clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Syracuse football’s 1st down offense vs Louisville

Big plays gave the Orange a chance at a road win.

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

All season long we’ve been tracking the Syracuse Orange first-down offense and an area that has been a problem has suddenly become a strength as the season comes to a close. Last week we saw the Orange using the run to put the game away but this week it was a number of big plays which gave the Syracuse offense chances against the Louisville Cardinals.

We’ve been concerned about the in-game adjustments this season but once again the Syracuse offense came out with a solid plan to open the game. A missed opportunity in the red zone ended the drive with a field goal instead of a touchdown but it set the tone for what the Orange would do throughout the game.

Syracuse vs Louisville

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 (Benson) 11 Run (Neal) 8
Run (Neal) 12 Run (Neal) -4
Run (Neal) 9 Pass (Harris) 11
Pass (Incomplete) 0 Run (Howard) 0
Run (Neal) 6 Run (Neal) 13
Run (Adams) 5 Run (Neal) 45 (TD)
Pass (Harris) 9 Run (Neal) 33
Run (Adams) 1 Run (Neal) -1
Run (Adams) 7 Run (Howard) 16 (TD)
Run (DeVito) 2 Run (Jordan) 6
Pass (Hackett) 20 (TD) Run (Neal) 3
Pass (Harris) 6 Pass (Harris) 12
Pass (Incomplete) 0 Run (Neal) 1
Pass (Riley) 6 Run (Jordan) 3
Run (Howard) 4 Run (Howard) 0*
Run (Neal) 1 Pass (Jordan) 81
Run (Howard) 0
Run (Jordan) 7
Run 9 47 yards 5.22 yds per play Run 15
Pass 7 52 yards 7.43 yds per play Pass 3
16 99 yards 6.19 yds per play 18
Run 24 177 yards 7.38 yds per play
Pass 10 156 yards 15.6 yds per play
34 333 yards 9.8 yds per play

Yes those numbers are correct and the Orange even converted three first downs into touchdowns and hopefully some of this success can carry over into 2020. Finding success on first down opens up more options for offense and allows the Syracuse offense to find the quick tempo it craves. It’s unfortunate that the offensive display went for naught as this is what Orange fans have been waiting to see.

Once again it was Moe Neal doing a lot of damage on the ground as the Orange offensive line was able to create lanes between the tackles. Neal ran for a career high on Saturday which makes me wonder why he wasn’t out there after the Andre Cisco interception. The Orange were looking to make it a one-score game and instead went to Jarveon Howard who was stopped for no gain. Rotating running backs is fine but at that point Syracuse should have trusted their senior leader.

With one game left against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons we’ll see if Syracuse can finish the disappointing season with some momentum. If Tommy DeVito is out then there will be even more pressure on the running game but the emergence of Jawhar Jordan as a playmaker and a focus on getting the ball in the hands of Taj Harris are good signs moving forward.