Since we don’t have any current sports on the docket, and we don’t have any current iterations of NCAA Football, we’ll be continuing to play through the Syracuse Orange football season on NCAA Football 13 for the PlayStation 3.
To get you up to speed, here are the first and second parts of the series. We’re moving on to the first gameday, a test of the Orange’s fortitude, hitting the road to Byrd Stadium, which is now apparently generically named Maryland Stadium in reality, not in the game. As you can imagine, after watching the mess that the Orange got themselves into down there in reality, I was slightly worried heading into week one.
In NCAA Football terms, the Orange were actually significant favorites. As you can imagine, coming off a season ranked, the ratings on a lot of position groups are quite high and Maryland was coming into this in rebuilding form.
The Terps took the opening kick for a touchback, because Andre Szmyt happened (he’s our kickoff guy in this). So the game started off hot for the Orange, with the defense coming to play. Quick three and out, with the below sack by Trill Williams, stealing the thunder from Andre Cisco in the stat column. I would have given them each a half, but the game disagreed.
Immediately after that, things went a bit south. Syracuse quickly went three and out, on account of Tommy DeVito missing two reads that almost ended up as interceptions, Moe Neal running up the middle for a yard, and a Sterling Hofrichter bomb, as to be expected. On the first play from scrimmage, Josh Jackson tosses a 54 yard bomb to Jeshaun Jones for the quick 7-0 Maryland lead.
The Orange once again did nothing with their subsequent possession, DeVito tossing a pick across the middle from the Orange 30 yard line. Subsequently, they were able to stop the Terps and retain possession at the end of the first quarter, only down a score.
To open the second quarter, Tommy Devito and the Orange started off the fireworks for the quarter, hitting Taj Harris for a long completion up the middle and then finishing it off with a Trishton Jackson, 3-yard touchdown reception.
Jackson and the Terps answered right back, marching the field in quick time, taking advantage of outside routes in one-on-one coverage, leading to Jackson waltzing into the endzone on a read option to put Maryland back ahead. The Orange finished out the fireworks for the quarter with a drive heavily reliant on Moe Neal and finished off with his 1-yard off tackle touchdown run, ending the half tied 14-14.
In the relatively uneventful (defense heavy) second half, the two bright spots were Abdul Adams breaking a 36-yard touchdown run and shedding a blocker in his one and only carry on the day. Andre Szmyt finished off the scoring in the fourth with a field goal to put the final score at 24-14 good guys.
Player of the Week - Moe Neal - 17 carries, 66 yards, TD
Passing - Devito - 16/24, 162 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT, 120.4 rating
Receiving - Aaron Hackett - 4 Rec, 61 yards; Harris - 1 Rec, 40 yards, TD
Defense - Evan Foster - 7 tackles, 1 TFL; Trill - 6 tackles, 2 TFL; Josh Black - 2 tackles, 1 sack
Consider this one avenged. Final stats for the week are below. Four the big outlier in the stats, I converted two out of three fourth downs, as I was weirdly put in three situations where Dino would have gone for it. Two of them were fifty plus yards kicks that were 4th and a yard or less, one of which was converted. The other was a flow of the game decision that worked out.
It was a good overall run to open the season, and good to get a better result than the 2019 season down there, but wasn’t an easy road to get there. Next week the Orange take on the Virginia Tech Hokies in the