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Syracuse football’s player of the game vs. Wake Forest

An unexpected player receives the top honors this week

NCAA Football: Wake Forest at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

When I sit down to write these Syracuse Orange player of the game articles, I usually have a clear idea who I’m going to name. This week, that wasn’t so clear after the Wake Forest game. No one really stood out too much to assert his influence on the game.

Then I looked at the stats once again, especially Pro Football Focus’ premium stats and grades, and it became abundantly clear who I should pick for this week’s player of the game. He was one of the last guys I expected to get a player of the game award from me this week, let alone this year. But that is Syracuse’s 2020 season for you, so let’s embrace the chaos and the injuries.

NCAA Football: Wake Forest at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Cooper Lutz

Lutz was the highest-graded offensive player of the game with a 77.8. The second highest offensive grade was a 66.2 (which to the delight of many Orange fans, was JaCobian Morgan). Lutz ran 15 times for 84 yards, which averages out to 5.4 yards a carry. To put that in perspective, Sean Tucker is averaging 5.1 yards a carry this year. That means that Lutz put a very similar performance to what Tucker has done this year.

I doubt many people expected the Syracuse offense to even have a chance at developing any sort of momentum when it was revealed that Tucker didn’t dress for the Wake Forest game. However, Lutz did enough with his runs around the tackles to set up manageable situations that the Orange could theoretically easily convert into first downs. While the passing game didn’t return the favor, Lutz did what he could to set up Syracuse for theoretical success.

That raises multiple questions for the Boston College game. The first question surrounds the availability of Tucker. While Lutz did well against the Demon Deacons, I’m sure most fans would rather have Tucker carry the ball against the Eagles. The second question is if Lutz’s performance was a fluke. If the redshirt sophomore can replicate that performance in a similar manner against the Eagles, Syracuse could have another capable option at running back not just for the rest of the season, but for the future as well.

Honorable Mentions: Nykeim Johnson, Garrett Williams, Ifeatu Melifonwu, Tyrell Richards

Now it’s your turn. Who was Syracuse’s player of the game against Wake Forest? Sound off in the comments below.