While the final score looks like a pretty rough day for the Orange offense, there were some bright spots. JaCobian Morgan got the start for the first time in his career after playing just the final drive in last week’s loss to Wake Forest. In for the full game vs. Boston College, he was 19-of-30 for 188 yards, one touchdown and an interception.
At least early on, he was moving the ball with purpose and tempo, and was pretty accurate on short and mid-range throws. His best ball may have been on an end zone fade route to Taj Harris that was just a hair out of bounds in the second quarter. His best play, however, was a 14-yard scamper that put SU on the goal line with less than 30 seconds to go. He found Aaron Hackett on the next play for the TD to get within three points. They wouldn’t recover the ensuing onside kick and Boston College was able to kill off the clock.
SU and BC were actually pretty locked in at 3 in this one until late in the second quarter, when the Eagles managed to get into the end zone to take a 10-3 lead before half. The Eagles were up 16-6 late in the fourth quarter before the aforementioned late touchdown.
It was easy to spot that he was Morgan’s favorite target. The junior wideout caught seven passes for 61 yards on the day. Anthony Queeley had three receptions for 49 yards, while Cooper Lutz had three for 35 and Sean Tucker caught two for 34 yards (including a really nice 26-yard screen). Tucker also led the way on the ground with 52 yards. However, it was a big fumble late in the fourth that helped put the final nail in the coffin. BC would take over in the red zone and tack on another field goal to go up by two scores.
The late turnovers (which both occurred in the fourth quarter with SU down just a touchdown) were really the biggest gaffes for the Orange on the day. The defense regularly got BC into third down situations, but did allow them to convert nine of 17 opportunities. ‘Cuse looked better in the red zone, forcing field goals most of the time — two of which, the Eagles actually missed. Boston College also punted four times on the afternoon.
Though BC came in with a struggling run game, they were able to execute a bit better on the ground vs. Syracuse (a theme you may recall from last year). They ran for nearly 200 yards on the afternoon, and amassed about the same through the air.
Rob Hanna led the Orange with eight tackles and Mikel Jones had seven. Syracuse had three tackles for loss on the day, from Garrett Williams, McKinley Williams and Cody Roscoe, respectively. No turnovers for the second straight game, however.
Close game, obviously. But in some ways, it’s hard to get a read on what we saw today. Because on the one hand, things looked pretty good on defense from a situational standpoint, yet BC still ran on them easily. The defense was also put in a situation where they were they had to make constant stops since the offense stalled out on BC’s side of the field.
Offensively, there was some early tempo, but things slowed and the passing game stopped being as efficient by the second half. The Orange wound up running around 50 plays (51, to be exact) on the day — which is brutal considering how Dino Babers’s teams started at SU. Morgan did well for the most part and showed more poise than any other Orange QB this year, but also made some freshman mistakes. That said, we’d rather see that and have him learn from the experience, than continually trot out players who aren’t part of the program’s future.
SU’s 1-7 on the year now, and thankfully has a bye next weekend. More recaps to follow this afternoon.