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Syracuse football: Orange passing game needs to get back to working the middle

The sideline wasn’t kind on Saturday

NCAA Football: Clemson at Syracuse Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange offense struggled against the Clemson Tigers on Saturday. If the Orange are going to avoid another mid-season losing streak, they are going to need to get back on track this weekend against UNC.

One thing that many noted during Saturday’s game was that Garrett Shrader took a lot of deep shots down the sidelines. Syracuse’s wide receivers had one on one matchups on these throws, but as you can see below, these attempts netted nothing for the Orange.

The absence of Oronde Gadsden, Isaiah Jones and Trebor Pena takes away a number of Shrader’s middle of the field options, but Jason Beck needs to keep finding ways to get his quarterback throwing where he is most comfortable.

Against Army we saw Damien Alford in the slot, but on balls attempted to him, Donovan Brown and Umari Hatcher, Syracuse completed only 5 of 17 attempts. Dan Villari and LeQuint Allen were effective, but with Villari’s status unknown, does this open a spot for freshman tight end David Clement? Will we see a return to the Pinstripe Bowl game plan with more targets for Allen?

The short, quick passing game has worked well for the Orange this year and if they want to get an upset road win the next two weeks, they will have to find a way to get back to that game plan.