FCS Holy Cross is by far the easiest team Syracuse will face this season. While the Orange cruised past the Crusaders 41-3 on Saturday, it was far from a dominant showing for Dino Babers’ team. At one point in the game, Syracuse punted on four consecutive drive. Not exactly what we expected against a team that beat Yale by three points early in the season.
Let’s be honest, it’s hard to put too much stock into this game. You never know what you’re going to get against a team like Holy Cross. With that said, I’m pretty sure people would be filled with optimism if the Orange put together a flawless game.
What you need to know as Syracuse wraps up the first part of its regular season:
- Dominant defense: At no point in this game did SU’s defense look vulnerable. With S Andre Cisco and CB Iffy Melifonwu sidelined for the second-straight week with injury, the reserves in the defensive backfield stepped up. Up front, DE Alton Robinson continued his disruptive day and backups Brandon Berry and Tyrell Richards put themselves on the proverbial map for the first time in 2019. Defensive coordinator Brian Ward should be happy with how his unit looked. He should also be pumped about the expected return of Cisco and Melifonwu against NC State.
- Moe Neal’s Moment: A first half carry gave the senior running back over 2,000 yards in his Syracuse career. Neal becomes the 23rd player in program history to do so. This dude has put in the work for the Orange over four years and deserves as much respect as anyone in SU’s locker room. Neal finished with 11 carries for 36 yards on the day.
- Tight End U: Yes, it’s a joke. But how about Aaron Hackett! He followed up his two-touchdown performance last week with a first quarter score against the Crusaders. If that wasn’t enough for you, TE Luke Benson secured a 70-yard touchdown pass. Can this trend continue?
- Offense struggles late: Overall, it was a solid outing for DeVito. The redshirt-sophomore quarterback finished with 269 yards and four touchdowns. However, his fourth quarter interception was a rough one. DeVito left the field after that throw. There is no update on his status at this time. The speed that this offense needs wasn’t there in the second half. Things did heat up in the third quarter with Taj Harris’ first touchdown of the season. Babers compared the speed of the offense to paint drying.
- Couldn’t put them away: Holy Cross didn’t exactly hang around, but Syracuse never really delivered a knock out blow. The offensive line didn’t dominate the Crusaders like we thought they would. That’s a reason to be concerned.
We’ll see how this all comes together. Luckily for DeVito and the Orange, they don’t play until a week from Thursday at NC State. This bye week comes at a great time.