The Syracuse Orange came into College Park, Md. today ranked and hoping to get to 2-0 before a big visit from the top-ranked Clemson Tigers. Instead, they’ll leave 1-1 and licking some wounds following a 63-20 shellacking at the hands of the Maryland Terrapins.
Maryland jumped out to a 14-0 lead start early, before SU trimmed the lead to seven points. The Terps were off and running from there, however, extending the advantage to 29 by halftime at 42-13. Things settled down in the second half, as each team put up just seven in the third quarter. There was no real comeback effort here, though, as Syracuse couldn’t really get on the board in the fourth quarter (zero points) despite several tries.
The focus should first and foremost go toward the defense when looking at the loss. They allowed 63 points, and while two of those drives were set up by Tommy DeVito turnovers (a fumble and an interception), that doesn’t cause you to let an opponent accumulate 652 total yards — including 296 through the air — over the course of a game.
Maryland’s Josh Jackson threw for 296 yards and three scores, with most of that production coming in the first half. Four different Terps backs ran for at least 60 yards, led by Javon Leake (107).
Syracuse’s defense struggled throughout as the vaunted defensive line couldn’t get a ton of pressure on Jackson and collected just one sack. The linebackers were under fire for much of the game, biting on play action throughout. SU’s secondary also found itself out of place frequently, though Andre Cisco managed nine tackles and an interception (his second of the season).
Offensively, the numbers don’t look too bad, but the pace for the Orange was definitely off. At times, SU ran its hurry-up offense and things were clicking. At many others, they were a bit slower and more methodical. Syracuse ran fewer than 75 plays on the day.
For DeVito, it was a pretty solid day aside from the turnovers and a questionable throw or two. He was 28-of-39 for 330 yards and three touchdowns. Trishton Jackson led the receivers after a rough week one. He had seven catches for 157 yards and two scores. Taj Harris had five catches for 85 yards, including a really nice 29-yard grab in the first half. Moe Neal has also gotten involved in the passing game a lot, with six catches for 40 yards on the afternoon. Sean Riley had the other touchdown, along with five receptions of his own.
Neal was SU’s leader in the run game, with 12 carries for 47 yards. Abdul Adams added 37 yards on seven carries. Syracuse ran the ball reasonably well on the day, but once they were down by 20-plus, they simply had to abandon it while a comeback was still feasible.
So Syracuse drops this one in resounding fashion, falling to 1-1 and certainly stopping them from hosting College Gameday next week. This is why you don’t schedule two road games to start a season as a Power Five school — especially one with a rebuilding offensive line and a first-time starter at quarterback.
We’ll have more materials today and tomorrow, though certainly many of you don’t really want to revisit this atrocity.