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Florida State 59, Syracuse 3

The SportsXchange

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Under a microscope like never before, embattled Heisman Trophy favorite Jameis Winston and No. 2 Florida State overcame a week of distractions to beat Syracuse on Saturday, 59-3, and remain undefeated.

Winston, the Seminoles' freshman quarterback who was linked to a 2012 sexual assault investigation on Wednesday but hasn't been arrested or charged with any crime, passed for 277 yards and two touchdowns in only one as Florida State (10-0 overall, 8-0 in the ACC) raced out to a 38-0 halftime lead.

Wide receiver Kenny Shaw led Florida State with seven catches for 99 yards, while the Seminoles' rushing attack was paced by Karlos Williams, who ran for 78 yards on only four carries.

Florida State's fourth-ranked FBS defense got big games from Reggie Northup, who had 10 tackles, and Chris Casher, who forced a fumble in the third quarter that he returned for a 31-yard touchdown.

Syracuse (5-5, 3-3) was held to 68 yards of offense before halftime and was outgained overall, 523-247, as the Orange saw their two-game winning streak snapped.

Syracuse's top running back, who came into the game tied for the ACC lead with 11 touchdowns, never found the end zone and managed only five yards on five carries.

The Orange's other standout back, Prince-Tyson Gulley, sustained a lower-body injury on his first carry and did not return.

Devante McFarlane led Syracuse on the ground with 14 carries for 85 yards, while the Orange's only points came on Ryan Norton's 32-yard field goal late in the game.

Florida State is 10-0 for the sixth time in school history and first since 1999, the last time the Seminoles won the national title.

Players from the 1993 national title team returned to Doak Campbell Stadium on Saturday and were honored during a pregame ceremony celebrating the 20-year anniversary of Florida State's first national championship.

Shortly after, the march to the program's third championship continued.

The Orange's defense, which had given up only three points in its last two games, was gashed on the Seminoles' opening drive for 77 yards in six plays, during which Winston was a perfect 4-for-4 passing for 75 yards.

James Wilder Jr. capped the march with the first of his two touchdown runs, a three-yarder.

Following a quick three-and-out by the Orange on their first possession, it took Florida State one play to make it 14-0, thanks in large part to Winston.

Kermit Whitfield took the handoff from Winston at Florida State's 26 and found the open field with only one man to beat. Out of nowhere came a sprinting Winston, who laid a block on Julian Whigham of Syracuse some 50 yards from the line of scrimmage to free Whitfield for the score.

The Seminoles' sideline erupted in front of their quarterback as he sprang to his feet, rushing toward the end zone to celebrate.

Devonta Freeman, Florida State's leading rusher, added a four-yard touchdown run on the Seminoles' third possession, and Rashad Greene caught a six-yard scoring pass from Winston on its fourth to put the Seminoles ahead, 28-0, with 40 seconds left in the first quarter.

The rout was on, and all the "clutter" that coach Jimbo Fisher worried might affect Winston never surfaced.

Winston was 10-for-10 for 170 yards in the first quarter and was done by halftime, finishing 19-of-21. He was replaced in the third quarter by fellow freshman Sean Maguire.

Maguire was solid in relief, leading a drive out of halftime that ended with a 37-yard touchdown run by Wilder to put Florida State comfortably ahead, 45-0.

Maguire's second drive featured a 17-yard touchdown pass to tight end Nick O'Leary.

Florida State, which has the No. 1-ranked pass defense in the nation, shut down Syracuse's passing attack, giving up only 104 yards through the air.

The Seminoles have allowed only one team, Maryland, to go over 200 yards passing in a game this season. Syracuse's top receiver was McFarlane, with one catch for 23 yards.

NOTES: Following Saturday's loss, Syracuse will try to become bowl-eligible for the third straight season next week at home against Pittsburgh. ... Florida State's victory continued its recent ACC dominance, stretching its conference winning streak to 14 games dating to last season, while outscoring opponents, 632-183, in that span. ... Syracuse also faced the No. 2 team in the nation last season when it played USC, which beat the Orange, 42-29 ... Florida State leads the all-time series against Syracuse, 6-1, including six wins in a row ... Florida State freshman kicker Roberto Aguayo broke the ACC record for consecutive extra points in a season with 67 after entering the game 61-of-61 and making eight in a row Saturday to finish at 69. Aguayo also added a career-long field goal of 53 yards in the first half.
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