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Syracuse football: first down offense vs Louisville

This would be nice to replicate each week

NCAA Football: Louisville at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

It hasn’t been particularly enjoyable to chart the Syracuse Orange first-down offense in recent years. Often predictable and forcing the offense into challenging situations, it was a chore to chart ineffective runs followed by second-halves with predictable passes.

On Saturday night Robert Anae and the Orange offense overcame all those penalties to make their first downs impactful. Syracuse wanted to have a balanced attack this year and they came out to do just that against Louisville to open the 2022 season.

Until they were trying to put the game away in the second half, Syracuse didn’t run the ball on more than two consecutive first downs. Look at this chart and tell me how a defensive coordinator is supposed to know what to key in on when the huddle breaks on first down?

First down offense vs Louisville 2022

Run or Pass- 1H Yards Run or Pass- 2H Yards
Run or Pass- 1H Yards Run or Pass- 2H Yards
Run (Tucker) 4 Run (Tucker) 11
Run (Shrader) 5 Pass (Cooper) 15
Pass (Gadsen) 14 Pass (Incomplete) 0
Run (Tucker) 10 Pass (Incomplete) 0
Pass (Tucker) 6 Run (Tucker) 12
Pass (Cooper) 7 Run (Tucker) 5
Pass (Tucker) 55 TD Pass (Tucker) 4
Run (Shrader) 9 Run (Tucker) -1
Pass (Incomplete) 0 Run (Shrader) 3
Run (Tucker) 2 Run (Tucker) 8
Run (Tucker) 1 Run (Shrader) 6 TD
Pass (Cooper) 15 Run (Tucker) 5
Run (Tucker) 4 TD Run (Tucker) 4
Run (Shrader) 6
Pass (Jones) 25
Run (Tucker) 2
Pass (Sack) -5
1st Half Plays Yards Avg yards per play
Run 9 41 4.55
Pass 8 117 14.62
Total 17 158 9.29
2nd Half Plays Yards Avg yards per play
Run 9 53 5.88
Pass 4 19 4.75
Total 13 72 5.54
Game Total Plays Yards Avg yards per play
Run 18 94 5.22
Pass 12 136 11.33
Total 30 230 7.67

Watch how this play is set up. Tucker motions out of the backfield and the Louisville safety on that side moves up. As the screen sets up, that safety is swallowed up by the Orange offensive line and when Tucker shakes the first tackle attempt, he’s off to the races because no one is deep on that side.

Of the 30 first-down plays that Syracuse ran on Saturday night, Tucker had touches on 16 of them. Can he keep up that pace over the full season? We’ll find out but unlike some games last season we weren’t left wondering why the Orange weren’t giving the ball to their best weapon.

I don’t think that all of the questions about the offense have been answered but you have to feel positive about the way the Orange attacked Louisville this week. The penalties and dropped passes will need to be cleaned up as the season progresses but getting the ball into second or third and short will keep all plays available for Syracuse and allow them to continue to utilize the running threat of Tucker and Shrader to move the ball.