TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Cam Akers rushed for 199 yards and a pair of touchdowns and Florida State held off Syracuse 27-24 on Saturday to get its first win at home this season.
The 5-foot-11, 213-pound freshman had touchdown runs of 54 and 63 yards during the second quarter as FSU (3-5, 3-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) built a 21-7 lead and then needed to hold on late. Syracuse’s Cole Murphy had a chance to send the game into overtime but was wide left from 43 yards as time expired.
Akers, who has started the last two weeks due to an injury to Jacques Patrick, has 695 yards this season, which is the third-most in school history by a true freshman.
James Blackman was 12 of 19 for 136 yards. Following a Derwin James interception on Syracuse’s opening drive, Blackman put the Seminoles on the scoreboard on his first pass as he found Nyqwan Murray for a 51-yard touchdown. It was only the second time that Florida State had scored on its opening drive.
It is the first time since Nov. 20, 1976, that Florida State has three offensive touchdowns of 50 yards or more in a game.
Eric Dungey missed most of the first half with a leg injury but accounted for 387 yards of Syracuse’s offense and all three touchdowns. The junior was 24 of 43 for 278 yards and a pair of touchdowns along with 109 yards rushing on 22 carries for the Orange (4-5, 2-3).
Syracuse: The Orange were looking to become the first team since North Carolina in 2010 to defeat Clemson and Florida State in the same season, but going for it on fourth down twice and coming up short ended up looming large. One of those was late in the second quarter when it had a chip-shot chance at a field goal that would have brought them within 21-20 going into halftime. On fourth-and-3 from the FSU 4, Dungey was pressured by James and threw an incomplete pass to the end zone.
Florida State: This game marked the first time this season that the Seminoles had a double-digit lead, yet like the previous weeks it again came down to the final drive. More importantly though the victory means that the Seminoles still have hopes of not missing a bowl game for the first time since 1981.
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Ervin Philips became Syracuse’s career receptions leader, passing Alec Lemon’s mark of 201. The senior had 12 catches for 107 yards, and now has 217 catches for his career.
Syracuse: Hosts Wake Forest on Saturday. The Orange have won all three meetings that have taken place at the Carrier Dome.
Florida State: Travels to Clemson on Saturday looking to end a two-game losing streak to the Tigers.