There was a lot to take away from this ball game about Syracuse, who start the season 3-0 for the first time in Dino Babers’s tenure at the helm. But we identify three items:
Defense can really get it done
The Syracuse defense held Florida State to seven points in today’s contest, the lone score being a Deondre Francois rushing touchdown when the game was practically out of reach. SU’s secondary did a great job shutting down Florida State’s receiving corps and Christopher Frederick even picked up an interception.
But the stars of the day on defense had their hands in the dirt. Kendall Coleman picked up a pair of sacks, while Alton Robinson and Kingsley Jonathan each picked up one of their own. They consistently applied pressure on Francois to disrupt the passing game and shut down Cam Akers in the running game, holding him to only 52 yards rushing.
If Syracuse can replicate this defensive effort against the tougher opponents left on the schedule like North Carolina State and Boston College, Syracuse could make this a very eventful season.
If need be, Tommy can play
Eric Dungey didn’t play in the second half, leaving Tommy DeVito to get his first action against a Power 5 opponent — and a historically talented one at that. He certainly proved he could hold his ground, completing 69 percent of his passes for 144 yards (#BRAND) and a touchdown through the air. He also ran for 22 yards and had a rushing TD, too.
Dungey has been THE guy for the first three years of his Syracuse career, but all of them have been cut short due to injury. After today, we now know that there’s a trustworthy replacement in the wings should he go down long-term.
Everybody gets to catch
The big question out of the first couple of games was whether SU would have viable weapons at wideout outside of Jamal Custis, who made his mark early in this 2018 campaign. Today, those worries were put to bed.
Seven different Orange receiver caught a pass today, five of them catching more than one. Outside of the usual suspects like Custis, Devin C. Butler and Sean Riley, Nykeim Johnson hauled in three catches as did Ravian Pierce.
If all the receivers that showed up today continue to produce throughout the season, this Syracuse offense could do better than many would have projected at the start.