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Syracuse football’s first-down offense vs Florida State

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The run early and often approach appears again

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Florida State Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange offense was once again run-heavy this week at Florida State. After a poor first quarter on Saturday a Garrett Shrader roll-out turned the momentum.

This play highlights the tweaks that the Syracuse coaches made to the offense to utilize Shrader’s ability. The play above gets him out of the pocket with four receivers on one side of the field. After Shrader decides to run, a couple of key blocks (maybe penalties) spring him for a touchdown.

The Orange came back after this play to design their best drive of the game. Mixing the run and pass Syracuse moved the ball quickly and efficiently on their way to Shrader’s second touchdown of the half.

First Down Offense vs Virginia Tech

Run or Pass- 1H Yards Run or Pass- 2H Yards
Run or Pass- 1H Yards Run or Pass- 2H Yards
Run (Tucker) 2 Run (Shrader) 3
Run (Tucker) 6 Run (Tucker) 0
Run (Tucker) 2 Pass (Queeley) 17
Run (Tucker) 7 Run (Shrader) 5
Run (Tucker) -1 Run (Tucker) 1
Run (Shrader) 2 Pass (Incomplete) 0
Pass (Cooper) 7 Run (Tucker) 3
Pass (Tucker) 1 Pass (Incomplete) 0
Run (Shrader) 9 Run (Shrader) 0
Run (Shrader) 9 TD Run (Shrader) 5
Pass (Jackson) 18 Pass (Incomplete) 0
Pass (Jackson) 12 Run (Shrader) 3 TD
Run (Shrader) 23 Run (Tucker) 0
Pass (Incomplete) 0 Run (Shrader) -3
Pass (Incomplete) 0 Pass (Jackson) 9
Run (Jackson) 12
Run (Tucker) -2
Pass (Incomplete) 0
Pass (Tucker) 13
Pass (Alford) 45 TD
1st Half Plays Yards Avg yards per play
Run 9 59 6.55
Pass 6 38 6.33
Total 15 97 6.47
2nd Half Plays Yards Avg yards per play
Run 12 27 2.25
Pass 8 84 10.5
Total 20 111 5.55
Game Total Plays Yards Avg yards per play
Run 21 86 4.1
Pass 14 122 8.71
Total 35 208

The second half was just like last week as the Orange kept the ball on the ground without a lot of success. While the overall numbers look pretty good, Syracuse was too predictable on first down plays. In a game they lost by 3, it’s tough to look at two trips inside the 10 leading to 3 points as successful offense. This was one where the offense needed to be a bit better throughout the game and unfortunately they couldn’t pick up the defense in this one.

This is what we said here last week and it didn’t take long to play out despite the final number on the scoreboard.

There’s absolutely no reason to be disappointed in a win, especially one over Liberty, but there’s certainly reason for concern moving forward. Syracuse is half-way to bowl eligibility and as teams prepare to stop the run from the opening snap they will need to move the ball through the air.

I thought the number of short throws in the middle of the field were an improvement over passing attempts against Liberty but once again we saw a similar theme arise. Of Shrader’s thirteen completions, six went to Courtney Jackson and the running backs and tight ends had one reception. Last week the screen game was productive and Cooper Lutz who excelled out of the backfield last year hasn’t been seeing snaps on offense.

Will the Orange continue to adjust this week? With the departure of Taj Harris there needs to be some other players given the opportunity to get the offense headed in the right direction.