the Syracuse coverage team let its guard down, Buckley turned on the jets and raced all the way to the end zone for a 69-yard touchdown. Safety LeRoy Butler, who had perhaps the most famous play of deception the year prior against Clemson, also returned an interception 87 yards for a touchdown in a 41-10 victory.

1. Cook Surpasses Dunn
(17) Florida State 45, Syracuse 14
Nov. 19, 2016

Florida State had no trouble with Syracuse in the final ACC game of 2016, but did manage to make history in the process. With a 41-yard rush on his second carry of the day, junior running back Dalvin Cook surpassed legend Warrick Dunn for the most rushing yards in FSU history. Cook’s record-breaking run was just the beginning as he eclipsed the 4,000-yard career mark before the day was over. Cook finished the day with 225 yards rushing and four touchdowns in a 45-14 victory in his final road game. Cook would cap his career with an MVP performance in the Orange Bowl and an Unanimous All-American honor.

Mike Ferguson is the editor of The Daily Nole. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson

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