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Syracuse’s first down offense vs. Ohio

Wait until you see these 2nd half numbers...

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 04 Syracuse at Ohio Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Syracuse Orange didn’t show a lot of wrinkles in their 29-9 victory over the Ohio Bobcats. Like it or not the Orange decided to run the ball again and again against their overmatched MAC hosts. This allowed Syracuse to avoid giving the Rutgers Scarlet Knights a lot of film to key on before this weekend’s game.

As we’ve talked about in this space the past few seasons, Dino Babers’ offense and the tempo he wants to exert on his opponents is predicated on first down success. The Orange have struggled in that regard the last two seasons and with a porous offensive line being forced to try and convert 3rd and long situations was a recipe for disaster.

Obviously it’s only one game but the Syracuse offense controlled the line of scrimmage and put a close game away in the second half with their first down success. The first half numbers weren’t great but Syracuse avoided negative plays. In fact the only negative first down play of the entire game was a kneel-down to end the first half.

First down offense vs Rutgers

Run or Pass Yards Run or Pass Yards
Run or Pass Yards Run or Pass Yards
Pass (Harris) 6 Pass (Incomplete) 0
Run (Tucker) 3 Run (Tucker) 0
Run (Lutz) 3 Run (Tucker) 24 TD
Run (Tucker) 6 Pass (Harris) 3
Pass (Incomplete) 0 Pass (Lutz) 3
Run (Tucker) 5 Run (DeVito) -10
Pass (Jackson) 7 Run (DeVito) 20
Run (Tucker) 0 Run (DeVito) 0
Run (Shrader) 2 Run (DeVito) -5
Run (Tucker) 1 Pass (Incomplete) 0
Pass (Incomplete) 0
Pass (Tucker) 10
Pass (Incomplete) 0
Run (Tucker) 0
1st Half Plays Yards Avg yards per play
Run 8 20 2.5
Pass 6 23 3.83
Total 14 43 3.07
2nd Half Plays Yards Avg yards per play
Run 6 29 4.83
Pass 4 6 1.5
Total 10 35 3.5
Game Total Plays Yards Avg yards per play
Run 12 64 3.5
Pass 10 29 2.9
Total 24 78 3.25
1st down statistics vs Rutgers

Those second half numbers will make the coaching staff smile. Over eight yards per carry while trying to put the game away and keep the defense off the field is a job well done by the much-maligned offensive line. While Tommy DeVito wasn’t asked to do much on Saturday night, if opponents must keep seven or eight defenders in the box he’ll have the opportunity to make plays downfield. Sean Tucker was outstanding in the first game and the Orange decided to ride the hot hand.

I realize some fans wanted to see more of Garrett Shrader and the returning Jarveon Howard and Abdul Adams but the game situation didn’t call for changing the rhythm the Orange had going. We saw games last year when Syracuse didn’t gain 190 yards of total offense so to see that yardage on first downs is a sight for sore eyes (and other parts of the quarterback’s body).

Now we’ll see if Syracuse can keep this up against a tougher opponent.