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Syracuse football’s 1st down offense vs. NC State

Maybe we find something positive in the review?

Syracuse v North Carolina State Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Each game I’ve been taking a closer look at the first down offense of the Syracuse Orange. As we’ve wondered where the #OITNF tempo has gone we’ve seen a lot of the struggles have been the result of Syracuse falling behind on 1st and 10. A closer look at last week’s game against the N.C. State Wolfpack shows more of the same

Syracuse vs NC State

1st half Run or Pass Yards 2nd Half Run or Pass Yards
1st half Run or Pass Yards 2nd Half Run or Pass Yards
Run (Neal) 1 Run (Neal) 2
Pass (Sack) -4 Pass (Neal) 9
Run (Adams) 0 Pass (Harris) 36
Run (Adams) 5 Run (Neal) 5
Run (Adams) 3 Pass (Incomplete) 0
Pass (Incomplete) 0 Run (Howard) 3
Pass (Jackson) 13 Run (Howard) -4
Pass (Neal) 10 Pass (Jordan) 9
Pass (Sack) -12 Run (Howard) 0
Run (Neal) 2 Pass (Jackson) 7
Pass (Incomplete) 0 Pass (Incomplete) 0
Penalty -5 Run (DeVito) 0
Pass (Sack) -2 Pass (Hackett) 8
Run (Adams) -2 Pass (Jackson) 3
Run (DeVito) 0 Pass (Jackson) 2
Pass (Riley) 7
Pass (Adams) 8
Run 7 9 yards 1.29 yds per play Run 5
Pass 7 5 yards 0.71 yds per play Pass 11
14 14 yards 1 yd per play 16
Run 12 15 yards 1.25 yds per play
Pass 18 94 yards 5.22 yds per play
30 109 yards 3.63 yds per play

The Orange had started to find success with two straight first-down passes which gained 10+ yards before a sack stopped all that momentum. Another drive was extinguished when Syracuse had a false start followed by a sack to quickly put the offense into a second and long situation.

In the second half, Syracuse was forced to throw more often and that resulted in more success moving the ball. Tommy DeVito completed 11 of 13 on first down in the half and he was spreading the ball around finding seven different receivers. Offensive coordinator Mike Lynch talked about the Orange being too predictable and perhaps the play calling needs to get away from running up the middle on first down and move towards spreading the ball around with short quick passes.

At the halfway point in the season it’s clear that not only is Syracuse struggling to run the ball but they are putting more pressure on the offensive line and DeVito by ending up in so many 3rd and long situations. Getting out of a pattern of running the ball on early downs isn’t what Dino Babers wants to do, but it might be what he needs to do to get Syracuse back to a bowl game this season.