If I had to pick one play that summed up Syracuse's loss in Evanston, it would be a nine yard run by Northwestern QB Kain Colter midway through the first quarter. On paper, it seems like an innocuous play. But a few Syracuse defenders had the chance to sack Colter behind the line of scrimmage, allowed him to escape the pocket and then couldn't manage to recover the ball after Colter fumbled. Absolute chaos, some poor defensive play and a bit of bad luck.
The Syracuse Orange lost 48-27 to the Northwestern Wildcats on Saturday night at Ryan Field in Evanston, Il. Drew Allen went 27-41 for 279 yards and a touchdown, but threw FOUR interceptions. In the fourth quarter, Scott Shafer replaced Allen with Terrel Hunt. Hunt went 2-4 with 22 yards passing. He scrambled for 30 yards, including a 16 yard touchdown.
SU is now 0-2 after losing to Penn State last week and hosts Wagner next Saturday at 4pm.
Syracuse fans only have to hope the competition between the Newhouse and Medill communications schools is slightly more competitive.
Kain Colter didn't show any signs of a lingering concussion. On the Wildcats' first drive, Colter went a perfect 4-4 for 60 yards. By only 51 seconds into the game, Colter passed to Treyvon Green for an eight yard touchdown. And it only went downhill from there. By the 9:21 mark in the second quarter, Northwestern was leading 20-0. By halftime, Syracuse was down, 34-7. The last time Syracuse trailed by 27+ points at the half was back in 2009, according to Patrick Stevens.
Colter ran for 87 yards and a score and receiver Tony Jones had 185 receiving yards. Trevor Siemian came into the game at QB for Northwestern, but the result was essentially the same. Colter and Siemian combined 375 yards and four touchdowns.
Syracuse scored first when Jerome Smith ran for a three yard touchdown. Smith led the Orange with 11 rushes for 45 yards. Prince Tyson-Gulley had nine carries 32 yards. Drew Allen threw his only TD of the game on a 16 yard completion to Kendall Moore in the third quarter. Christopher Clark was SU's leading receiver with 66 yards on six reception. Ashton Broyld also played fairly well. He caught seven passes for a total of 62 yards.
The Orange defense was a bright spot for the Orange against Penn State, but was completely ineffective against the Wildcats. The Wildcats were without starting running back Venric Mark, but it didn't matter. Northwestern out-gained Syracuse in offensive yards, 484 to 264. The Orange held Penn State to 1-16 on third down last week. Northwestern went 7-13.
Syracuse is fortunate enough to play Wagner and Tulane at home for the next two weeks. The Orange needs plenty of time to tweak the offensive, defensive and special teams play. (Ross Krautman missed one extra point.) Syracuse has plenty of questions to answer before beginning ACC play, but none is bigger than the quarterback one. Allen has been incredibly underwhelming thus far, but a few good minutes by Hunt in garbage time arguably isn't enough to warrant a start next week.
SU's 0-2 start wasn't at all surprising, given the quality of the first two opponents. It's Syracuse's utterly unwatchable, unorganized and noncompetitive play that has been disappointing.