clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

What Syracuse football did right vs. Duke, and what they need to improve vs. Louisville

What did the Orange do differently against the Blue Devils, aside from winning.

Syracuse v Duke Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

The Syracuse Orange football team defeated the Duke Blue Devils, their first win since defeating Holy Cross on September 28. That’s what they did differently in Durham and what they should do this weekend in Louisville.

Because TNIAAM is a Fine Internet Establishment (TM), we have some more in depth analysis. Well, our former SB Nation compatriot Bill Connolly does, via his Advanced Box Scores on Twitter.

What the Orange did right

  • They scored a ton of points. More specifically, they averaged 7 points per scoring opportunity (that national average is 4.44). Bill references it in his first bullet, but ‘Cuse only had one more opp than Duke, so that insane success rate contributed to the blowout. Thanks, revamped running game!
  • All that green around turnovers? The Orange’s 3 turnovers were relatively in line with their expected turnovers, so ‘Cuse didn’t need a ton of luck to take advantage of Duke mistakes.
  • The Orange didn’t pass a ton, but when they did, it counted. The 2.09 IsoPPP was buoyed by ‘Cuse having solid success on standard downs through the air.

What the Orange need to fix

  • The downside of the passing game was that they weren’t all that good when Duke knew they would pass; The 1.29 IsoPPP on passing downs was a poor showing below the national average (1.53).
  • On that passing note, Bill calls out Taj Harris; the receiver was targeted six times and ended up with no catches. This may need to change in a closer game with thinner margins.
  • ‘Cuse only managed 4.2 plays per drive. Big plays bailed the Orange out, which can work! But in an offense desperately looking for rhythm and consistency, reliance on chunk plays aren’t fixing underlying issues.

The Orange may not have dominated Duke statistically the same way the score line indicated, but they did win convincingly enough to see some of the glimmers of success from last year shine through.