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Syracuse football’s first down offense vs. Liberty

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The offense showed progress but could have done more with early opportunities

NCAA Football: Liberty at Syracuse Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time this season, the Syracuse Orange offense actually won the first down battle. It’s not going to cushion the blow of losing to Liberty, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Sean Tucker was very effective in the first half and that running helped set up a nice touchdown throw from Rex Culpepper to Taj Harris. Gaining over 5 yards on first down put the Orange in good situations to score more than the 14 points they managed and it was mistakes on other downs that cost Syracuse 10 points.

First Down Offense vs Boston College

Run or Pass Yards Run or Pass Yards
Run or Pass Yards Run or Pass Yards
Run (Tucker) 0 Pass (Harris) 6
Pass (Incomplete) 0 Run (Tucker) 15
Pass (Benson) 2 Pass (Harris) 8
Run (Tucker) 2 Run (Tucker) 4
Run (Tucker) 8 Pass (Sack) -10
Pass (Harris) 9 Run (Lutz) 1
Pass (Harris) 24 Run (Tucker) -1
Run (Tucker) 6 Pass (Lutz) 5
Run (Lutz) 2 Pass (Lutz) 12
Run (Tucker) 2 Pass (Incomplete) 0
Run (Morgan) -3 Pass (Hackett) 1 TD
Run (Tucker) 5
1st Half Plays Yards Avg yards per play
Run 8 22 2.75
Pass 4 35 8.75
Total 12 57 4.75
2nd Half Plays Yards Avg yards per play
Run 4 19 4.75
Pass 7 22 3.14
Total 11 41 3.72
Game Total Plays Yards Avg yards per play
Run 12 41 3.42
Pass 11 57 6.09
Total 23 98 4.26

The second half play-calling was a disappointment. Even before it was a three score game the Orange went away from the running game. We won’t know if these calls were RPO plays but in a game where the run was effective to go away from it too early should be questioned.

This is the second game in a row where the Orange have abandoned the run too early. We have talked in our internal Slack that not having an All 22 view makes it difficult to see if that’s based on the defense’s look as opposed to the offensive strategy. Syracuse has done a better job of getting other players involved but consistency is still lacking.

This week’s game at Clemson isn’t likely to provide an opportunity for success but moving forward we’ll see how Syracuse adjusts the game plan. Tucker has shown an ability to move the chains and then the Orange can utilize the threat of the run to open up some easy throws for Culpepper.