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Syracuse football: first down offense vs Boston College

Once again the Orange stumble on early downs

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 03 Boston College at Syracuse Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Syracuse Orange offense was improved on Friday night, but it left too many opportunities on the table.

An anemic passing game and inability to turn great field position into points led to the 10 point outing. The overall first down numbers are inflated by two long LeQuint Allen runs. Take away the 32 and 56 yard runs, and Syracuse put up 2.5 yards on the other 18 first-down plays.

First down offense vs BC

Run or Pass- 1H Yards Run or Pass- 2H Yards
Run or Pass- 1H Yards Run or Pass- 2H Yards
Run (Allen) 2 Pass (Villari) 5
Run (Del-Rio Wilson) 4 Pass (Villari) 3
Run (Del-Rio Wilson) 3 Run (Del-Rio Wilson) 2
Run (Del-Rio Wilson) 5 Pass (Incomplete) 0
Run (Allen) 32 Run (Allen) 56
Run (Allen) 4 Pass (Hatcher) 2
Pass (Incomplete) 0 Run (Allen) 5
Run (Allen) 3 Pass (Interception) 0
Pass (Hatcher) 4 Run (Del-Rio Wilson) 2
Run (Del-Rio Wilson) 2 Pass (Interception) 0
1st Half Plays Yards Avg yards per play
Run 8 55 6.88
Pass 2 4 2
Total 10 59 5.9
2nd Half Plays Yards Avg yards per play
Run 4 65 16.25
Pass 6 10 1.67
Total 10 75 7.5
Game Total Plays Yards Avg yards per play
Run 12 120 10
Pass 8 14 1.75
Total 20 134 6.7

Two first-down plays stood out to me as the biggest missed opportunities. First was the play after a late hit on Del-Rio Wilson gave Syracuse the ball in BC territory with under 30 seconds in the first half. With two timeouts, the Orange ran the ball straight ahead with Del-Rio Wilson for two yards and settled for a 57-yard field goal attempt. Second came after Justin Barron’s big hit and forced fumble. With the ball easily in field goal range in a 10-10 tie, Syracuse called a pass over the middle that was intercepted.

The end of the first half saw BC reeling a bit and the Orange had a chance to take a shot to get into closer field goal range. The idea that a 50+ yard field goal calls for a safe approach doesn’t make sense. To follow that up by taking a risk in the 4th quarter in a tie game where you have a chip shot field goal is equally frustrating. Orange fans would have certainly preferred seeing a 2nd quarter interception while trying to get in the end zone and three conservative runs to set up the go-ahead field goal later in the game.

Without Garrett Shrader, Syracuse needs to find creative ways to move the ball. Donovan Brown had a nice punt return but no touches on offense. As good as Allen was running the ball , maybe mixing in some touches for Juwan Price would keep Allen fresh and give defenses a new wrinkle to address. The same could be said about a target for David Clement who has been on the field as an extra blocker and could provide a big target in the middle for whoever is taking snaps for the Orange next week.

One thing that has to stop happening are all the first-down penalties. The Orange repeatedly put themselves in negative situations that impact the game plan and take away the offense’s rhythm.