TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — On an afternoon when Florida State honored its 1993 national championship team, the current Seminoles routed Syracuse and secured a 6-0 start for the first time in eight years.
Jordan Travis ran for two touchdowns and tossed a 56-yard scoring pass to Keon Coleman as No. 4 Florida State routed Syracuse 41-3 on Saturday, the Seminoles’ 12th consecutive win.
Travis completed 23 of 37 passes for 284 yards and a touchdown, shaking off an apparent injury to his non-throwing (left) hand in the second quarter. The senior returned after halftime as the Seminoles (4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) surpassed the 30-point mark for a 12th straight game.
“I want us to be better,” Florida State coach Mike Norvell said. “I am grateful to be 6-0. I am so proud of this team, doing the things that are necessary to get to this point because you get one shot at it. Ultimately, there have been plenty of moments in games where things haven’t gone exactly as we wanted to and we get a chance to showcase our response. But then you have to learn from it.
“You can’t make the same mistakes over and over and over again. It’s not about the teams that we’re playing. It’s about how we continue to push, how we continue to improve. That needs to be our ultimate focus.”
The last FSU team to win six straight to open a season finished 10-3 under Jimbo Fisher in 2015. This year's Seminoles have played with an injured Travis, and one of the team’s top receivers, Johnny Wilson, did not play against Syracuse after leaving last week’s game due to an injury.
Coleman stepped in and delivered in a big way. The junior transfer from Michigan State tied his season best in receptions (nine) and had a season-high 140 receiving yards. He elevated in the first quarter to make a one-handed 27-yard grab to set up a touchdown, added a touchdown in the second quarter and had a 72-yard punt return that set up a field goal.
“God was showing off when he made him,” Syracuse coach Dino Babers said.
Coleman said he felt a need to be productive but not necessarily step up in Wilson’s absence.
“It was really just my brother is down, just making sure I go even harder because he’s not here,” Coleman said. “Make the other team feel his half.”
Florida State’s defense was dominant, forcing Syracuse to punt nine times while also producing a fumble and an interception of backup Carlos Del Rio Wilson in the final seconds.
Syracuse’s Garrett Shrader completed 9 of 21 passes for 99 yards but was ineffective on the ground and netted minus-10 yards when factoring in sacks on seven carries.
LeQuint Allen had 19 carries for 110 yards for Syracuse (4-3, 0-3 ACC).
Shrader came down with food poisoning on Friday night, Babers said postgame. The Syracuse quarterback played for three quarters and left the game when the Orange began sending in reserves.
“He was extremely dehydrated,” Babers said. “At halftime, he was just all sweat.”
Absent an upset at the very top of the polls, Florida State will likely maintain its No. 4 spot in the polls.
More than 50 players from Florida State’s 1993 national championship team returned for a 30-year reunion this weekend. Among the star players to return were Heisman Trophy winner Charlie Ward, Pro Football Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks and longtime NFL tailback Warrick Dunn.
Assistant coaches from the 1993 season, including current ACC Network analyst Mark Richt, also returned. Many of the coaches and players spoke with the current Seminoles either on Friday night or pregame.
Syracuse: The Orange couldn’t get much of anything going on offense, punting nine times, fumbling once and tossing an interception in the game’s final seconds. Their average starting field position was their own 22.
Florida State: The Seminoles didn’t allow a touchdown in a game for the first time this season. Florida State has allowed just one offensive touchdown in the last three games.
Syracuse: Visits Virginia Tech on Oct. 26.
Florida State: Hosts No. 17 Duke on Saturday.