-If you were looking for offense or excitement, you were left staring into space. Lots of three-and-outs in the first half, and plenty of sloppy offense. From Syracuse’s perspective, Terrel Hunt was scattershot and ineffective until the third quarter. The ground game was stagnant, and the offensive line couldn’t open any space. Luckily, Wake’s attack was just as putrid.
-By the second half, SU’s ground game wore down the Deacons and the Orange backs started finding holes. The crease on PTG’s 67-yarder was a tremendous job by the line, and Gulley’s speed was on full display. Great job by PTG to find the second level of the defense and then get into the secondary. It took awhile for the offense to start churning, but the commitment to the run ended up paying dividends. SU is 35th in the nation in rushing yards, averaging nearly 200 per game. Keep feeding the dogs, because Jerome Smith and PTG are the strength of the offense.
-Mike Campanaro’s injury was a huge one for Wake. He’s the Deacons best big-play threat. Jay Bromley was a monster all afternoon. Isaiah Johnson’s deflection and interception was a tremendous individual effort.
-Loved the play call by GMcD on the reverse, wide receiver throw to Estime on the TD. The offense was sluggish for most of the afternoon, so why not try to mix it up? SU has some playmakers and should utilize speed and athleticism however possible. Great call caught the Wake defense completely off guard, and the throw by West was on the money. Since Hunt’s been fairly ineffective through the air in conference play, why not find more ways to open up the playbook? The Orange is one of the worst passing teams in the nation (ranked 101st). Shafer admitted after the game he needs to find ways to get Estime and Ashton Broyld the ball. Hey, it’s already November guys. This should’ve been in the works since April.
-The SU defense was terrific. Stuffed the Wake attack all day. The Deacs only finished with a measly 213 total yards. But the most incredible number is 40. That’s the rushing yards on 18 carries for Wake. Syracuse held the Deacons to a paltry 2.2 yards per carry. Great job the defensive line allowing no holes to run through, and dominating the trenches. Scott Shafer clearly doesn’t mind relying in his defense and winning ugly. That’s what Saturday was all about.
-Good bounce back performance after getting slaughtered by Georgie Tech last week. Thankfully the defense kept SU in the game, and the Orange offense wasn’t asked to put up many points. The recipe for a bowl game is still very much in play. The win pushes SU to 4-4, and means the Orange need to win 2 of 3 from Maryland, BC and Pitt (assuming FSU beats Syracuse). Two of those are at the Dome and Maryland lost to this Wake Forest team a couple of weeks ago. The Orange as given itself some breathing room in its race for the postseason.
-I like the idea of honoring former SU greats like McPherson and McNabb on Saturday. Hanging their jerseys in the rafters is a cool idea. But can we get bigger, brighter, better banners for it? These little jerseys look like dollhouse cut outs, and are hung in the corner of the Dome. Why not do them big, and hang them over the center of the field? Doc wants to make the Dome more colorful, but they’re only going halfway in doing it. Go big or go home. These legends deserve it.