Fizz 5: Keys to Syracuse’s Road Matchup vs. Maryland, Eyeing Bowl Eligibility

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Photo via Syracuse Media

Syracuse is coming off a 13-0 win over Wake Forest, improving its record to 4-4. The Orange is now back in the driver’s seat to get six wins and go to back-to-back bowls. Now the team travels to College Park, Maryland to take on a Terrapins team decimated by injury.

1. How will the defense follow up Saturday’s dominating performance?

Chuck Bullough and the rest of the defensive coaching staff took advantage of the week off after a miserable performance against Georgia Tech. The Orange limited Wake to less than 200 total yards and forced 12 punts. Now the Orange needs to back it up with a dominating performance against the Terps offense down to its second-string quarterback and without its top two receivers, Stefon Diggs and Deon Long, who are both out for the season.  Syracuse’s offensive line, which dominated Wake last weekend, now faces a Maryland offensive line that includes a freshman left tackle making his first college start. The Orange D-line should have no problem getting to Caleb Rowe or C.J. Brown, whoever the Maryland starting quarterback is.

2. The SU running game needs to get back to keep up the work

Saturday the Syracuse offense was slow to the game against Wake Forest. Jerome Smith and Prince-Tyson Gulley had some trouble breaking through in the first half. But things got better in the second half, including a 67-yard run by Gulley. The Orange needs to keep feeding the backfield and running the ball. Eventually the defense will get beaten up and a hole will open for Gulley and Smith to break off bigger runs. The running game will be a big help for Terrel Hunt going into a rough environment at Byrd Stadium. If Hunt improves just by making the right throw each time he drops back, the SU offense will move up and down the field much better than it has so far in ACC play, and Hunt might throw his first touchdown pass since Tulane.

3. Terrel Hunt still needs to raise his level of play

Hunt got a lot better in the second half last week, though much of the improvement had to do with better play calling. In the second half, Hunt was throwing and completing more short passes as opposed to looking for deep throws. Hunt looks to have found another “H-Back” that he has great chemistry with, as Brisly Estime broke out with nine catches against Wake. Now Hunt needs to take advantage of having two receivers he seems to have confidence in—Ashton Broyld and Estime—to improve his game and get the Orange to another bowl game.

4. Jarrod West needs to be more involved in the game

It was nice to see West make an impact on the field after what seemed like a four-week absence without a touchdown pass. Now West needs to step up and be the number one receiver he was expected to be coming into the year. West caught a screen, slipped a few tackles and almost made it into the end zone, but replay review showed that he was down before the ball crossed the goal line. But the run set up a Terrel Hunt rushing touchdown just a few plays later. West can have a huge effect on the Orange offense if he can just make a few catches like that each game. West just needs catches that convert third downs, move the chains and set up touchdowns, even if he only catches two or three passes a game.

5. Can Syracuse limit the turnovers?

The Orange did not commit a single turnover against Wake, which kept them in the game even with all the drives that ended with punts instead of points. Most of the time, the team that wins the turnover battle wins the game. Terrel Hunt needs to continue to take care of the ball and move the offense, which is why the second-half play calling of shorter routes was just what the Orange needed. Maryland has forced 16 turnovers in eight games this season. Syracuse cannot afford to turn the ball over two times on Saturday and still win the game. Hunt cannot be careless with the ball or throw into double and triple coverage. Turnovers are important in any game, but in a toss-up game on the road, the Orange needs to limit its turnovers to have any chance at beating the Terps.

In the end, the Orange can beat the Terps. Even if C.J. Brown, the Maryland starting quarterback, is healthy and starts this week, he will be without his top two receivers. The Orange offense is confident coming off a stellar performance and should be able to shut down Maryland. If SU feeds the backfield beast, and Terrel Hunt can make small improvements from last week, the Orange should be in good position to win.

Posted by: Seth Goldberg

Filed Under: FeaturedFootball


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  1. Lou says:

    SU needs to cut down on the stupid penalties also. Edsall is licking his chops on this game so lets go out and smack this team right in the face from the get go.

    Also, I hope SU runs the right defensive schemes and does not go with a 3-4 like it did against G Tech which was horrendous and stupid.

  2. Terry says:

    This is no push over game. Yes MD is hurting, but its HC wants this game the most and always will when he plays SU-PERIOD!! Their talent either hurt or on the bench is better than SUs!! So be careful when you say its a possible win. If MD and SU were at full strength MD would win. Randy has beaten SU before easily so its nothing to him!! But I and others think this is not just another game. He has memories and he’ll never forget them against SU!! So that’s a huge advantage for MD. But to me beating MD is one thing. Beating Randy Edsell would be one nice flower in SUs bonnet of victories this year!! Beat this sucker!!

    Do not forget the kids at PSABUSEDU!! The NCAA did!!

  3. @Terry;

    I have some news to share with you tonight,but first I want to show you what was posted about the basketball team.

    The Orange has averaged 29.8 victories over the last five years, and it should be right around that number this year. The personnel changes and the results largely remain the same for one of the country’s most consistent programs. Syracuse will contend for a league title in its first season in the ACC behind C.J. Fair.

    league title in first year of competition of the ACC. TRUELY AMAZING.

    Now onto more important matters;I worked the Syracuse University Trustee Dinner tonight honoring Nancy Cantor for her service as Chancellor before moving onto Rutgers in January. In attendance I see a few familar faces,Floyd Little,Dr Gross are a couple of people I recognised.

    A few weeks ago we were debating when construction of the new IPF waas going to start. You were one of the people who got really upset because it wasn’t started the day after it was announced by Dr. Gross.

    @Malone posted at the time it was due to materials being ordered and steel being built. If I remember correctly you didn’t like his explanation either.

    Well I asked Dr. Gross tonight when the new building was going to start and this was his reply. “the manufacturing of the steel needed to build the new IPF has been completed and will start arriving on campus over the next 2 weeks with the construction to start once the materials arrive on site. The building will be ready for use by August 1st of 2014″. I thanked him for answering my question and shook hands and pumped our fist then went our seperate ways.

    So you see Terry other people give insight as to why things don’t happen overnight or as quickly as some others who post here would like. So those who complain should just go on showing us just how stupid they really are,especially when they know not what they are bitching about.

    I just had to show you that paragraph about the basketball team. I know you believe that talking to someone means nothing to you. But his answer tonight about the new IPF should keep you quite for awhile.

  4. @Carlton;

    I watching the Stanford/Oregon game and with a little over 5 minutes left in the game it looks like Stanford is going to win the game. That should put FSU in sole possession of second place in the polls and if FSU wins out the rest of the season should play Alabama for the National Championship.

  5. @Malone;

    Now that we know the materials will be arriving over the next couple of weeks,I would guess that maybe they would stack/store them up at Skytop and bring them to the site as needed. Will keep you posted as to what’s happening.

    We’re watching history in the making as construction of the new IPF building is about to begin and a new chapter in the Syracuse Football program is being written.

    Thank you Dr. Gross. With this new building getting started maybe Terry this is why Coach Shafer is going to cancel some of the scholarships and offer them to some better recruits wanting to come to Syracuse.

  6. Terry says:

    Man Mr uppatee was at Nancy’s dinner. Nice name drops. Look the construction is behind the time frame. Tell us why?? He surely always likes to mention his good works!! Just another Dr Gross lack of explanation. WHEN IS THE SHOVEL IN THE GROUND????? Why no answer?? He’s just the good Dr and plays games. I and others were behind some of his moves, but recently he has lost that trust!! We expect delays, but we also expect he should be honest with us. A foundation should be there it isn’t. HCSS really now has nothing to show that his program is improving!! Its just that way NOW. We’ll all believe it when the shovel hits the dirt. So far it ain’t happening!!

  7. Terry says:

    Another Duck choke!! I really don’t know what’s worse nearly being there for a NC and losing out 3 years in a row or never getting a chance to get there!! I’ll never see Oregon as a national power again. Its amazing they blow it year after year-a real story!! Baylor looked good, but will they jump OSU!! Just tired of the SEC monopoly!!

  8. I didn’t think after talking to Dr Gross and giving you and others his explanation as to when construction would start on the IPF project would make you happy. You didn’t disappoint Terry.

    My only concerns with the new complex being built are,is the steel beams needed for this project getting manufactured in USA companies or is it coming in from China like everything else does these days?

  9. Another week another must-win game to get bowl eligible!RE is always a thorn in our hides here even with lesser talent at UConn than Locksley brought in for him at Md? With some attrition to injuries this is a game we should be able to win to get us close to being BE…if not its gonna be a blow to team and fan confidence!!This is where we turn the corner…run it down there throats and let the D clean up the mess!!SU-31-MD-20…we’ll kick you out the door to the B1G and welcome u to the Dome next yr OOC.”Go Cuse”

  10. @Russell Dangerfield;

    The rest of the seson is going to be tough for the Syracuse Football Team. There is no given for the remaining 4 games.

  11. Terry says:

    ROF-DR Gross lately to me and to others has been a disappointment. So the delay in the facilities really added gas to that fire!! To my best memory I would think the piles of dirt would of been moved by now, but it hasn’t!! He has had enough time if he REALLY was concerned about the project seriously!! Its just that simple!! SUFB needs that facilities to grow!!

    But I do agree with you(it scares me) on the materials issue!! It should be made by USA hands and not Chinese hands. After all the USA is a HARD NOSED kind of country!! BEAT MARYLAND and RANDY TOO!!!

  12. P. Jones says:

    ** See #5 **

  13. P. Jones says:

    Looks like I’m watching the TurnOver Bowl at the moment !

  14. Coach Shafer did in his first year as head coach of the Orangemen what doug Marrone couldn’t do in his 4 years at Syracuse and that was he beat a Randay Edsell coached team. That’s amazing!!!!!

    Syracuse improves to(5-4 3-2 ACC)sole possession of 3rd place in the Atlantic Division and needs one more win to qaualify for another bowl game. NOW THAT’S TRUELY AMAZING FOLKS.

    Syracuse will be(5-5 3-3 ACC) next week after playing FSU. The following two weeks against Pittsburgh and Boston College should be really really interesting and at best bring large crowds to the dome especially Thanksgiving weekend.

    Syracuse control’s it’s own destiny. Win and they go bowling,lose and the fans will start complaining through to next season.

    Boy that defense looked real good today didn’t it?

    What about George Morris II running ability today? It to looked pretty good.

  15. Dr. bill says:

    Has any of the nay sayers taken note of who Syracuse is going head to head with for players:
    Oklahoma, Penn State, Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi, Auburn, Miami, Nebraska, Big 10..SEC….and of course…ACC
    No more Akron…. Huge sign that recruiting is improving….
    Go Cuse!!!!!!!!

  16. JB says:

    ROF, All the players out there (Almost) were recruited by Coach Marrone,Hello. The cupboard looks pretty full to me. Now on to a better opportunity than the bowl we may end up in;The Noles in Tallahasse!

  17. Terry says:

    QB play is still below normal!! Only wonder if SU had an average QB!! SU right now is one dimensional, because staff is still not confident of HUNT’s abilities!! The next 3 games are against decent to great teams and they see the run mainly scheme SU runs. It could bite SU!! In this modern day college football passing is above running the majority of the time!! GREAT GAME AND BETTER WIN though!!

  18. @JB

    Class of 2013 was recruited by Scott Shafer and George McDonald.

    Your point vindicates my statement,Marrone couldn’t beat a Randy Edsell coached team during his four years here at Syracuse.

  19. JB says:

    ROF,You mean the team which Doug took over and was rated as one of the worst in the 128 teams in the BCS? He also hiref Scott Shafer, so your insults toward him look petty.

  20. @JB;

    I don’t believe that I’m insulting anyone here by stating simple facts.

    Doug Marrone did improve the team some,he took Syracuse to two bowl games during his tenure. His recruiting as we found out later,was medicore at best. Yes hiring Scott Shafer was probably the best thing that he did during his tenure at Syracuse.

    Scott Shafer in his first year has recruited better recruits and has gone into areas that Marrone never did or would. We cannot ignore the fact that Syracuse is in battles with other major programs for some top recruits. I’ve listened to complaints from @Terry for four years about Marrone and I’m just starting now to understand them. marrone came to us and told the fan base that Syracuse was his “dream job”,he lied to us all and left(taking all but 2 of his assistants with him)for Buffalo after 4 years leaving this program in shambles with the fans wondering what the hell is going on here. I believe coach Shafer shoots straight from the hip and wouldn’t lie to any of us. I for one am glad that Marrone is gone and Shafer has taken over.

    But lets be honest here;if Coach Shafer takes Syracuse to a bowl game this year, will go down as one of the best 1st year job that’s ever happened at Syracuse University because I don’t think that it’s ever happened with another coach ever. If Syracuse becomes bowl eligible in 2013 Coach Shafer should get the ACC Coach of the Year award.

    But all of this is a moot point. Ask yourself did Marrone ever beat a Randy Edsell coached team and the answer is “NO HE DIDN’T”. We all know that Shafer accomplished that in his first year yesterday as Syracuse beat Maryland on national television 20-3.

    I hope that I didn’t insult you or anyone else here. I rest my case,have a nice day.

  21. Dr. bill says:

    It is clear from watching the games that SU has very little confidence in Hunt passing the ball down field and the play calling reflects that. Cuse is smart to play to their strengths. The fact that other teams know we are skewed heavily towards the run, isn’t a big concern…they still have to stop us. Until our ability to pass the ball down the field improves, we have to lean on the run and tough defense..and this should get us into a bowl. Trying to play like we have Johnny Football as our QB would really be dumb!!

  22. Malone says:

    Adonis Jennings de-committed from Rutgers. 4 star WR from NJ. Seems to be a Pitt lean, but he is friendly with Rodney Williams. Russ, any hope of us getting in the mix here?
    I think I’ve said previously that the shine is coming off Rutgers in NJ. Still lots to be done, but these are signs of weakness that we need to attack. I know so many don’t want NJ speed guys and such, and would rather leave them to the big boys (note: sarcasm) but this and PSU struggling signals opportunity to reclaim what was once ours to me.

  23. Ron says:


    If we could get Adonis Jennings and Juwann Winfree to commit to the Orange,it would be iceing on the cake. We need a couple of decommits to commit to us and start having good things happen here at Syracuse.

    I’m getting excited about recruiting all over again,thanks for the good news. Do you think the committment of Alin Edouard to Syracuse has anything to do with his de-committment from Rutgers?

  24. Malone says:

    No I don’t. I think there was an odd amount of friction between them throughout the process. I think their QB play and real lack of offense (for years really) finally showed itself to him (Rutgers manages to disquise this better than most). He had several visits to other schools set up and RU was expressing their anger toward that. He went to the Pitt vs. ND game as an un-official, and probably had some talk with their RU transfer QB. That is in large part why I think Pitt is in the driver’s seat, but if other recruits start smelling the way RU is strong arming recruits and losing them (along with games) more defections could be coming. I think Williams, Custis, and Ziare Franklin need to step up with this one if our coaches want him. Custis and Franklin were heavily pursued by Pitt, and might have clear reasons for not committing there. Williams is from the same area of NJ and they played each other this season. Williams has expressed his admiration for Jennings and Timber Creek.

  25. Ron says:

    @Russell Dangerfield;

    If what @Malone is telling us is true and I believe that it is,could this be the straw that broke the camels back and the recruits start committing to Syracuse?

    Getting a player like Adonis Jennings to commit to syracuse would neutralize the loss of Cabinda to Penn State.

    Let’s hope things work to our favor.

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