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Syracuse’s 1st down offense vs. Clemson

Sean Tucker’s been a bright spot this fall

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Clemson Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

In a season of dark clouds for the Syracuse Orange offense we’ve found a platinum lining. On the road against the #1 Clemson Tigers, freshman running back Sean Tucker delivered the kind of running that this offense relies upon. In the second quarter Tucker took five 1st-down carries and turned them into 53 yards and a touchdown.

Steve and Andy talked about Tucker in this week’s LiveCast but that touchdown run showed the type of vision that has to excite Orange fans. He read the opening, made the cut and ran through a tackle into the end zone.

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

Without Tucker in the second half, the Syracuse running attack was largely ineffective. The Orange did take advantage on a long pass from Rex Culpepper to Nykeim Johnson which was well-designed. Johnson was match up on a safety in the slot and Syracuse ran him up the sideline where he beat his man and made a good read on Rex’s throw for the long touchdown.

When we talk about the improvement in the offensive play-calling, it is plays like that which highlight that Sterlin Gilbert is getting some effective first-down plays dialed up. Over the last two games Culpepper has hit three first-down passes for touchdowns and these are plays that are available when defenses are looking for the run. Rex could have had another one but he made a poor throw to Luke Benson with Syracuse in the red zone and that’s the plays the Orange need to clean up the rest of the season.

As calls for the young quarterbacks to see more time increase, it would help them a great deal if Tucker is healthy. His ability to run between the tackles bodes well for the rest of 2020 and beyond.