In last year’s opener vs. Rhode Island, the Syracuse Orange put 14 different true freshmen (12 on scholarship) on the field. This year, that number dips a bit to seven (as pointed out by the Daily Orange’s Matt Schneidman) — which one would expect after 2015’s young players showed plenty of promise and now sit atop the depth chart at several positions.
Leading the burned redshirts this year was running back Moe Neal, who led the team in rushing with 68 yards. He also provided one of the highlights of the night in his first collegiate carry, a 49-yard touchdown scamper.
Elsewhere on offense, wide receiver Sean Riley started getting some work in the fourth quarter, catching four balls from Zach Mahoney for 44 yards. The first of those was a very nice 27-yarder delivered in a pretty tight spot.
The rest of the true freshmen showed up over on the defensive side. Kendall Coleman racked up four tackles at defensive end and was on the field plenty all evening. Defensive tackle McKinley Williams also got in on the act with one tackle himself. Carl Jones, Kenneth Ruff and Andrew Armstrong also got some burn, though none recorded statistics.
It seems unlikely these are the last true freshmen that we see on the field as Dino Babers’s system continues to pick up speed and continue to cycle players in and out. Nice work in your first college games last night, guys.