FSU Football: How did #Tribe19 play against Syracuse?

TALLAHASSEE, FL - OCTOBER 01: Florida State Seminoles fans during the game against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Doak Campbell Stadium on October 1, 2016 in Tallahassee, Florida. (Photo by Jeff Gammons/Getty Images)
TALLAHASSEE, FL - OCTOBER 01: Florida State Seminoles fans during the game against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Doak Campbell Stadium on October 1, 2016 in Tallahassee, Florida. (Photo by Jeff Gammons/Getty Images) /

After FSU football’s win over Syracuse on Saturday, Chop Chat’s Sam Tschida takes a look at how the true freshmen played against the Demon Deacons.

FSU Football got back in the win column on Saturday with a dominating 35-17 over Syracuse in Tallahassee. For the first time in several years, FSU put away a Power Five by the end of the third quarter and made it a much more relaxing game for ‘Noles fans everywhere.

One of the biggest factors in the win was the play of the true freshmen, who received a ton of snaps during the game. Here’s how they did.


For the first time in a long time, two true freshman offensive linemen received a start for the ‘Noles. Dontae Lucas got another nod as a starter, his fifth of the season and first time at left guard, while Darius Washington took over starting duties at left tackle.

Florida State Seminoles Football
Florida State Seminoles Football /

Florida State Seminoles Football

Both Lucas and Washington had themselves a nice day blocking wise. They helped pave the way for one of the best rushing attacks the ‘Noles have had in a long time (241 yards, 5.1 YPC). They also helped keep Alex Hornibrook relatively clean, allowing only two sacks against a decent Syracuse defensive line.

PFF grades have not come out yet, but Lucas once again showed flashes of how good he can be in the future. He controlled the middle of the line and opened big holes for Cam Akers, who had a career day. However, Lucas did leave the game with an injury in the second quarter and did not return.

Washington played very well in his first start against a pair of very good outside edge rushers for the Orange. He didn’t fare as well in pass protection, allowing two quarterback hurries and a sack, but was very good at run blocking for the ‘Noles.

He does a great job here of getting to the second level and driving the linebacker way back into the end zone (and is joined on a double team by Lucas, who made a mistake by not helping #60 at the line of scrimmage).

The block helped open a hole for a touchdown and was indicative of how well Washington run blocked the entire day.

Washington was solid all night, but he will have a big test next week against a stout Miami front seven.

With the blowout win came playing time for the backups, and two more true freshmen saw playing time against the Orange. Both Maurice Smith and Ira Henry III got snaps during the fourth quarter and saw action for the first time all season. Both players got reps at right and left guard, and were in on three drives during the 4th, none of which resulted in points.

Smith and Henry are redshirting this season and it’s unlikely they’ll get any playing time in any other games besides Alabama State, but it was good to see more members of Tribe19 getting action on Saturday.


While it came against a bad offense, the FSU defense dominated Syracuse on Saturday, keeping the Orange to just 3 points until the 4th quarter in garbage time. Due to a lot of injuries on defense, many members of Tribe19 saw significant playing time on Saturday, with many having career days.

Starting on the backend, Akeem Dent got another start at free safety in place of the injured Cyrus Fagan. Dent didn’t see much action in terms of stats but did manage to record one tackle and a pass defended. He did do a good job providing help in zone coverage and didn’t give Syracuse many areas to throw to.

Elsewhere in the secondary, Brendan Gant and Raymond Woodie III all got significant playing time, as did Renardo Green. Gant recorded two tackles, one of which went for a loss, while Woodie had a tackle that was his first career sack. Green played field corner for most of the day and didn’t record any stats. In a game where the opposing QB was severely limited, it was a great game from the young guns in the secondary.

Moving to the front seven, Jaleel McRae saw a lot of playing time in place of the injured Dontavious Jackson and recorded two stops on the ground. Kalen Deloach also got his first snaps of the season at outside linebacker and recorded a tackle.

On the defensive line, Tru Thompson continued to get reps behind Robert Cooper, and while he only recorded one tackle, he dominated the interior Syracuse offensive line for much of the game. Derrick McLendon also got his first recorded tackle of the season and recorded the first sack of his career.

Bottom Line

It was a dominating performance from the ‘Noles, and a major reason for the blowout was from the play of the true freshmen. A ton of these guys got significant playing time and played extremely well. It didn’t come against a good team, but it was great to see Tribe19 make such a big impact in an ACC game.