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CFN Take: Syracuse O Falters To Duke

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Nov 8, 2014


2014 Syracuse Orange ... Head Coach: Scott Shafer


2014 Syracuse Orange

2014 Schedule
Record: 3-7

Aug. 30 Villanova W 27-26 2OT
Sep. 6 OPEN DATE
Sep. 13 at Central Mich W 40-3
Sep. 20 Maryland L 34-20
Sep. 27 No Dame (in NJ) L 31-15
Oct. 3 Louisville L 28-6
Oct. 11 Florida State L 38-20
Oct. 18 at Wake Forest W 30-7
Oct. 25 at Clemson L 16-6
Nov. 1 NC State L 24-17
Nov. 8 Duke L 27-10
Nov. 15 OPEN DATE
Nov. 22 at Pitt
Nov. 29 at Boston College
Nov. 8 Duke 27, at Syracuse 10
And You Care Because … Duke busted through a 10-10 tie with 17 unanswered points in just over five minutes in the fourth quarter starting with a 52-yard Jamison Crowder punt return for a score. Ross Martin added his second field goal of the game, and Issac Blakeney cranked out a 54-yard touchdown catch as the Blue Devils pulled away. Syracuse tied it at ten on an eight-yard run from Mitch Kimble, but that was it for the struggling offense.
What Else? Duke WR Jamison Crowder caught nine passes for 58 yards and returned six punts for 106 yards and a score
- Syracuse quarterbacks combined to complete 17-of-32 passes for 105 yards and two interceptions
- Duke QB Anthony Boone completed 15-of-33 passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns with a pick
- Total yards: Duke 259 – Syracuse 224
Game Rating: C+

Nov. 1 NC State 24, at Syracuse 17
And You Care Because … NC State got up 9-0 on three Niklas Sade field goals from 43, 43 and 21 yards out, but Syracuse took control with AJ Long touchdown passes from 15 yards out to Ben Lewis and 25 yards away to Steve Ishmael for a 14-9 lead. With the Orange driving late in the third to come up with a key score, Long was picked off by Pharoah McKever for an 82-yard touchdown, followed up by a two-point conversion from Jacoby Brissett to Matt Dayes. NC State made it 14 unanswered points on an 18-yard Brissett pass to Shadrach Thornton to put it away.
What Else? Turnovers: Syracuse 3 – NC State 0
- NC State QB Jacoby Brissett completed 20-of-32 passes for 186 yards and a score, and ran eight times for 16 yards
- Syracuse QB AJ Long completed 22-of-42 passes for 307 yards and two touchdowns with two picks
- Syracuse WR Jarrod West caught seven passes for 161 yards
Game Rating: B-

Oct. 25 at Clemson 16, Syracuse 6
And You Care Because … In a sloppy game, the Clemson defense got the job done, giving up just two Cole Murphy field gos in the first half. However, Clemson only mustered a 38-yard Ammon Lakip in the second quarter before coming out of the locker room and controlling the rest of the game The Tigers scored 13 unanswered points with Lakip hitting field goals from 18 and 41 yards out for a 9-6 lead, and Cole Stoudt put it away on a 19-yard pass play to Stanton Seckinger.
What Else? Turnovers: Clemson 4 – Syracuse 3
- Total yards: Clemson 375 – Syracuse 170
- Clemson RB Wayne Gallman ran 28 times for 101 yards
- Syracuse QB AJ Long completed 12-of-27 passes for 82 yards and two picks
Game Rating: C-

Oct. 18 Syracuse 30, at Wake Forest 7
And You Care Because … Wake Forest scored first on a ten-yard Cam Serigne touchdown catch, and then it was all Syracuse with the defense getting a 42-yard interception return for a touchdown from Robert Welsh and a 51-yard fumble return for a score form Micah Robinson. Cole Murphy hit three field goals for the Orange and A.J. Long ran for a four-yard touchdown for the Orange, while the defense dominated after Wake Forest QB John Wolford got knocked out of the game with an apparent concussion.
What Else? Total yards: Syracuse 370 – Wake Forest 170
- Syracuse QB A.J. Long completed 22-of-32 passes for 171 yards, and he ran for nine yards and a touchdown
- Syracuse RB Devante McFarlane ran ten times for 114 yards
- Average yards per carry: Syracuse 5.2 – Wake Forest 2.0
Game Rating: D

Oct. 11 Florida State 38, at Syracuse 20
And You Care Because … Amid all of the off-field issues and controversies, Florida State took care of business getting up 24-6 at halftime on two Mario Pender touchdowns, a 34-yard Roberto Aguayo field goal, and a 21-yard Nick O’Leary touchdown catch. Jameis Winston threw his third touchdown pass midway through the third quarter, and the Seminoles took their foot off the gas. Syracuse got two second half touchdown passes from A.J. Long to Steve Ishmael.
What Else? Florida State QB Jameis Winston completed 30-of-36 passes for 317 yards and three touchdowns
- Syracuse QB A.J. Long completed 16-of-27 passes for 167 yards and two scores and two picks, and ran three times for 20 yards
- Turnovers: Syracuse 3 – Florida State 2
- Time of possession: Florida State 36:27 – Syracuse 23:33
Game Rating: C-

Oct. 3 Louisville 28, at Syracuse 6
And You Care Because … The Louisville defense held Syracuse to just two Cole Murphy field goals and came up with two safeties on the way to the way. The Orange were full of mistakes all night, with a key dropped pass, two interceptions, and ill-timed penalties, while the Cardinals took advantage of the opportunities with Brandon Radcliff running for scores from four and 14 yards out and Gerald Christian making a for-yard touchdown grab in the fourth to put the game well out of reach.
What Else? Time of possession: Louisville 36:58 – Syracuse 23:02
- Louisville RB Brandon Radcliff ran 23 times for 110 yards and two scores, and caught a 29-yard pass
- Syracuse QB Terrel Hunt completed 17-of-32 passes for 196 yards and two picks, and was held to eight rushing yards on five carries
- Louisville LB Keith Kelsey led the game with nine tackles with a sack and a broken up pass
Game Rating: C-

Sept. 27 Notre Dame 31, Syracuse 15 in NJ
And You Care Because … Everett Golson hit Will Fuller on touchdown passes from 23 and 72 yards out, and found Corey Robinson on an eight-yard touchdown pass on the way to a 21-3 lead. He also found Torrii Hunter Jr. on a 13-yard scoring play as he completed a record 25 straight passes, but he was picked off for a touchdown late by SU’s Durrell Eskridge. Syracuse’s offense could only manage a seven-yard Terrell Hunt touchdown run and a 38-yard Cole Murphy field goal.
What Else? Notre Dame QB Everett Golson completed 32-of-39 passes for 362 yards and four scores with two picks, and he ran ten times for 21 yards.
- Syracuse QB Terrel Hunt completed 22-of-38 passes for 294 yards with a pick, and ran seven times for 26 yards and a score
- Penalties: Syracuse 10 for 85 yards – Notre Dame 8 for 80 yards
- Notre Dame WR Will Fuller caught six passes for 119 yards and two scores
Game Rating: B-

Sept. 20 Maryland 34, at Syracuse 20
And You Care Because … After Syracuse jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the first quarter, it was all Maryland the rest of the way. Led by the passing of C.J. Brown and the all-around heroics of Will Likely, the Terrapins never trailed the rest of the game. After the Orange closed the gap to 14-13 on a Terrel Hunt touchdown run early in the second quarter, Maryland reeled off 17 unanswered points in the quarter to take a commanding lead into halftime.
What Else? Likely was a tour de force for the Terps. He led the team with nine tackles to go along with an 88-yard interception return for a touchdown that took the wind out of Syracuse’s comeback attempt.
- The Orange lost despite rushing for 370 yards. Hunt rambled for a team-high 156 yards and two touchdowns, while Prince-Tyson Gulley scampered for another 138 yards on just 14 carries.
- Brown came through when he had to for Maryland. While his final numbers were pedestrian, he was still able to turn his 16 completions into 280 yards and two scores through the air.
- To avoid more days like today, Syracuse has to improve on third downs. The Orange converted just 4-of-14 to offset 26 first downs and 589 yards of total offense.
Game Rating: C

Sept. 13 Syracuse 40, at Central Michigan 3
And You Care Because … It was a very impressive win for the Orange, which came out of its bye week refreshed and sharp. Syracuse thoroughly dominated a Central Michigan team that beat Purdue—in West Lafayette—just a week earlier. The Orange and coach Scott Shafer corrected the problems it had with Villanova in the opener, and now looks like a team that can nab one of the ACC’s automatic bowl berths in December.
What Else? The Orange controlled the line of scrimmage throughout, outgaining the Chippewas on the ground, 289-34. Adonis Ameen-Moore rushed for 106 yards, and QB Terrel Hunt scored three times on the ground.
- While it probably wouldn’t have impacted the outcome, Central Michigan was without two of its best weapons, RB Thomas Rawls and WR Titus Davis. Davis is injured, while Rawls was mysteriously scratched on Friday.
- Hunt didn’t stretch the Central Michigan defense in this one, but he didn’t have to either. He went 20-of-30 for 175 yards, a touchdown to Brisly Estime and no interceptions.
- While the loss doesn’t rest on the shoulders of Cooper Rush, it’s clear the young quarterback can lead the offense without the help of Rawls. Rush had just one completion beyond 20 yards, and the Chips were 1-of-10 on third downs.
Game Rating: D-

Aug. 29 at Syracuse 27, Villanova 26 2OT
And You Care Because … In the second overtime, John Robertson pulled Villanova within one on a nine-yard touchdown pass to Gary Underwood, but the quarterback sneak for a possible two-point conversion was stuffed and Syracuse survived with a tough win. The two teams traded field goals in the first overtime, but holder Riley Dixon got the Orange in the end zone on a one-yard touchdown pass in the second overtime off a fake field goal.
What Else? Villanova controlled the game and the clock, keeping the ball for a whopping 37:48 – Syracuse couldn’t get off the field. Third down stops were almost non-existent, but there was just enough of a pass rush to pick up the slack. However, not being able to stop dual-threat QB John Robertson – at least until the final play – was a problem.
- Syracuse, welcome to Austin Dixon. Terrel Hunt completed 10-of-17 passes for 89 yards, and ran for 25 yards, but was booted for throwing a punch. The offense struggled to go anywhere without him.
- Prince-Tyson Gulley tore off an early 65-yard touchdown run, but the ground game managed just 71 rushing yards the rest of the way.
- The SU D might have struggled, but LB Cameron Lynch had a huge game making 15 tackles with a sack and a broken up pass.
Game Rating: B

2014 Preview 

Decent start in the ACC, Orange, but will 7-6 be as good as it gets?

Syracuse exceeded expectations by rising above .500 with an upset of Boston College and a Texas Bowl win over Minnesota. But where do Scott Shafer and his program go from here? The Orange proved it can compete in the ACC, but Shafer isn’t content with simply remaining competitive or filling the voids in the league’s second-tier bowl openings. The coach has made eight wins a priority this season, a rigorous challenge in the face of a thorny schedule.

Syracuse will have a critical edge this year over much of the conference—a quarterback with starting experience. Junior Terrel Hunt had a rocky debut, but he never left the lineup after taking over in September. And he’s had a solid offseason so far, locking down the starting gig for a second straight year. Keeping the job, though, will require Hunt to become a more efficient thrower.

The Orange will be productive on the ground behind Hunt and backs Prince-Tyson Gulley, George Morris and Devante McFarlane. Running the ball has not been an issue at Syracuse the past few years. Still, the program needs to achieve balance, which is why Hunt’s development inside the pocket is such an integral component of the 2014 squad’s success.

The D is in pretty good shape, especially the back seven, entering the quiet months of the offseason. Syracuse houses all-league contenders in SS Durell Eskridge and linebackers Dyshawn Davis and Cameron Lynch. The line, though, is a major concern now that DT Jay Bromley has moved on. The Orange will not only be more vulnerable on running plays, but it’ll need a defensive end, such as Robert Welsh or Ron Thompson, to bring the heat on a more consistent basis.

Finishing with a winning record in a year that the team entered a much tougher league with a green coach and quarterback was an underrated achievement for Syracuse. Now, the program is out to prove that 2013 was the beginning of a trend, rather than some one-year anomaly. If the Orange is going to bowl in 2014, it’ll have to be expeditious and detail-oriented between now and the Aug. 29 visit from Villanova. The team has holes to fill and young players that must mature to adequately navigate a wicked slate littered with ACC landmines.

What to watch for on offense: Estime issues. Sophomore Brisly Estime is the exception to the rule suggesting Syracuse won’t stretch opposing defenses with speed. The 5-9, 172-pound receiver from Delray Beach, Fla. is a burner, with the jets to equip the Orange with new options in 2014. Estime debuted a year ago with 28 receptions for 257 yards and a score. He has the extra gear needed to get behind a secondary, and to pick up yards after the catch. And the staff has hinted Estime has become significantly faster since the end of last season.

What to watch for on defense: Putting the cornerbacks under the microscope. The Orange feels good about its situation at safety, thanks to Durell Eskridge, Ritchy Desir and Darius Kelly. But who mans the corners now that Keon Lyn and Ri’Shard Anderson are gone from a unit that was No. 9 in ACC pass defense in 2013? The pressure will be on senior Brandon Reddish and junior Julian Whigham to raise the level of their play. If they can’t deliver, Syracuse will once again be a middling pass defense.

The team will be far better if… the passing attack is more threatening than it was in 2013. Last year, Syracuse was fourth in the ACC on the ground, yet only 12th through the air. Because of the lack of balance, opponents quickly figured out that RB Jerome Smith could be slowed by stacking the box. While the Orange is never going to be Clemson over the top, it still needs to find ways to spread the field in an effort to creating more space for a deep and talented collection of runners.

The Schedule: The Orange start out building up to a nasty run, but there’s only one trip outside of New York – fine, so the Notre Dame game is in East Rutherford, NJ – until late October. The downside is that there aren’t any layups after the trip to Central Michigan with Maryland – who’s loaded with experience, Notre Dame, Louisville and Florida State in a brutal run. Throw in road games at Wake Forest and Clemson, and it’s going to be a rough first two months. There’s a week off in mid-November, but the season closes out on the road at Pitt and BC – there aren’t any home games after November 8th against Duke.

Best offensive player: Senior LT Sean Hickey. Hickey flirted with the possibility of leaving school early for the 2014 NFL Draft. He’ll finish his career with the Orange instead, great news for the entire offense, specifically QB Terrel Hunt. Hickey is the prototype in a college left tackle, athletic, powerful and long-limbed. Hunt will have plenty on his mind this fall, as he attempts to take his game to a different level. Absorbing contact from his backside, though, will not be one of the young quarterback’s worries when he drops back to throw in 2014.

Best defensive player: Junior SS Durell Eskridge. The Orange is in the market for a new defensive star now that DT Jay Bromley has exhausted his eligibility. Linebackers Dyshawn Davis and Cameron Lynch are candidates, but neither is a thoroughbred like Eskridge. The Miami native enjoyed a breakout sophomore season, parlaying his ideal size and athleticism into an All-ACC first year as a starter. Eskridge will not only attack the run like a linebacker, but he has the length and the ball skills to pick pockets in pass defense. He’s a budding defensive star for Syracuse.

Key player to a successful season: Junior QB Terrel Hunt. It’s your team, Terrel. Now go out and make Syracuse your town this fall. Hunt is busting with untapped physical potential, the likes of which this campus hasn’t seen in many years. He has a strong arm, he’ll make things happen with his feet and now he has a season as the starter in the vault. If the game slows down for Hunt, he’s surrounded by just enough skill position talent for the Orange to average 30 points a game, a significant hike from 2013.

The season will be a success if ... the Orange matches last season’s seven-win total. Yeah, Scott Shafer is targeting eight victories, which is a bit of stretch against a schedule that includes games with Notre Dame, Louisville, Florida State, Clemson and Duke. Syracuse wants to build both a foundation and momentum as a member of the ACC. Returning to the postseason and finishing above .500 for a second straight year would accomplish multiple goals for the players, the coaching staff and the fans.

Key game: Sept. 27 vs. Notre Dame. It’s not often that Syracuse gets a high-profile crack at the Irish. In fact, the schools have only met six times in football. For the Orange, the neutral site meeting at MetLife Stadium represents an opportunity to make a splash that reverberates far outside the Northeast region. Beating ND in the shadow of New York City would be a very big deal. To become bowl-eligible, Syracuse will need to win a game it shouldn’t in 2014. And taking down the Irish would serve purposes that go far beyond qualifying for the postseason.

2013 Fun Stats:
- Penalty yards Syracuse 804 – Opponents 437
- Touchdown passes: Syracuse 13 – Opponents 22
- Rushing yards per game: Syracuse 194.8 - Opponents 137.4

- 2014 Syracuse Preview - What You Need To Know & Top Players


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