This one was definitely a lot easier than last week. The Syracuse Orange moved to 2-0 after a 62-10 victory over Wagner (1-1).
The result was never really in question, as anyone that watched more than five minutes of this game could easily recognize SU was the better team. Without further ado, here’s three takeaways from the game.
Sean Riley is so perplexing
Junior Sean Riley’s performance over the past few years is downright confusing. He’s had games like last year at Central Michigan (four catches for 82 yards and four rushes for 47 yards) where he’s electric and unstoppable. Yet, he then follows up performances like that with seven straight games without a catch.
Today, he had one of his positive performances. After not catching the ball once last week, he had six receptions for 54 yards and one impressive touchdown. Today’s version of Riley looked dynamic, vivacious, and engaged. Yet, other times, he can’t even get on the field — or can’t do much with the football when he does.
Who knows if Riley will keep up this performance next week against Florida State. It’s possible that he uses this game as a springboard into a successful year as Syracuse’s second receiver behind Custis. Or this could be a repeat of last year where he barely even steps on the field in the conference play.
The special teams unit was truly special
Perhaps, the most outstanding performance from the game today was the special teams. Syracuse owned the game of field position. From the blocked punt to the fumbled punt (or whatever you call that) to Riley and Antwan Cordy on punt returns, SU was dominant in the third phase of the game.
First of all, the fumbled punt forced by senior tight end Ravian Pierce was the biggest play of the game today. With SU only ahead by one score in the second quarter, they needed some sort of spark in order to push the Seahawks out of reach. Pierce’s crushing blow did just that. It handed the ball back to SU in the red zone. Syracuse would score three plays later and push the lead to double digits.
Next, senior Antwan Cordy’s punt return in the second quarter went one step further in taking Wagner out of the game. Instead of starting the possession around its own 20-yard line, Cordy’s weaving and dodging gave SU the ball in Wagner territory. Even though Syracuse only found a field goal in that possession, the lead jumped from two to three possessions.
Finally, the blocked punt for a touchdown was icing on the cake. Riley’s blocked kick, which freshman Trill Williams recovered at the one-yard line and then advanced right into the end zone ceased any chance for a Wagner comeback. SU was already ahead by 24 points. After Riley’s heroics, Syracuse took a 31 point lead. There was no chance that Wagner was going to come back from a deficit that large.
Andre Cisco is for real
It’s very early in his career, but oh my does freshman safety Andre Cisco look special. He now has three interceptions in his first two collegiate games after picking off two pases in the first quarter today. That alone is almost unheard of.
Freshman defensive backs usually don’t step on the field until at least a few games in. For him to win the job in camp, start the season, and then go ahead and dominate in-game, it’s definitely fun to watch.
That’s not without some concerns around coverage, but that’s an accepted trade-off for now. Cisco was a key part of Syracuse’s most successful defensive moments of the last two weeks now.