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Syracuse football: first down offense vs Florida State

Non-existent passing game was a killer

NCAA Football: Florida State at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange offense continues to create new ways to help the defense.

Against Florida State the Orange found limited succes running the ball on first down plays but unlike last week the passing game was putrid. How bad? How about seven pass plays on first downs resulting in a total of three yards. Add in two penalties which wiped out first downs and you can see why the Orange failed to find the end zone for the second straight game.

(And Dino, Norvell ran a 4th down Philly Special up 28 points. Call your time outs and try and score in the final minute.)

So can Syracuse find a solution? Let’s discuss after we look at the numbers from Saturday

First down offense vs Florida State

Run or Pass- 1H Yards Run or Pass- 2H Yards
Run or Pass- 1H Yards Run or Pass- 2H Yards
Pass (Incomplete) 0 Run (Tucker) 5
Run (Tucker) 4 Run (Tucker) 4
Run (Tucker) 5 Run (Tucker) 4
Run (Tucker) 16 Run (Tucker) 4
Run (Tucker) 1 Pass (Pena) 10
Run (Shrader) -2 Pass (Incomplete) 0
Pass (Tucker) -1 Run (Tucker) 7
Run (Shrader) 4 Sack (Shrader) -6
Pass (Incomplete) 0 Run (Allen) 6
Pass (Incomplete) 0 Run (Allen) 11
Run (Del Rio-Wilson) 7
Run (Allen) 7
Run (Allen) 1
1st Half Plays Yards Avg yards per play
Run 6 28 4.67
Pass 4 -1 0
Total 10 27 2.7
2nd Half Plays Yards Avg yards per play
Run 10 56 5.6
Pass 3 4 0.75
Total 13 50 3.85
Game Total Plays Yards Avg yards per play
Run 16 84 5.25
Pass 7 3 0.43
Total 23 87 3.78

Early in the year Syracuse attacked opponents with throws over the middle. Teams have certainly seen that Shrader likes to target Oronde Gadsden and the Orange haven’t adjusted. Throws to the outside were ineffective and as the guys discussed on this week’s podcast, the offense has been too predictable.

There was a glimpse of hope in the second half when Shrader had Tucker on a deep route but missed him. Shrader seemed rusty and the early-season accuracy wasn’t there. If he’s the quarterback this week then the coaches need to get him some easy throws early to build some confidence.

We haven’t seen a second wide receiver emerge this season so maybe it’s time for the staff to get Stephen Mahar on the field as a receiver. He’s not going to have the shiftiness of Trebor Pena or Courtney Jackson but his size over the middle could provide an easier target- especially on first downs.

If not Mahar then is there an opportunity for LeQuint Allen to line up along with Tucker in the backfield? Where were D’Marcus Adams or Umari Hatcher? Nothing else is working so the coaching staff needs to get creative to get some points on the board.