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Syracuse’s first down offense vs Western Michigan

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2nd half success helped the tempo

NCAA Football: Western Michigan at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve talked a lot about the Syracuse Orange’s tempo on offense and the importance of running the ball successfully. A lot of the struggles in that area can point back to the struggles to move the ball consistently in the first three weeks. Those struggles continued in the first half against the Western Michigan Broncos as the Orange were only picking up 2.5 yards per 1st down play.

Syracuse on 1st down vs Western Michigan

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 0 Run 6
Run 3 Pass (Incomplete) 0
Pass -1 Run 6
Pass 10 Run 4
Run 9 Pass 46 (TD)
Pass (Incomplete) 0 Pass 4
Run 3 Pass 8
Run 1 Run 2
Run 3 Run 3
Pass 6 Run 2
Pass 4 Run 18
Run 0 Run 1
Run 5 Run 5
Pass (Incomplete) 0 Run 1
Run 1 Run 16 (TD)
Run -1
Pass 5
Pass -3
Run 10 24 2.4 yds per play Run 11
Pass 8 21 2.6 yds per play Pass 4
Total 18 45 2.5 yds per play Total 15

In the second half Syracuse found room to run the ball and that gave the offense a spark. With the Broncos playing the run, Tommy DeVito was able to get the ball to Trishton Jackson in space and Jackson made two defenders miss on his way to this long touchdown.

This has been the kind of quick strike play that has been hard to find for the Orange this season but it demonstates what happens when opponents are forced to keep linebackers and safeties near the line of scrimmage to slow down the run. With Syracuse looking to put the game away in the fourth quarter the offensive line gave Moe Neal space to run and keep the clock moving.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 21 Western Michigan at Syracuse Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Syracuse should be able to effectively run the ball this weekend against Holy Cross but success during the rest of the ACC schedule will be easier if they can continue to win on first down. Getting into favorable down and distance allows the Orange to keep the defense off-balanced and sets up the opportunity for the type of explosive plays we’ve seen in the Dino Babers era.