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Takeaways: Syracuse Offense Malfunctions in 16-10 loss to NC State

1. Tommy DeVito is Injured

We, the media, were lied to throughout the last two weeks. Dino Babers and Tommy DeVito both insinuated there was nothing to worry about following the quarterback’s 4th quarter exit against Holy Cross.

Stephen Bailey was one of the firsts to sniff out some abnormality in pregame warm-ups.

DeVito was donning some extra protection in the mid-section. Soon after the opening kickoff it became evident DeVito was less than 100%. The play-calling was the first sign of trouble, as the 1st quarter offense consisted of exclusively runs and short passes, shielding DeVito from high-difficulty throws. The redshirt sophomore was avoiding contact like the plague, sliding sometimes comically early and taking intentional grounding penalties if it meant avoiding a hit. He seemed more willing to take shots as the game progressed, but some left him wincing in pain.

There are a few takeaways within this takeaway.

  1. DeVito showed toughness and competitiveness by playing through the pain
  2. Babers does NOT trust backup Clayton Welch (also see Clemson game)
  3. This injury could linger and continue to cause problems

It’s especially frustrating that this injury occurred in the 4th quarter of a blowout game against an FCS school. Good chance we look back at the Holy Cross game as a bonafide disaster.

2. The Defense did Enough Again

Let’s be clear. NC State is not very good at offense. The Orange defense wasn’t incredible, but it was certainly good enough. Now both of SU’s ACC games can be characterized by the Orange offense leaving the D out to dry.

  • Andrew Armstrong nabbed an interception to start the second half. Syracuse went three-and-out on the next drive.
  • Syracuse forced a three-play drive at the end of the 4th, giving the offense a final chance at victory. With 1:55 to work with, the Orange never even managed a shot at the end zone.
  • NC State only found the end zone once, and it took wild trickery on a 32-yard double pass play.

3. Sacks Destroy All Hope

Nothing is going to get better until the sacks get better. The strength of the Wolfpack is their D-line, and SU’s protection was completely outmatched. State had 8 sacks in the game, including one on the last play of the game. In some cases, Orange lineman got beat. But there are still times where DeVito is missing hot routes and holding the ball. Taj Harris had a tense conversation with DeVito on the sideline after a 3rd down sack, where Harris felt he was open on a slant patter and DeVito didn’t pull the trigger.

Syracuse’s offense clicked to an extent in the final few drives of the game. The difference was clear and obvious. DeVito was getting the ball out of his hands quickly. He was allowing players like Sean Riley, Trishton Jackson and even Cam Jordan to make plays after the catch. DeVito alluded to this adjustment post-game. It’s not likely the offensive line is going to get good overnight. So the offense needs to adjust and DeVito needs to get accustomed to making quicker reads.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Sleepless Over This

    October 11, 2019 at 6:39 am

    It’s too bad that Babers’ confidence in Clayton Welch is not there. If the game plan was runs, and short passes then Welch would have been fine.That, and the D holding its own, which it did, was all they would have needed. Either Welch would have gained experience and earned Babers’ confidence, and DeVito would heal up, or the Orange would have lost, which they did anyway.
    I think with better O-Line play we’d see a different Devito, but I’m still concerned with his poor reads and decisions. This doesn’t seem to be getting better. Also, what’s up with all of the communication problems with the sidelines? How many downs did we see with stopping, looking to and jawboning back and forth with the sidelines. “Orange is the new Fast” was more like “Orange is the New Confused” too often.
    There is a lot that needs fixing.

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The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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