Let’s just remember what happened the first six games of the season.
The Syracuse Orange got bullied by the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at home as a relentless ND rushing attack took control of the game. With Garrett Shrader not operating at full capacity either, the Orange offense looked loss in the first half, which set the tempo early and fully in favor of Notre Dame.
Here’s our three takeaways from a performance most Syracuse fans would like to forget:
The known weakness gets exploited
I think all of us, me included, underestimated how ready Notre Dame was ready to exploit Syracuse’s biggest weakness. The Orange run defense has been less than impressive all season and the Fighting Irish get the majority of their offense from the ground. With a three-back system, Notre Dame could keep rotating backs in and out to keep guys fresh to bully the Orange front. We knew that Syracuse’s defensive line coming into this season was inexperienced, but we expected that to become really evident in pass rush, not just in run defense as well. It’s now a big problem, especially against a couple of opponents coming up who have great running backs or running QBs.
Carlos Del Rio-Wilson starts the 2nd half at QB@QBCarlosDelrio pic.twitter.com/MODi7SaXEO— Syracuse Football (@CuseFootball) October 29, 2022
Almost had a UNC
The unintentional way to have a 2018 UNC is to have the starting quarterback get injured. That’s what happened to Garrett Shrader, which forced Carlos Del Rio-Wilson into action. He showed great downfield throws with noticeable zip on his balls. CDRW also showed decent scramble ability and his numbers looked worse largely due to factors outside of his control. Drops and a tipped ball at the line make his line look average at best. We could still be looking at a QB controversy much like 2018 UNC.
If you get a chance, take it
That’s what CDRW did, but some of the wide receivers didn’t do that. A number of dropped balls stopped drives and Shrader continues to not trust throwing to a variety of receivers. CDRW spread the ball out more and still, while his balls weren’t perfect, they were catchable. We continue to see the depth of this Syracuse squad tested much like in years past, but now the Orange have options and players that they believe in to still perform at a high level. Injuries are starting to ramp up and the Orange need players on both sides of the ball to step up. Otherwise, the backups may become starters.