That was less than pretty from the Syracuse Orange as the team, once again, looked anemic coming off a bye week. Louisville dominated all aspects of the game as the Cardinals waltzed to a 41-3 victory over the Orange.
Here’s our three takeaways from the game:
There’s now a blueprint to beat Syracuse’s defense
Louisville established all the momentum it needed during its first drive. The Cardinals did that by running around the tackles and using wide receiver screens to open up holes. More importantly, Louisville showed a key weakness in the Syracuse defense - if you can avoid the Orange linebackers, it becomes a lot easier to run the ball.
As much as the Orange secondary has improved from the makeshift unit that made up last season’s bang-up squad, it’s still a weakness that has been exposed. So much of Syracuse’s rushing defense is based on the Orange linebackers stuffing the gaps that once teams avoid them, it becomes a lot easier to move the chains for opponents.
Syracuse got beat in the trenches on both sides of the ball
Something else that helped Louisville move the ball was its offensive line play, as the edge rushers of Cody Roscoe, Kingsley Jonathan and Josh Black didn’t get much going and couldn’t help plug the ends of the line when the Cardinals ran outside. Louisville also got extra yards multiple times with extra pushes and shoves from the offensive line.
On the offensive side, Sean Tucker couldn’t play his patient game by waiting for a gap and cutting as the offensive line couldn’t create gaps or shove defensive linemen out of the way quickly enough. Airon Servais also had multiple bad snaps and the pocket collapsed to quickly for Garrett Shrader (though a lot of the offensive blame falls on him as well). Not a good day in the middle for Syracuse.
That’ll do it for Syracuse’s bowl hopes
Let’s remember, Louisville’s defense, among most metrics, is ranked lower than NC State’s and Pitt’s defense. While the Wolfpack certainly don’t possess the same offense as the Cardinals, Pitt has Kenny Pickett, who’ll probably see some of the open throws Malik Cunningham had today and will be licking his lips.
Syracuse needs to figure out something quick, because both remaining opponents on the schedule are much better than Louisville on paper. Add it all together, and the chances of the Orange going bowling are probably out of the window.