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What did Syracuse’s 1st down offense look like vs. Florida State?

These passing numbers are the scariest thing you’ll see this week

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Florida State Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports

Last week the Syracuse Orange struggled on first down plays for the entire game against the Pittsburgh Panthers. As they hit the road to face a less formidable defensive front would that change?

In a word, No. In a few words oh god was the first-down offense against Florida State Seminoles awful. I know you’re thinking it’s been bad all year so just how much worse could it have been on Saturday?

Well see for yourselves..

Syracuse vs Florida 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
Pass (Sack) -8 Run (Adams) 2
Run (Neal) -1 Run (Neal) 8
Run (Neal) 1 Run (Neal) 4
Run (Adams) 3 Pass (Adams) 6
Pass (Riley) 8 Pass (Incomplete) 0
Pass (Howard) 4 Run (Howard) 8
Run (Howard) 2 Run (DeVito) 13
Run (Neal) 2 Run (Neal) -8
Run (Neal) 2 Run (Neal) 5
Run (DeVito) 5 Run (Adams) 2 (TD)
Pass (Incomplete) 0 Run (Neal) 2
Pass (Sack) -2 Run (Adams) 2
Pass (Incomplete) 0 Pass (Sack) -6
Run (Howard) 4 Run (Adams) 20
Pass (Howard) -1 Run (Adams) -1
Run (Neal) 1 (TD)
Run 8 18 yards 2.25 yds per play Run 13
Pass 7 11 yards 1.57 yds per play Pass 3
15 39 yards 2.6 yds per play 16
Run 21 76 yards 3.62 yds per play
Pass 10 11 yards 1.1 yds per play
31 87 yards 2.81 yds per play

First-down passes are supposed to be effective because the defense isn’t playing to defend them and in the first half the Orange called seven passes and gained eleven yards. Combine that with last week’s first-half numbers against Pitt and Syracuse has called eighteen first-down passes and gained twenty-two yards on them.

This lack of execution constantly put Syracuse’s offense (now with two first-year tackles) into second and long situations. This plays right into the defense’s hands as now they don’t need to worry about the run and are focused on shutting down the Orange passing game. A bright spot of this game was that Syracuse was able to find success running the ball in the second half.

Syracuse hasn’t scored a first-half touchdown against a P5 opponent since the Maryland game. The lack of execution to start games isn’t indicative of a strong gameplan as those first few series should be featuring the plays the Orange expect to succeed (Although I do think last week’s opening play was well-designed but poorly executed).

The last four games will need to show a lot of improvement if the Orange’s slim bowl game hopes are to be kept alive. You cannot continue to fall behind by multiple scores in the first half and expect to be able to rally for wins. At some point Syracuse needs to move away from what they want to do to what they can do. If that point isn’t this Saturday agains the Boston College Eagles then even the most ardent Orange football fans are going to be packing it in until 2020.