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The Offense or Defense- Who is More to Blame for Syracuse’s Struggles?

It has been a season to forget for Syracuse football. It started with high accolades and a relatively positive start. Take out the loss to Maryland and the Orange would have been perfect in non-conference play. Since then, the season has taken a drastic turn for the worse, leading to Defensive Coordinator Brian Ward’s firing. Neither the offense or defense is performing as expected. Just look at these stats.

Syracuse Offense:

377 total yards per game (92nd in FBS)

252 passing yards per game (49th in FBS)

125 rushing yards per game (110th in FBS)

24 points per game (98th in FBS)

Syracuse Defense:

457 total yards allowed per game (115th in FBS)

259 passing yards allowed per game (105th in FBS)

197 rushing yards allowed per game (99th in FBS)

31 points allowed per game (91st in FBS)

In all but one statistic Syracuse is in the bottom half of the FBS. They haven’t been able to put together a complete game against ACC competition. Either the offense is performing and the defense is struggling, or the offense is having trouble and the defense is on fire. So who is to blame for Syracuse’s issues? Here are reasons for each side.


The offense has been abysmal. The offensive line is the worst in the entire country, allowing 5 sacks per game. It’s been so bad that Ryan Alexander even quit the team. The bad line play has led to Tommy DeVito getting banged up. The running backs haven’t been producing as expected. The duo of Abdul Adams and Moe Neal were supposed to anchor the SU backfield, but Neal is averaging 52 yards a game while Adams is at 33. Plus, other than Trishton Jackson, there isn’t much of a receiving corps.


Talk about inconsistent play. The Syracuse defense is good one game and bad the next. When they’re bad, they are really bad though. The Orange just allowed 496 rushing yards against Boston College, that’s the most in program history. The linebackers are being torn apart by opposing offenses. They are missing tackles, taking bad angles to the ball, and messing up assignments. The secondary has dealt with injuries, including Andre Cisco and Ifeatu Melifonwu. Without them, opposing teams have easily thrown all over the SU defense.


The offense. As bad as the defense is playing, the D-line is playing really well and is the differentiating factor. They have kept SU in games, while the offense hasn’t pulled their weight. All of the Orange’s issues stem from the horrible offensive line play. It has led to a deteriorated team chemistry and a broken locker room. Dino Babers fired a defensive coach, but now it might be time to look on the offensive side.

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.


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