In Syracuse’s 24-0 win over Liberty, Moe Neal and Abdul Adams both carried the ball 14 times, while Jarveon Howard chimed in with nine rushes of his own. All in all, the team ran for a tick under 200 yards, propelling the Orange to their first win of the season. And with Tommy DeVito’s Week 1 struggles, there may be more pressure placed on the shoulders of the running backs. So, who will take up the role of Atlas for SU?
Moe Neal seems to have a head start, rushing for 40 yards more than Abdul Adams in the season opener. Add that to how effective he was a year ago, and it may be tough for Dino Babers to limit Neal’s carries. The senior has a knack for making big plays – like his 42 yard scramble to the house against Liberty. He also was the beneficiary of three screen passes, which led to a team high three receptions. He took those screens 54 yards, tops out of all SU receivers. After Week 1, Neal has seemingly maintained his hold as the electricity out of the backfield.
Adams and Howard received work along the goal line, both punching in scores. Adams had a nice 15 yard receiving pickup, but his longest run of the game was just eight yards. Same for Howard.
This team’s offense could revolve around the rushing attack if DeVito’s struggles continue. Even if the first-year starting quarterback rights the ship, it would be foolish for Babers to turn away from a potent ground game. Paired with a turnover savvy defense, Syracuse could be nursing the clock often.
We may not see as much of an air-raid offense like in year’s past. Of course, there will still be plenty of dynamic plays and I would bet on DeVito and the offense ironing out the kinks. But instead of trying to score as quickly as possible, maybe SU tries to control the clock.