Fizz Five: Takeaways from Syracuse’s ACC Road Win Over NC State

The Fizz Five takeaways from the NC State game offer insights into bowl chances.

Photo by Dick Blume

The Orange went on the road and knocked off NC State for its first win in the ACC. It was a big win for the Orange, picking up the pieces after a blowout to Clemson last week, and leveling its record to 3-3, keeping a bowl game legitimately in view.

1)   The Orange must rely on the running game

Over the past two weeks, the Orange has rushed for nearly 685 yards and 5 touchdowns. Jerome Smith has gone over 100 yards in both games and has a touchdown in each game. Against NC State, Prince-Tyson Gulley got it going on the ground as well. PTG went over 100 yards for the first time this year, a lot of them coming at the end when the Orange was going for the lead and then looking to extend it. To add a third piece into the running game, Terrel Hunt was extremely effective, going for 92 yards and a touchdown on the ground. The ground game carried this team, and it looks like it will need to stay that way for the team to keep winning.

2)   The passing game needs to improve

In two games against ACC opponents, Hunt has looked lost. The most distressing part is that against NC State, the Syracuse wide receivers had just four catches. Jeremiah Kobena and Chris Clark both had two—that coming after no Syracuse wide receiver made a catch against Clemson. And for all the talk when Drew Allen was struggling about the chemistry between Jarrod West and Hunt, West has just six catches from Hunt, with five coming against Wagner and the other against Tulane. West is supposed to be the number one receiver on this team, and he doesn’t have a catch since the beginning of the second quarter against Tulane. Understand that part of playing a young quarterback, like Hunt, is going through the growing pains and mistakes. But the Orange will need him to complete more passes and be able to pick up enough yards to get first downs.

3)   The front seven on defense is legit

NC State had been averaging almost 190 yards a game rushing before this weekend. Syracuse held the Wolfpack to 129 yards on the ground. More so, the longest run the Orange allowed came from the quarterback Pete Thomas, who finished with just 31 yards rushing. The front 7 of the defense did a great job stuffing holes and keeping the running game at bay for most of the game. Linebackers Cam Lynch, Dyshawn Davis and Marquis Spruill played well, clogged the holes during the running game and also created pressure in the passing game.  Jay Bromley again had a huge game up front, getting penetration through the line with relative ease.

4)   The secondary looked better

The Orange did not allow the big play like they had against Clemson, Penn State, and Northwestern. The longest passing play was 29 yards— not bad, especially when you consider it was the Orange’s first game without its top cornerback. Brandon Reddish and Julian Whigham played well in Keon Lyn’s place. Durell Eskridge came up with a timely interception right after Hunt threw his first interception of the game. Overall, the secondary played well, and looked a lot better without Tajh Boyd dissecting it.

5)   Seven or eight wins is still very much within reason

Before the season, the Fizz staff made its predictions for the Orange. Two of us predicted seven wins, and one of our brave staffers went out on a limb and said eight. With the road win, seven wins is very much within reason, and eight isn’t completely out of reach.  For seven wins, the Orange needs to finish 4-2—or in simpler terms, beat Georgia Tech and win the three remaining home games. All four of those games should be winnable for the ‘Cuse, especially if they continue to stop the run the way they did against NC State and Clemson.

Eight wins would be more difficult. It would mean finishing 5-1. The easiest way to do that would to be losing to Florida State and winning the remaining games. That, of course, would mean going into Maryland and winning, a very tough task. This win was big for Syracuse’s bowl hopes, but also for hopes of guaranteeing an above-.500 season for the second consecutive year.

Posted by: Seth Goldberg 

17 Comments on this Post

  1. @Seth Goldberg;

    Good article Seth and both 7-5 and 8-4 overall records are within reach for this team in 2013. And just think except for Macky MacPherson(graduation)we get the entire OL back next year.

  2. OrangeCrush27

    I think a good measuring stick for the D will be against GT this weekend. I know GT is on a bit of a losing streak but their offense can be tough to stop. Lot of moving parts pre snap.

    We win this Saturday, with a bye week to follow, you got to like our chances of bowling in year one in the ACC!

  3. Drove to North Carolina and went to the game with my son, who lives there. I noticed a a lot of Syracuse fans in attendance. Some flew in for the game, fans drove from Virginia and surrounding NC towns. The weakest spot of the offense is Hunt’s lack of arm strength on the deep throws and West’s lack of understanding of how to go get the ball. The best part is when the defense has it’s back against the wall they stiffen. Great atmosphere, take note Mr. Gross! Also, many NC St fans left at half time. I thought that was strange. Note: We went to dinner after the game and the restaurant was showing the SU Soccer Game! Syracuse is annexing Cleary/Raleigh, NC.

  4. @Frank;

    We noticed the empty seats in the stadium also.

    It’s nice to have someone tell us that there was a large contingency of Syracuse Fans at the game. Glad you and your son enjoyed the game.

    Now that Syracuse is a member of the ACC and they have their own network I’ve noticed that I’m watching an awful lot of ACC games lately. A year ago,I didn’t think I would never have said that I enjoy ACC football.

    I hate jumping the gun here but just letting you know,the tickets for the upcoming basketball season is the hottest thing on the market right now. Not very many tickets left to buy for individual games.

  5. Quote from Heather Dinch, ESPN CC Blog:

    10/14/2013 10AM

    “League newcomers Pitt and Syracuse already have played themselves into irrelevance in their respective division races.”


  6. Ron please keep it SUFB here. SUBB starts this week!! We’ll hear enough of them down the road. But still NCS stadium had a good crowd there. And like I said before SU is no Clemson either. Why can they do it and SU can’t(fill their stadium). Its called tradition and atmosphere. SU has tradition but the atmosphere sucks. Except if you like staring at the band on the church steps on the Quad!! Give me a break!! I won’t even mention the Hill’s tailgating interests. I can’t imagine the atmosphere at Clemson/FSU game tailgating and all. P-A-R-T-Y!!!!!

    Do not forget the 19 abused kids of PSU!! The NCAA did and PSU’s coach did by his dancing after the game. Oh how some forget so soon.

  7. CuseFanintheSouth

    Someone please teach Terrell Hunt how to throw the ball. Now you know why Drew Allen started the season (more accurate passer, just couldn’t graps the offense for whatever reason). The only reason Hunt is starting is his threat to run the ball and the fact the team seems more comfortable playing with him at the helm. I know some of the receivers prob made some mistakes on the routes but my God a lot of those throws were terrible, not even close to being on the mark. Its kinda surprising that a QB at this level could make throws that bad…just saying. Eventually the run game(as good as it has been) will get bogged down with our inability to throw the ball. Sht you can practically put all 11 in the box and I’d be hard pressed to think Hunt would complete the pass consistently.

  8. For some reason the NCSU defensive coordinator was obsessed with stopping the pass. To the tune of 364 rushing yards.

  9. @Terry;

    I know better than anyone what season and sport that we’re in the middle of. I mentioned Basketball for two reasons.

    first—is beacuse the ticket sales are going through the roof and I’ve been told that 3 games have reached sell out status. it’s not even November yet!!!!

    second—the so called experts have picked Syracuse to finish 2nd in the ACC for basketball this year. The 1st year of competition and everyone is picking them to come in 2nd. Will they win the ACC Championship? I sure hope so!!!! Will Syracuse become another Boston College where noone shows up for the games? I don’t think so!!!!!

    Syracuse should reclaim the attendance record this year. Kentucky won’t know what hit them. I thought nothing could ever replace the Big East in basketball because it was the best league ever formed. Over the last 35 years we the fans were spoiled,the level of play was second to none. Now we’re in the ACC and the competition took a 300% jump and is now the best that’s ever been,second to none for college hoops.

    I apologize Terry for nothing,it’s utterly fantastic for what we’re about to watch on an annual basis. I say bring the ACC,Duke and North Carolina and whom ever wants to play on.

    have a nice day.

  10. Ron a nice day is when the CUSE are set in their bowl game-hopefully. SUBB season is way too long and SUFB season isn’t long enough and the majority of fans agree with that. Lets see if we hear anything about SUFB after the first Wednesday in February!! I doubt it. Nothing counts in college basketball until late February. In college football the national title fight starts on GAME ONE, not in November!! Tired of the BB hoopla now. Theres another time for that like in December when the meaningless games are played!! I’ll jump aboard then not sooner. Sorry my orange blood will always gush football first always!! SUBB has to get in line for now. Its college football season!

  11. @Russell Stugots;

    I’m getting an upset stomach after reading the intensity Penn St. is using to pursue Jason Cabinda.

    I hope Jason stays true to his commit and decides to play at Syracuse come February.

  12. @Terry;

    We’re always hearing/reading about the amount of 4/5* athletes that Clemson and FSU get every year,that news would lead one to believe that the whole team is full of those recruits.

    Well I looked up up their recruiting efforts for 2014 and was surprised,here’s what I found.

    FSU–13-3* recruits,1-2* recruit,9-4* recruits with 2 of those being soft verbals.
    Clemson–10-3* recruits,6-4* recruits.

    So,I come to the conclusion,in order for Syracuse to become a top tier program all we need to do is add to our base between 5-8 4* recruits a year. I believe at some point in the near future Syracuse will achieve that goal.

    We already have 2-4*recruits for 2014 in AJ Long and KJ Williams. I said earlier that there was a fine line between a 3/4* athlete. I believe that Jason Cabinda,Corey Cooper,Jamal Custis,Zaire Franklin,Colton Moskal and possibly Aaron Roberts fall into that group of becoming 4* athletes.
    Let’s not forget now that Syracuse has another 9 scholarships left to fill for 2014. I honestly believe that recruits like Maviety,Holley.Ishmael and other top recruits are headed our way.

    Coach Shafer has Syracuse headed in the right direction Terry and I honestly believe that becoming a “TOP TIER’ program isn’t far away.

  13. @Russell Stugots;

    In 2014 Louisville will be replacing Maryland in the ACC. The way I see it,the ACC is becoming the premiere league in college athletics. It’s football,basketball,mens/womens lacrosse,field hockey,softball teams will be second to none,leaving the BIG,Pac 12,SEC,Big 12 conferences wishing they could have what the ACC has,balanced competition from all of their programs.

    ACC teams should dominate the men’s/women’s lacrosse,basketball NCAA Tournaments and be well represented in football bowl games at the end of the year along with their softball teams in the NCAA Tournament.

  14. The college faoobtll coaching carousel is a fiasco. In my opinion, the business side of this is ruining college athletics. From Kirk Herbstreit’s misfire on Les Miles to Michigan last Saturday to Arkansas practically begging someone to come there to Butch Davis getting a raise after going 4-8, this is a circus. Arkansas ran off a good coach and now they are getting exactly what they deserve. This is a similar to the NCSU coaching search a couple of years ago. It should be interesting to see how all this plays out. I wonder is Grobe still a candidate for Michigan? The rumor mill should be interesting to watch over the next few weeks.

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