The Syracuse Orange did not get off to a hot start on Saturday night against the Liberty Flames, and only lead 10-0 at halftime. While SU could’ve scored more — a late Tommy DeVito interception prevented at least three more to pad the advantage — they could also potentially be trailing given the multitude of mistakes so far.
After starting with a three-and-out, Syracuse’s defense showed up to force a Liberty punt. However, that was quickly fumbled by Sean Riley. The Orange eventually managed a field goal thanks to some clutch play by the defense. Ifeatu Melifonwu pulled in one pick, while SU also forced a Flames fumble inside the 10. Andre Szmyt hit one 45-yard field goal. Syracuse’s touchdown came from the game’s leading rusher so far, Abdul Adams.
One of the reasons for last season’s offensive success was the run game, but that’s struggled for consistency in this game. Syracuse is averaging just 3.7 yards per carry. Adams has 38 yards on nine rushes, while Jarveon Howard has three for 17. Moe Neal has seven carries for 16 yards, but he’s been a much larger threat in the passing game, catching three balls for 54 yards.
Most of those gains — and passing success overall — came in the second half for Syracuse. Tommy DeVito’s just 11-of-26 on the game with 135 yards and two interceptions. Though he’s made some solid throws, he’s also missed on a few and looked a bit unsteady so far.
The story has really been the Orange’s defense. They’ve looked good against the run (16 yards for negative-12 yards) and have also collected five sacks so far. Hopefully they can continue the same sort of success in the second half, especially if the offense (which really hasn’t opened up the playbook yet) isn’t able to get going.
Certainly not the half we wanted or expected, and this might be a nervous final 30 minutes for Syracuse fans if the Orange don’t start putting more points on the board. Liberty will receive the kick at the start of the third.
Leave your in- and post-game comments here. We’ll have a quick recap up shortly after the game’s final whistle.