On Saturday former Syracuse offensive coordinator Tim Lester will bring his 2-1 Western Michigan team to the Carrier Dome for a showdown against a stumbling SU squad. And while the Broncos suffered a blowout loss to Michigan State, they did smoke Georgia State 57-10 – a team that beat Tennessee. By no means is this game a sure-win for the Orange. With that in mind, let’s run through some dreary hypotheticals that could sour fans view of this year’s team.
Tommy DeVito’s sacked at least four times
Through three games, DeVito has been scrambling for his life. There’s been snaps where DeVito takes off out of the pocket the second he grasps the pigskin. Last week against Clemson, the sophomore quarterback was sacked an eye-boggling eight times to go along with a pick. Western Michigan doesn’t have Clemson’s defensive line – which is consistently one of the best in the country – but we can all see that SU’s offensive line is a major concern. Even Liberty wrapped DeVito up in the backfield a couple of times. If Syracuse struggles against Western Michigan, there’s going to be major problems once ACC play kicks into gear.
Alton Robinson Lays Another Dud
Robinson is off to a slow start to the season, with only six tackles, half a sack, and 1.5 TFL. Last year he finished with 17 TFL to pair with double-digit sacks. For SU’s defense to play up to its potential, it needs Robinson to make plays. Kendall Coleman is great, but the Orange defensive line is elite when its two premier pass rushers are making plays consistently. So far this season, Western Michigan has allowed four sacks – with three against Michigan State. The season is still young, but eyebrows will continue to rise if Robinson’s struggles continue.
Syracuse held under 100 yards rushing
Against Clemson, SU recorded 15 net yards on the ground. Granted, DeVito’s sacks resulted in -59 rushing yards, but that’s still extremely low. In SU’s lone win against Liberty, it leaned on Moe Neal and Abdul Adams to take pressure off of DeVito. Dino Babers needs his running backs to do so again against a Broncos squad that allowed 210 rushing yards to Georgia State. If Neal or Adams can break off a couple of big runs, maybe this offense can find some rhythm – something it’s lacked the last couple of weeks.