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.
- DeVito showed toughness and competitiveness by playing through the pain
- Babers does NOT trust backup Clayton Welch (also see Clemson game)
- 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.