You know the drill. Now that everyone has had time to fully unpack Syracuse’s 37-20 win over Georgia Tech, let’s do a quick stock market analysis.
Sean Tucker: This was an obvious one. 24 carries for 112 yards and 2 touchdowns is a line that no SU running back came close to last year. Tucker runs so well compared to anyone else in an Orange uniform. He has the perfect barrel-like build for a running back at 5-foot-10, 200-pounds. He has nimble feet, and can deftly cut through holes at the line of scrimmage. And he has the nasty streak and finishing speed to be a problem at the second level. The gap between Tucker and the next best RB (Jawhar Jordan) went from maybe about a foot to a mile last Saturday. It should continue to widen.
Nykiem Johnson: Hello Nykiem, my old friend! Johnson had himself a day, catching four balls for 87 yards, including a 43-yard house call. He also looked much better in the return game, breaking off a 49-yard kickoff return. Johnson struggled to be a factor in the offense throughout the first two weeks, and against a weak secondary focused on fellow receiver Taj Harris, the senior was able to exploit GT’s defense weak point. It was great to see his blazing speed on display.
Robert Hanna: Another day, another young defensive back making plays. This week’s team leading tackler was Hanna, who brought down nine Yellow Jackets, and also snagged an interception. Hanna, along with Garrett Williams, Ja’Had Carter (how about that pick-six!), and Neil Nunn are the next generation of lockdown SU DBs. Orange nation is just waiting for Dino Babers to come up with a catchy name for his excellent secondary. (I know Trill Williams had a heck of a game last Saturday. His stock is already through the roof.)
The Front Three: Syracuse’s defensive line was manhandled for a significant part of the game. Part of it was scheme related, as there were multiple plays where pre-assigned stunts (where one player wraps behind another one in an attempt to confuse the offensive line) left gaps on the line of scrimmage. But Kingsley Jonathan, McKinley Williams, and even Josh Black were bullied at times. Johnathan only had one tackle, and backup Cody Roscoe outperformed him with three tackles, two of those which were for loss.
Andre Szymt: Nobody knows what happened to the Lou Groza award winner, but him missing field goals is like Joe Girard missing free throws. It just doesn’t happen. So seeing Szymt fail on both a field goal and an extra point is absolutely shocking. Hopefully SU’s offense can keep up this run of form, because if a game comes down to a field goal, Dino might second-guess using his junior kicker.