Florida State hits rock bottom with embarrassing loss to Syracuse, its first since 1966

USATSI

Willie Taggart probably won't be "one-and-done" as the coach at Florida State.

The mere fact that this sentence can be written three games into the season tells you just how bad things have gone for the first-year coach of the Seminoles. In the first road trip of the year, they fell to Syracuse 30-7 in a game that resembled the first two of Taggart's tenure in Tallahassee, Florida -- an absolute mess. It was Florida State's first loss to Syracuse since 1966.

The offense that was billed to be operate with "lethal simplicity" has been simply dreadful. The offensive line -- a seemingly annual problem for the garnet and gold -- actually looks worse now than it did under the previous regime. Quarterback Deondre Francois was sacked four times, pressured on nearly every play and had no chance to find receivers deep downfield. It was so bad that late in the game Francois stopped helping his offensive linemen up off the ground.

Third down offense? That was nearly non-existent too regardless of distance. The Seminoles went 1-for-14 on third down and added a missed fourth down just for good measure. 

Defensively, the Seminoles let Orange backup quarterback Tommy DeVito pick them apart after starter Eric Dungey left after being poked in the eye. DeVito, a four-star prospect in the class of 2017, completed 11-of-15 passes for 144 yards and a touchdown.

To put it more simply, the Seminoles (1-2) got dominated in every facet of the game by an under-manned team. This year, that's par for the course for the once-proud Seminoles. 

In the opener on Labor Day night against Virginia Tech, they turned the ball over three times and couldn't get the offense cranked up thanks to the offensive line. One week later against FCS Samford, the Seminoles needed a furious fourth quarter comeback against a Bulldogs team that turned the ball over five times in the game.

That shouldn't happen to a team that has finished in the top 11 of the 247Sports Composite team recruiting rankings in each of the last four years. A transition to Taggart from Jimbo Fisher is no excuse for being unorganized, uninspired, distracted and consistently being dominated despite a marked advantage in overall talent. 

If you thought rock bottom for Florida State was last year's fall from preseason No. 3 to 7-6 and and the departure of Fisher, you were sorely mistaken. Taggart's "lethal simplicity" has killed any idea Seminoles fans had becoming relevant on the national scene in 2018.

But Taggart won't be one-and-done. Probably. 

College Football Writer

Barrett Sallee has been a member of the sports media in various aspects since 2001. He is currently a college football writer for CBS Sports, while also hosting on SiriusXM College on channel 84, the SEC... Full Bio

Our Latest Stories