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Winston leads Florida State past Syracuse

Oct 11, 2014 - 9:56 PM Syracuse, NY ( - Jameis Winston threw for 317 yards with three touchdowns, as top-ranked Florida State extended the nation's longest winning streak to 22 games with a 38-20 victory over Syracuse on Saturday at the Carrier Dome.

Winston played nearly flawless football under another cloud of potential controversy, as he is facing a student code of conduct hearing stemming from a December 2012 accusation of sexual misconduct. He was not arrested or charged after the state attorney concluded an investigation in December 2013. A date for the latest inquiry has not yet been set.

"As the season goes on, we are going to get better and better," said Winston. "It's not about distractions, it's about playing Florida State football."

The reigning Heisman Trophy winner completed 30-of-36 passes and Rashad Greene became Florida State's all-time leader in receptions after catching six passes for 107 yards. Tight end Nick O'Leary hauled in a career-best eight balls for 97 yards with a touchdown for the Seminoles (6-0, 4-0 ACC), who will face a stiffer test next week when Notre Dame visits Doak Campbell Stadium.

Austin Wilson and A.J. Long split duties at quarterback in place of the injured Terrel Hunt for Syracuse (2-4, 0-2), which has lost four straight since a 2-0 start. Hunt suffered a broken leg last week against Louisville and will be sidelined for the next 4-to-6 weeks.

"I saw some good things that were encouraging," Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer said. "We need to do a good job understanding just how important it is that when we have opportunities that we have to make them."

Wilson started under center and threw for 89 yards with an interception, while Long completed 16-of-27 throws for 167 yards with a pair of touchdowns and interceptions.

Syracuse also changed responsibilities among its coaching staff this week, as Tim Lester took over as the offensive coordinator for George McDonald. The Orange moved the ball but still struggled to score, as four trips to the red zone in the first half resulted in a pair of field goals, an interception and a turnover on downs.

The Seminoles, meanwhile, countered with three touchdowns and a field goal on their four trips into the red zone during the first half and were never really threatened.

Florida State took the opening kickoff and marched 70 yards on eight plays for a touchdown. Winston completed each of his five passes and ran for five yards before Mario Pender capped the series with a 12-yard touchdown run.

Syracuse answered with a lengthy drive inside the Florida State 20, but Wilson was intercepted by Jalen Ramsey and the Seminoles went 44 yards the other way for a 34-yard field goal from Roberto Aguayo to make it 10-0.

Long played the second offensive series at quarterback for Syracuse and had the Orange again knocking on the door with a first down at the FSU 7-yard line, but the Seminoles forced a 21-yard Cole Murphy field goal early in the second quarter.

Greene's 44-yard catch-and-run set up a first down at the Syracuse 5 on the next Florida State possession and Winston floated a 4-yard TD pass to Pender just two plays later for a 17-3 advantage.

The Orange pinned the Seminoles inside their own 10-yard line with a punt and Pender fumbled two plays later, giving Syracuse the ball at the FSU 16. Once again, the Syracuse offense sputtered and Murphy kicked a 32-yard field goal.

Winston then efficiently directed another Florida State series that ended with a touchdown. He connected on each of his five throws during the six-play set and finished it with a perfect 21-yard strike down the seam to O'Leary.

Wilson was at the controls for the next Syracuse possession and 41-yard pass to Jarrod West again put the Orange at the FSU 10, but they still could not dent the end zone. Three ineffective carries from Adonis Ameen-Moore left a fourth down from the six and Wilson's fade pass was knocked out of Steve Ishmael's hands to force a turnover on downs and the Seminoles went to the break with a 24-6 edge.

After a Syracuse punt to start the second half, Winston again put Florida State in the end zone with a 7-yard TD pass to Jesus Wilson. The Orange finally reached the end zone on the ensuing possession when a 35-yard run by Prince-Tyson Gulley set up a 22-yard touchdown pass from Long to Ishmael.

Syracuse caught a break late in the third when Florida State muffed a punt at its own 21, but a pressured Long was trying to throw the ball out of bounds on the very next play and was picked off by Nate Andrews at the FSU 8-yard line. The Seminoles then embarked on a 10-play drive and Dalvin Cook scored on a 7- yard run for a 38-13 lead just 1:15 into the fourth.

Long and Ishmael hooked up for a 35-yard score just over three minutes later, and Long's second interception on the next Syracuse series allowed Florida State to run out the remaining five minutes.

Game Notes

Pender left the contest with a leg injury after his fumble. He had nine carries for 46 yards and caught three passes for 15 yards ... Cook took over and finished with 122 yards on 23 carries ... Syracuse compiled 412 yards, while Florida State had 482 ... Greene now has 215 career receptions, surpassing the school mark of 212 set by Ron Sellers from 1966-68 ... Florida State improved to 7-1 all-time against Syracuse, winning each of the last seven meetings. The Seminoles posted a 59-3 victory last year in Tallahassee ... Syracuse fell to 1-9 all-time against AP No. 1 teams, the only victory coming 30 years ago against Nebraska. The Orange also lost to a top-ranked Florida State team in 1991, dropping a 46-14 decision in Tallahassee ... The Orange will visit Wake Forest next Saturday.