The Orange showed life in Saturday’s loss to #1 Clemson, only down by a score at a couple of points, but ultimately lost big. There were some bright spots despite the loss, but also some not so bright spots. Here are the biggest takeaways from the Orange loss in Death Valley.
Sean Tucker’s Health Is Crucial
Sean Tucker has been the gift that’s kept on giving this season. The true freshman has been a bell-cow running back for a few weeks now and has been phenomenal. Against Clemson, the Maryland native had himself a day running for 63 yards on 10 carries and even scoring against what’s arguably one of the best defenses in the nation. All that came to a sour conclusion, however, as late in the second quarter, Clemson’s Jake Venables collided with Tucker, forcing him to land awkwardly on his ankle, he left the game and did not return. Without Tucker to read this offense, it’s honestly nothing. That was on display in the first few weeks of the season when Jawhar Jordan was taking the most carries for this team. If Tucker is absent for SU’s contest with Wake Forest this Saturday, Rex Culpepper beer be ready to drop back to pass for the majority of the game, we saw Tommy DeVito do the same thing in his first two weeks, in that time he took 14 sacks.
The SU Defense Is Overrated
This SU defense has been hailed as one of Syracuse’s only bright spots this season, and sure, it has forced the most turnovers in the country at 17, but does that really make this defense good? Absolutely not. If you look deeper, you’ll find this unit has also allowed over 1,400 rush yards this season, averaging 235 yards given up every week. That places them 90th in the country in that statistic, not exactly where a “good defense,” should expect to be when it comes to as crucial of a statistic like that. If you’re wondering about how well they defend the aerial attack, spoiler alert, it’s not too much better. This new Tony White 3-3-5 defense is 55th in the nation in terms of passing yards allowed, granting teams nearly 245 yards every Saturday. Those two stats are simply unacceptable for a team that possesses a good defense.
Give Them Some Time
This team has a future. Things aren’t going to come together this year, probably not next year either, but eventually, the talent this squad has will start to win games. Sean Tucker is a true freshman with plenty to prove after a great start of his career in Orange, Garrett Williams proved he’s no slouch in the secondary, picking off Trevor Lawrence and taking it to the house, effectively forcing Lawrence’s first-ever pick-six, and the rest of those young DBs have loads of potential too. Ja’Had Carter and Rob Hanna have shown signs of great play to come, these guys just need some time.