Steve Infanti’s Keys to Victory: SU vs Florida State

Zack Mahoney-118809342

SYRACUSE, NY – SEPTEMBER 26: Zack Mahoney #16 of the Syracuse Orange calls out to teammates before the snap during the first half against the LSU Tigers on September 26, 2015 at The Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

Syracuse University heads into its final two games of the season with an injury depleted lineup.

Nevertheless, on Saturday, the Orange will aim for an upset when Florida State visits the Carrier Dome.

What will it take for SU to win?

Here are NewsChannel 9 Steve Infanti’s keys to and Orange victory:

Safety in Numbers

Dino Babers seemed satisfied with Zack Mahoney’s performance against NC State.

While there’s definitely room for him improve, Babers has repeatedly said during the week that he’s looking for the other 21 players on the field to help pick up the slack.

On the offensive side of the ball especially, that won’t be easy.

Backup center Colin Byrne has been ruled out for the Florida State game. 

With Jason Emerich already out for the season, that leaves a third-string center (Donnie Foster) and a banged up offensive line in front of Mahoney. 

The Seminoles have NFL talent across the front of their defensive line.  On paper, it appears to be a major mismatch up front.

In order to hang in this game, Babers better get his wish — the other 10 guys on offense better do their jobs or this thing could get out of hand in a hurry.

Contain Cook

Easier said than done, right? 

Dalvin Cook is statistically the top running back in the ACC (second in total rushing yards to Louisville QB Lamar Jackson). 

It won’t be too long before this kid is playing on Sundays. 

He returns to the site of his “coming out party.” 

Cook’s first 100-yard game in college came back on October 11, 2014.  The ‘Noles traveled to the Dome and watched as a freshman rushed for 122 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries in a 38-20 FSU victory. 

Now a junior, Cook has established himself as one of the premiere runners in the country. 

If he gets to the outside, you can forget about catching him. 

Cook has the combination of speed and physicality that NFL scouts are looking for. 

If the Orange defense is going to slow him down to some degree, it’s going to have to be a group effort. 

Keep Cook under 100 yards rushing and Syracuse has a chance of keeping this game close.

Senior Send-Off:

Prior to the game, a group of 22 will honored for their contributions to the SU football program. 

For the seniors who have been in the program five years, they’ve especially been through a lot. 

From Doug Marrone to Scott Shafer, now to Dino Babers. 

This senior class is on its third head coach. 

Though the Orange is undermanned heading into this game, the underclassmen need to dig deep and play for the seniors. 

This group deserves to be honored with one last memorable moment inside the Dome. 

Can Syracuse knock off Florida State?  It’s highly unlikely. 

But hopefully an inspired effort will make things interesting by keeping the Orange in striking distance throughout the contest.

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