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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – With Florida State’s star running back and starting quarterback both watching from the sidelines, the Seminoles didn’t miss a beat against Syracuse on Saturday.
Sean Maguire and Travis Rudolph handled the passing game and freshman Jacques Patrick took care of the running as No. 15 FSU cruised to a 45-21 victory over the Orange here at Doak Campbell Stadium.
The Seminoles (7-1, 5-1 ACC) bounced back from last week’s loss at Georgia Tech despite missing seven starters – Cook, Golson, linemen Ryan Hoefeld and Brock Eberle, linebacker Terrance Smith and defensive backs Trey Marshall and Tyler Hunter. They’ll visit No. 3 Clemson next week.
Maguire, a fourth-year junior, made the second start of his career after starter Everett Golson was ruled out with concussion-like symptoms. He answered the call by completing 23 of 35 passes for 348 yards and three touchdowns, all of them to Rudolph.
Maguire had 302 yards by halftime, becoming the first Seminole to reach that mark after two quarters since Chris Weinke did it against Clemson in 2000. (Weinke also threw for 302 yards.)
Rudolph hit a halftime high, too. His 172 yards at the break were the most since at least 2000, and he finished with five catches for 191 yards and three scores. He had never before reached 100 yards in a single game.
Rudolph’s spectacular 75-yard catch-and-run in the first quarter tied the game at 7-7. And his 45-yarder on FSU’s next drive gave the Seminoles a lead they never relinquished.
Patrick, meanwhile, made sure FSU’s running game stayed in high gear.
With Cook sidelined by an ankle injury, Patrick, a former five-star prospect from Orlando, got the first start of his career. And he more than made the most of it, totaling 224 yards (162 rushing, 62 receiving) and three touchdowns, the first two of which helped FSU to a 28-14 lead at halftime.
Maguire’s third touchdown pass of the day, a 19-yarder to Rudolph in the back of the end zone, put the Seminoles up by three touchdowns.
Patrick later added his third score of the day early in the fourth quarter, and Roberto Aguayo kicked a 35-yard field goal that provided the final margin.
After punts on their first two drives, the Seminoles finished with 303 total yards. And FSU’s defense had another fine outing, limiting the Orange to just 130 pass yards and 14 first downs.
Freshman Derwin James and senior linebacker Reggie Northrup each tied for the team lead with 12 tackles while James added two TFLs. James recovered a fumble forced by fellow freshman Josh Sweat that led to an FSU touchdown.
And, with two sacks of SU quarterback Eric Dungey, the Seminoles’ defense posted its 18th sack of the season, eclipsing its 2014 total of 17 in just eight games.