Syracuse fought hard Saturday against the mighty Trojans, but fell 42-29 at Metlife Stadium. Matt Barkley did what NFL caliber QB’s do, and passed for six touchdowns, as SU couldn’t stop the playmakers on the USC sideline. Let’s keep in mind this was the 2nd ranked team in the nation. Syracuse showed a ton a resiliency all day, but does still drop to 0-2 in this young season.
The Fizz has got you covered, breaking down the five most interesting angles ofSaturday’s loss. Here’s this week’s Fizz Five.
- The Orange Still Has Its Confidence and Ashton Broyld Means Business
This team could be discouraged watching Matt Barkley carve up the secondary for 6 TD’s, or seeing the USC defense pick off two helpless Ryan Nassib passes. But honestly, the guys seemed more upbeat in the locker room compared to Northwestern a week ago. Yes, it is a 13-point loss to the #2 team in the country, but there were many stretches where SU must have thought, “we could win this.” Shamarko Thomas even went out on a limb to say Syracuse was “on the rise,” when asked about hanging tough with the Trojans. SU was able to string together back-to-back scores in the third quarter and cut the deficit to just five, 21-16. It seemed like USC was in cruise control on offense for much for this game, and SU tried to make them pay. In general, the tackling was better, but it’s difficult to play perfect against a top ranked team. They’ll be much hungrier heading forward, and the hungriest could be Ashton Broyld. In an energetic postgame interview, the Rochester native was asked about transitioning from playing the #2 team in the nation to an FCS opponent next week. Apparently, he doesn’t care who SU is lining up against; every week, he’s coming to play.
“We know what we have. We’re not scared of anybody. There’s a lot of hype in college football. People don’t think we can do a lot, but weknow what we have in that locker room.”
When asked how great of an experience it was to play in an NFL venue, Broyld sharply responded, “Every football field is the same.” Yeah, he’s not too thrilled about yesterday’s outcome.
- Prince Tyson-Gulley is SU’s Best Rusher
It’s really simple. Although Jerome Smith is listed atop the depth charts, PTG has looked better over these first two weeks. Gulley has unfortunately gotten less than ten carries in each of the first two games, but is still averaging 6.6 yards per touch. He has a quicker step than Smith that allows him to elude tacklers. Gulley actually ran better vs. USC and a tougher defense than compared to last week. He ran a lot of counters, and found holes especially up the middle. Good running room the O-Line provided for the slasher. His 7-yard touchdown run was the score that cut the lead to just five in the third quarter. SU probably should have run the football even more than they did. In the second half, SU was a little more pass happy trying to claw back from deficits of 21-3 and 35-16. But Gulley and Smith totaled 110 yards on the ground on just 25 carries. With Stony Brook coming up next week, I’m sure the two will receive more carries.
- SU Is Prone to the Big Play (AKA RobertWoods & Marquis Lee)
How does Barkley throw 6 TD passes and break a USC single-game record? He throws it to his two playmakers and watches them go to work. The pair was nearly unstoppable hauling in 21 of Barkley’s 23 completions. Some of their touchdown grabs were acrobatic, and just showed athletically how superior they are to SU’s defensive backs. Ri’Shard Anderson and Brandon Reddish were picked on a couple of those scores. But Woods burned SU on huge plays not just in the passing game. The speedy WR returned a punt 31 yards to the SU 21 yard line that eventually led to a score. He and transfer RB Silas Redd also had rushes of 40 and 76 yards respectively on two separate USC drives that ended in TDs as well. The home run threat has always plagued the Orange, but the only way you can beat the 2nd ranked team in the country is if you play consistent. Last week was a rollercoaster vs. Northwestern, and Saturday was more of the same. SU can’t allow the big energy deflators and must play within itself.
- Save the “Wild-Broyld” for Another Time
Everyone has been champing at the bit to see Broyld run a little option at QB, or get some snaps in the backfield. Ashton came in and ran the option read for a series to begin the 2nd quarter. But it wasn’t the right time for it. SU was backed all the way up to its own 15-yard line when Marrone decided to pull the trigger and give Broyld his first chance at running the offense this season. Why do that? Against USC, you need as much Nassib as possible. The game was still scoreless and SU really had all the momentum it could have asked for in the first half. The defense had stopped USC its first three drives and that SU sideline was pumped. This single series didn’t cost SU the game by any means, but the Orange went 3 and out on that drive, lost the field position battle, and the Trojans were able to score on their ensuing drive in just four plays to make it 7-0. Despite a few “happy feet” occasions and his two interceptions, Nassib played solid against a top notch defense. Let’s save Broyld for next week, and let him shred through the Seawolves.
- Anyway You Look at it, SU Is Still 0-2
I’ll be the first to say that this team looked much, much better than anybody would have expected. It wasn’t the best USC performance by any means, but the Orange moved the ball well on offense for many stretches, and the front seven of the defense still looked strong up front during several occasions in the first half. There are a lot of positives. But this team is still winless, and Marrone won’t be satisfied with the fact that his squad hung with the Trojans. USC looked really flat in the first half, and SU didn’t capitalize off dumb Trojan penalties and turnovers on downs. Nassib could’ve tried more deep balls down the sideline as well. Ryan threw one deep in the first half and that resulted in a pass interference penalty on USC. Take more chances and you will be rewarded. The Orange has lost 7 straight games. Now SU has to go 6-4 to become bowl eligible. It will be difficult, but these guys seemed upbeat and positive despite the outcome.
Posted: Kevin Fitzgerald