So, these are over. It's a relief, really, to be done with this miserable exercise. While I started these as an exercise in keeping track of what Syracuse's offense is capable of, they've seemingly morphed into something much worse: a living account of the horrible atrocities committed by the Orange each and every Saturday (or in some cases, Friday night). They've been rough. But hopefully some year soon, we'll look back at these and smirk at what used to be. It's a dream. Let me live it, please.
|14:48||1st and 10||SYR 31||Run||Gulley||Dive L||2 Yard Gain|
|14:10||2nd and 7||SYR 33||Run||Gulley||End R||0 Yard Gain|
|13:36||3rd and 7||SYR 33||Pass; Sack||Long||N/A||7 Yard Loss|
|12:04||1st and 10||SYR 29||Run||Phillips||Option R||1 Yard Gain|
|11:41||2nd and 9||SYR 30||Pass||Long||Short L||Incomplete|
|11:37||3rd and 9||SYR 30||Pass||Long||Short M||Incomplete|
|8:18||1st and 10||SYR 4||Run||Gulley||Dive L||1 Yard Gain|
|7:46||2nd and 9||SYR 5||Run||Gulley||Off-Tackle L||29 Yard Gain|
|7:24||1st and 10||SYR 34||Pass||Long||Short R||Incomplete|
|7:17||2nd and 10||SYR 34||Run||Morris||End L||2 Yard Gain|
|6:41||3rd and 8||SYR 36||Pass||Long||Middle L||Incomplete|
|4:31||1st and 10||BC 43||Run||Phillips||Option R||16 Yard Gain|
|4:10||1st and 10||BC 27||Pass||Phillips||Short R||9 Yard Gain|
|3:25||2nd and 1||BC 18||Run||McFarlane||End R||3 Yard Gain|
|2:50||1st and 10||BC 15||Run||Long||Off-Tackle L||5 Yard Gain|
|2:20||2nd and 5||BC 10||Run||McFarlane||End R||6 Yard Gain|
|1:55||1st and Goal||BC 4||Run||Long||End R||4 Yard Gain; TD|
|0:21||1st and 10||BC 44||Run||Gulley||End R||2 Yard Loss|
|0:13||2nd and 20||BC 46||PENALTY (Peronal Foul)||Sloan||N/A||15 Yard Loss|
Play-Call Breakdown: 12 runs, 6 passes
Early on, Syracuse struggles to really get things going on offense, leaning heavily on Prince-Tyson Gulley for uneven gains while the passing game failed to really establish itself. Great field position on drive four (and smart use of both Ervin Phillips and Devante McFarlane) leads to a touchdown in just over two and a half minutes -- which seems like cause for hope. But of course, it's followed up by a meaningless fight led almost entirely by Orange seniors. That fracas is an easy thing to point to as one of this program's main issues over the past decade: little-to-no discipline.
|15:00||2nd and 35||SYR 39||Run||McFarlane||Option L||11 Yard Gain|
|14:26||3rd and 24||BC 50||Pass; Sack||Long||N/A||6 Yard Loss|
|4:48||1st and 10||SYR 20||PENALTY (Illegal Block)||Robinson||N/A||10 Yard Loss|
|4:16||1st and 20||SYR 10||Run||Gulley||Dive R||1 Yard Loss|
|3:33||2nd and 19||SYR 9||Run||Gulley||Off-Tackle L||6 Yard Gain|
|2:56||3rd and 15||SYR 14||Pass||Long||Screen R||Incomplete|
|1:04||1st and 10||SYR 30||Run||Morris||End R||0 Yard Gain|
|0:57||2nd and 10||SYR 30||Run||Morris||Off-Tackle L||6 Yard Gain|
|0:15||3rd and 4||SYR 36||Run||Morris||Dive L||1 Yard Gain|
Play-Call Breakdown: 6 runs, 2 passes
Boston College's nearly-10-minute drive gives Syracuse very little to work with in the second quarter -- something the Orange are seemingly fine with, leaning on Gulley once again and then running out the clock. The long yardage-to-go to begin the quarter was obviously a result of the previous quarter's penalty, which never should have happened at all. The team tried to fight its way out of it, but a 35-yard hole when you can't really move the ball through the air is a lot to deal with.
|14:55||1st and 10||SYR 20||Run||Ameen-Moore||End R||1 Yard Gain|
|14:21||2nd and 9||SYR 21||Play-Action Pass||Long||Short R||Interception|
|12:07||1st and 10||SYR 26||Pass||West||Middle L||14 Yard Gain|
|11:45||1st and 10||SYR 40||Run||McFarlane||Off-Tackle L||0 Yard Gain|
|11:16||2nd and 10||SYR 40||Pass||West||Middle R||11 Yard Gain|
|10:56||1st and 10||BC 49||PENALTY (Offsides)||Mihalik||N/A||5 Yard Gain|
|10:38||1st and 5||BC 44||PENALTY (Pass Interference)||Keyes||N/A||15 Yard Gain|
|10:33||1st and 10||BC 29||Play-Action Pass||West||Middle M||9 Yard Gain|
|10:01||2nd and 1||BC 20||PENALTY (Holding)||Robinson||N/A||10 Yard Loss|
|9:47||2nd and 11||BC 30||Pass||Long||Deep R||Incomplete|
|9:42||3rd and 11||BC 30||Pass||Long||Deep L||Incomplete|
|6:20||1st and 10||BC 46||Pass||West||Short L||8 Yard Gain|
|5:59||2nd and 2||BC 38||Run||McFarlane||Off-Tackle R||1 Yard Gain|
|5:24||3rd and 1||BC 37||Run||Ameen-Moore||Dive R||4 Yard Gain|
|4:59||1st and 10||BC 33||Run||Phillips||End L||0 Yard Gain|
|4:25||2nd and 10||BC 33||Pass||Long||Deep L||Incomplete|
|4:20||3rd and 10||BC 33||Pass; Sack||Long||N/A||10 Yard Loss|
Play-Call Breakdown: 9 passes, 5 runs
A run-heavy start to the game gives way to a pass-happy third quarter, something that would be less problematic if the balance weren't so shifted in the complete opposite direction up until this point. Syracuse spends most of the third in Boston College territory, yet ends up with zero points due to a costly penalty (surprise!) and a clueless fake FG/punt later. It's these sorts of moments where you feel the need to tear your hair out while watching the Orange. They show an ability to move the football, followed by them lacking the facilities to stop it from moving backwards. And that punt... right out of the GERG playbook.
|14:43||1st and 10||SYR 25||Run||Morris||Dive L||1 Yard Gain|
|14:13||2nd and 9||SYR 26||Pass||Flemming||Short R||5 Yard Gain|
|13:37||3rd and 4||SYR 31||Pass||West||Short L||3 Yard Gain|
|8:36||1st and 10||SYR 25||Pass||Long||Middle R||Incomplete|
|8:31||2nd and 10||SYR 25||Pass||Long||Middle L||Incomplete|
|8:27||3rd and 10||SYR 25||Pass; Sack||Long||N/A||4 Yard Loss|
|3:29||1st and 10||SYR 7||Pass||Cornelius||Short L||7 Yard Gain|
|3:13||2nd and 3||SYR 14||Pass||Wilson||Short M||Interception|
Play-Call Breakdown: 7 passes, 1 run
You can't fault Syracuse for at least trying to score in the fourth (haven't done so since the Florida State game, by the way), but with their passes not connecting, all hope was shot by the time drive 12 began. After so many drives that started at or past midfield, the Orange dealt with some realistic (for them) field position for the entire quarter and the results were predictable. Inaccurate throws by A.J. Long failed to hit their targets, and the season fittingly saw its final offensive play result in an Austin Wilson interception. It's too poetic, really.
- Overall play-calling breakdown: 24 called runs vs. 24 called passes (someone will say this is balanced, but look above and you'll laugh; also -- 48 plays?! Woof.)
- First half play-calling: 18 runs vs. 8 passes (6:16 in second half)
- First downs: 8 total (5 rushing, 2 passing, 1 penalty; none in fourth quarter)
- First down play selection: 13 called runs, 7 called passes (16:7 last week)
- First down play selection on subsequent sets of downs: 4 called runs, 3 called passes (9:3 last week)
- First down plays for five or more yards: 7
- Second down play selection: 9 called runs, 8 called passes (8:10 last week)
- Third down play selection: 9 called passes, 2 called runs (10:3 last week)
- Third down conversion: 1-for-11 (1 run)
- 17 of Syracuse's 48 play calls (35 percent) took place in BC territory (almost entirely made up of two drives alone); last week, that number was 30 percent.
- Lots of speed option with mixed results. Obviously it works for Phillips, but with a single-back offset in most cases, it was pretty clear who it was going to and where they were headed.
- Play-action was 1-of-2 this week, for nine yards and an interception. Plenty of other chances for it to have been used, however.
- Syracuse had five big plays (ones that gained 10 or more yards) -- totaling 81 of Syracuse's absolutely laughable 128 yards of total offense. The other 43 plays gained 1.09 yards per, which is a steep drop from last week's already bad figure of 1.67. Overall yards per play were 2.67 (vs. 4.72 last week), which is hilariously awful for any team at any level and the people responsible for such a number should have their jobs thoroughly examined this offseason.
Won't go into a WHOLE lot here in order to avoid summarizing -- especially when we're doing that later in the week (get excited!). There's also the whole issue of having very little to even look at given the Boston College results. Running just 48 plays from scrimmage gives this team zero chance to succeed, even if it was executing at an average rate on offense. The sinking level of plays (while drive numbers stay high, by the way) continues to disturb yours truly, as it directly correlates to a rise in three-and-outs and/or turnovers. Unacceptable, any way you look at it.
This week's rushing attack spread the love to all five backs and Long, but it also leaned so heavily on the first half that it would've been hard for any of them to really get a rhythm going in the second. Erv still has a very bright future in this backfield, though not as a speed-option only. They have to figure out how to diversify his role within this offense otherwise he gets bogged down in predictability.
Oh, and Long was horrible throwing the ball on Saturday. Like, to the point where I half hoped Riley Dixon would just take over. Without a whole lot of designed runs on his part (which is fine), it was up to Long to deliver accurate throws when protected and provide value through the air. He didn't do that, and it squandered what could have been a great exclamation point on the year for guys like Ben Lewis, Steve Ishmael and/or Jarrod West. Long's ineffectiveness here and vs. Pitt blew the door wide open for Terrel Hunt to reclaim that job of his.
Anything left to say about this exhausting nonsense? Fire away below. I'll also be passing around a basket, in which you can place checks made out to cash.