The Syracuse Orange went and tested their new-look offense out against some FBS competition last Friday. Only problem was, it was top-15 FBS competition that had an even better offense than they did. So while we can pull some takeaways together from this Louisville game, do remember that the circumstances of this game (down two scores or more for 57 minutes) were far from normal... hopefully.
You know how the score went, obviously. But how’d the offense perform overall? We dive in...
|14:38||1st and 10||SYR 35||Pass||Philips||Short L||8 Yard Gain|
|14:19||2nd and 2||SYR 43||Pass; Sack||Dungey||N/A||8 Yard Loss|
|13:35||3rd and 10||SYR 35||Pass||Dungey||Deep L||Incomplete (Etta-Tawo)|
|12:07||1st and 10||SYR 26||Run||Strickland||Dive R||1 Yard Gain|
|11:45||2nd and 9||SYR 27||Pass||Strickland||Screen R||2 Yard Gain|
|11:18||3rd and 7||SYR 29||Run||Dungey||Dive L||0 Yard Gain|
|10:10||1st and 10||SYR 25||Pass||Dungey||Short M||Incomplete (Philips)|
|10:07||2nd and 10||SYR 25||Play Action; Pass||Philips||Mid Range L||7 Yard Gain|
|9:51||3rd and 3||SYR 32||Pass||Etta-Tawo||Mid Range L||6 Yard Gain|
|9:37||1st and 10||SYR 38||Run||Neal||Dive R||2 Yard Gain|
|9:11||2nd and 8||SYR 40||Run||Neal||Dive R||16 Yard Gain|
|9:53||1st and 10||LOU 44||Pass||Estime||Screen R||10 Yard Gain|
|8:36||1st and 10||LOU 34||Pass||Ishmael||Screen R||6 Yard Gain|
|8:20||2nd and 4||LOU 28||Run||Neal||Dive R||3 Yard Gain|
|8:03||3rd and 1||LOU 25||Run||Dungey||Dive R||3 Yard Gain|
|7:48||1st and 10||LOU 22||Pass||Neal||Screen R||5 Yard Gain|
|7:27||2nd and 5||LOU 17||Run||Neal||Dive R||2 Yard Gain|
|7:03||3rd and 3||LOU 15||Pass||Estime||Mid Range M||15 Yard Gain; TD|
|5:45||1st and 10||SYR 39||Play Action; Pass||Dungey||Deep L||Incomplete (Estime)|
|5:39||2nd and 10||SYR 39||Pass||Dungey||Deep R||Incomplete|
|5:33||3rd and 1||SYR 39||Pass||Estime||Short L||4 Yard Gain|
|4:06||1st and 10||SYR 16||Play Action; Run||Dungey||End L||5 Yard Gain|
|3:48||2nd and 5||SYR 21||Run||Dungey||Dive L||1 Yard Loss|
|3:18||3rd and 6||SYR 20||PENATLY (PASS INTEFERENCE)||Wiggins||N/A||15 Yard Gain|
|3:11||1st and 10||SYR 35||Pocket Breakdown; Run||Dungey||Dive L||12 Yard Gain|
|2:56||1st and 10||SYR 47||Run||Neal||Dive L||0 Yard Gain|
|2:35||2nd and 10||SYR 47||Pass||Dungey||Screen L||Incomplete ()|
|2:31||3rd and 10||SYR 47||Pass||Dungey||Mid Range L||Incomplete (Neal)|
Play-Call Breakdown: 17 passes, 10 runs
The rough start nearly sinks the team in the first quarter, as three-and-outs lead to more quick Louisville scores. Eric Dungey being under siege doesn’t help much, and would become a trend. Still, despite the failings of the first two drives, that third drive is a case study in what this offense is supposed to look like. Syracuse went 75 yards in 12 plays over three minutes, ending with a really nice touchdown by Brisly Estime. If Louisville hadn’t scored 28 points in the first quarter, you’d probably be pretty happy with this.
|15:00||1st and 10||SYR 25||Run||Strickland||Dive R||1 Yard Loss|
|14:37||2nd and 11||SYR 24||Run||Strickland||Dive R||1 Yard Gain|
|14:11||3rd and 10||SYR 25||Pass||Strickland||Screen R||18 Yard Gain|
|13:52||1st and 10||SYR 43||Run||Strickland||Dive R||3 Yard Gain|
|13:38||2nd and 7||SYR 46||Pass; Sack; Fumble||Dungey||N/A||18 Yard Loss|
|13:05||3rd and 25||SYR 28||Pass||Dungey||Incomplete (Ishmael)|
|12:01||1st and 10||SYR 38||Pass||Dungey||Short R||Incomplete (Philips)|
|11:57||2nd and 10||SYR 38||Pass||Dungey||Short L||Incomplete (Neal)|
|11:53||3rd and 10||SYR 38||Screen; Pass||Etta-Tawo||Deep L||23 Yard Pass|
|11:36||1st and 10||LOU 39||Pass||Etta-Tawo||Screen L||1 Yard Loss|
|11:17||2nd and 9||LOU 40||Pass||Philips||Mid Range L||22 Yard Gain|
|10:58||1st and 10||LOU 18||Pass||Dungey||Deep L||Incomplete (Estime)|
|10:51||2nd and 10||LOU 18||Run||Strickland||Dive L||1 Yard Loss|
|10:20||3rd and 11||LOU 19||Pocket Breakdown; Run||Dungey||Off Tackle L||8 Yard Gain|
|10:00||4th and 3||LOU 11||Pass||Dungey||Incomplete (Philips)|
|7:41||1st and 10||SYR 47||PENALTY (FALSE START)||Dungey||N/A||5 Yard Loss|
|7:36||1st and 15||SYR 42||Run||Dungey||End L||2 Yard Gain|
|7:18||2nd and 13||SYR 44||Pass||Dungey||Mid Range L||Incomplete (Neal)|
|7:13||3rd and 13||SYR 44||PENALTY (Offsides)||Hearns||N/A||5 Yard Gain|
|7:06||3rd and 8||SYR 49||Play Action; Pass||Dungey||Deep R||Incomplete (Ishmael)|
|3:18||1st and 10||SYR 21||Pass||Ishmael||Mid Range R||32 Yard Gain|
|2:55||1st and 10||LOU 47||Pass||Etta-Tawo||Deep M||47 Yard Gain; TD|
|2:15||1st and 10||SYR 32||PENALTY (Personal Foul)||Fields||N/A||15 Yard Gain|
|2:08||1st and 10||SYR 47||Pass||Philips||Short M||8 Yard Gain|
|1:48||2nd and 2||LOU 45||Pass||Etta-Tawo||Short L||10 Yard Gain|
|1:42||1st and 10||LOU 35||Pass||Dungey||Deep M||Incomplete (Etta-Tawo)|
|1:38||2nd and 10||LOU 35||Play Action; Pass||Philips||Screen L||2 Yard Gain|
|1:34||3rd and 8||LOU 33||Run||Strickland||Dive L||13 Yard Gain|
|1:22||1st and 10||LOU 20||Play Action; Pass||Etta-Tawo||Screen L||5 Yard Gain|
|1:17||2nd and 5||LOU 15||Play Action; Pass||Dungey||Mid Range L||Incomplete (Philips)|
|1:14||3rd and 5||LOU 15||Pocket Breakdown; Run||Dungey||Off Tackle L||10 Yard Gain|
|1:00||1st and Goal||LOU 5||Run||Philips||Dive L||1 Yard Gain|
|0:48||2nd and Goal||LOU 4||Pass||Dungey||Short L||Incomplete (Etta-Tawo)|
|0:44||3rd and Goal||LOU 4||Pass||Dungey||Short L||4 Yard Gain; TD|
|0:02||1st and 10||LOU 38||Field Goal||Murphy||N/A||Field Goal is No Good|
Play-Call Breakdown: 24 passes, 7 runs
As the game continued to hover between two and three touchdowns, the balance of the Orange offense obviously skewed even further toward the pass. Still, it worked really well for much of the second quarter. One drive stalled inside the 20 when SU elected to go for it. But the final two full drives (long field goal attempt aside) were frighteningly efficient. The ball Dungey threw to Amba Etta-Tawo on that long TD pass was gorgeous, as were the Maryland transfer’s own moves after the catch. I personally enjoyed the game’s third touchdown drive so much I watched it twice. Part of me wonders if they should’ve just tossed it up on the final play... but can’t cast too much doubt on the decision for a long field goal.
|14:52||1st and 10||SYR 21||Pass||Dungey||Deep R||Incomplete (Philips)|
|14:45||2nd and 10||SYR 21||Pass||Dungey||Deep M||Incomplete (Estime)|
|14:38||3rd and 10||SYR 21||Pass||Dungey||Short R||Incomplete|
|12:12||1st and 10||SYR 21||Pass||Dungey||Short M||Incomplete (Philips)|
|12:09||2nd and 10||SYR 21||PENALTY (FALSE START)||Lasker||N/A||5 Yard Loss|
|12:08||2nd and 15||SYR 16||Run||Neal||Off Tackle R||9 Yard Gain|
|11:52||3rd and 6||SYR 25||Pass||Dungey||Deep L||Incomplete (Estime)|
|10:47||1st and 10||SYR 24||Run||Neal||Dive R||1 Yard Loss|
|10:23||2nd and 11||SYR 23||Run||Neal||Dive R||0 Yard Gain|
|9:48||3rd and 11||SYR 23||PENALTY (Personal Foul)||Smith||Deep R||15 Yard Gain|
|9:41||1st and 10||SYR 38||Run||Dungey||Dive R||1 Yard Loss|
|9:19||2nd and 11||SYR 37||Play Action; Pass||Ishmael||Mid Range R||18 Yard Gain|
|9:02||1st and 10||LOU 45||Pocket Breakdown; Run||Dungey||End L||17 Yard Gain|
|8:42||1st and 10||LOU 28||Pass||Etta-Tawo||Screen L||9 Yard Gain|
|8:28||2nd and 1||LOU 19||Pass||Philips||Screen L||5 Yard Gain|
|8:13||1st and 10||LOU 14||Pass||Dungey||Screen L||Incomplete (Philips)|
|8:09||2nd and 10||LOU 14||Run||Strickland||Dive L||9 Yard Gain|
|7:26||3rd and 1||LOU 5||PENALTY (Illegal Formation)||Dungey||N/A||5 Yard Loss|
|7:07||3rd and 6||LOU 10||Play Action; Run||Dungey||Dive L||9 Yard Gain|
|6:52||1st and Goal||LOU 1||Run||Dungey||Dive L||1 Yard Gain; TD|
|4:12||1st and 10||SYR 20||Pass||Dungey||Deep L||Incomplete (Etta-Tawo)|
|4:05||2nd and 10||SYR 20||Play Action; Pass||Ishmael||Short L||9 Yard Gain|
|3:49||3rd and 1||SYR 29||Play Action; Pass; Sack||Dungey||Short L||12 Yard Loss|
Play-Call Breakdown: 13 passes, 7 runs
Syracuse wasn’t dead after stalling quickly on the first two drives of the half, but truthfully, it really did them zero favors and ultimately helped bring this one to an early close. Drive 14 was enjoyable and fairly balanced -- two things that seem to go hand-in-hand in Dino Babers’s scheme. This is where the constant pressure starts to disrupt Dungey too much, though not enough to completely derail the offense... yet.
|13:08||1st and 10||SYR 20||Pass||MacPherson||Short R||3 Yard Gain|
|12:46||2nd and 7||SYR 23||Pass; Sack||Dungey||N/A||8 Yard Loss|
|12:11||3rd and 15||SYR 15||Pass||Dungey||Short M||Incomplete (Estime)|
|10:11||1st and 10||SYR 23||Pass||MacPherson||Short L||1 Yard Gain|
|9:46||2nd and 9||SYR 24||Run||Strickland||Dive L||3 Yard Gain|
|9:20||3rd and 6||SYR 27||Pass||Dungey||Deep L||Interception|
|8:48||1st and 10||SYR 21||Run||Neal||Dive L||1 Yard Loss|
|8:20||2nd and 11||SYR 20||Run||Neal||Off Tackle L||9 Yard Gain|
|8:01||3rd and 2||SYR 29||Run||Neal||Dive R||2 Yard Gain|
|7:45||1st and 10||SYR 31||Run||Neal||Dive R||1 Yard Loss; Fumble|
|7:23||1st and 10||SYR 23||Run||Fredericks||End R||3 Yard Gain|
|7:00||2nd and 7||SYR 26||Run||Fredericks||Dive R||1 Yard Gain|
|6:17||3rd and 6||SYR 27||Pass||Dungey||Mid Range R||Incomplete (Fredericks)|
|0:26||1st and 10||SYR 7||Run||Fredericks||Counter R||29 Yard Gain|
|0:13||1st and 10||SYR 36||Run||Moore||End L||15 Yard Gain|
Play-Call Breakdown: 9 runs, 6 passes
You might as well throw out this quarter, since the gameplan shifted to simply kill the clock after the 17th (!!!) drive. A lot of SU’s rushing yards on the game were racked up here, and it was sort of surprising to see Babers sort of coast to the finish when the team could’ve conceivably worked on some things and maybe put up another touchdown or two. Still, prefer this to risking players’ health on needless comeback attempts, so I’m fine with it.
- Overall play-calling breakdown: 60 called passes vs. 33 called runs. Ummm, 93 goddamn plays on 20 drives?! I don’t care how long this takes to recap. Sign me up for more (on the plays front, not the drives).
- First half play-calling: 41 passes vs. 17 runs (19:16 in second half)
- First downs: 24 total (11 passing, 11 rushing, 3 penalty; 18:5:2 last week)
- First down play selection: 23 called passes, 15 called runs (20:14 last week)
- First down play selection on subsequent sets of downs: 14 called passes, 10 called runs (15:10 last week)
- First down plays for five or more yards: 13 — down from 14 last week, and two of this week’s 13 were in garbage time (the final two plays from scrimmage).
- Second down play selection: 19 called passes, 11 called runs (17:9 last week)
- Third down play selection: 18 called passes; 5 called runs (14:4 last week)
- Third down conversion: 10-for-23 (5 runs, 3 passes, 2 penalties; 3:5:0 last week)
- Fourth down conversion: 0-for-1 (3-for-3 last week)
- Just 31 of Syracuse's 93 play calls (33 percent) took place in Louisville territory, and only seven of those were in the second half. That was certainly PART of the problem on Friday...
- Play action was not used as much this time around, and also wasn’t as effective. Dungey was just 5-for-7 for 41 yards, plus another play where he lost eight yards on a sack out of play action. Last week, he was 9-for-10 for 204 yards and a touchdown. Part of this disparity from week to week is that SU trailed the entire game, making it harder to sell the run.
- Syracuse had 11 plays of 15 or more yards (eight last week). Just three of those went for over 25 yards, however (vs. seven such plays vs. Colgate). Another five played gained between 10 and 14 yards. Those 16 plays accounted for 277 of the Orange’s 414 yards from scrimmage, meaning that the other 77 plays averaged less than 1.8 yards per. That’s not great.
- Including penalties, 15 plays went for a loss for the second straight week. Dungey was pressured pretty heavily and that resulted in an uptick in sacks -- many of which lost not just a handful of yards at a clip, but quite a few (most between eight and 18).
- Syracuse was three-for-four in the red zone with three touchdowns. That’s a nice improvement after going four-for-four, but with three field goals last week. The only reason they didn’t stay perfect was because they opted to forego kicking a field goal while down 21. I have no qualms with this tact.
- Six Orange drives ended in three-and-outs, and another ended in an interception after three plays. That’s all pretty bad and another contributor to how and why Louisville was able to jump on Syracuse so damn quickly. If you’re not moving the ball in a hurry-up offense, you’re just handing the ball back to the opposition with just a few seconds elapsed.
Syracuse’s inability to run the ball against Colgate seemed worrisome, and that proved even more true against Louisville. Without any fear of the run, the Cardinals were able to dial up blitzes at will to stop the Orange’s one-dimensional attack. When you remove the 44 yards picked up on the final two garbage time plays, SU averaged less than two yards per carry on the game. That’s not sustainable in that it encourages blitzing, allows the opposition to sit back and defend the pass, and also hurts the effectiveness of play-action.
After utilizing the right side of the field for deep balls last week, Dungey switched course and leaned heavily on the left. In general, the team’s passing game seemed to lean heavily on the left side of the line, which could’ve been a shift based on that side’s strength. The screen to the left did seem to be available often enough that Dungey could just keep going to it.
With the diminished targets in the middle distances, and a heavy reliance on screens and deep throws in this game, it’s no wonder Steve Ishmael was barely involved. While he can run deep routes and operate in a slot-type role if necessary, Ishmael does excel most in the intermediate routes, which can take some more time to develop. Without time to throw, Dungey won’t be able to look his way as much, which is a crime.
Other than that one nice-looking wide receiver pass from Estime to Etta-Tawo, I can’t say the playbook looked a WHOLE lot different from what was trotted out against Colgate. After the team talked about holding back some key elements vs. the Raiders, it seemed like we’d see several new complexities added. Can’t say we saw a TON of that — though again, tougher to judge when the team was in desperation/comeback mode pretty much the entire game.
Anything else that caught your eye above, or from watching the game yourself? Go ahead and add below.