Syracuse dropped its home opener to Rutgers 17-7. The first half was a stalemate, literally. It was 0-0 heading into the second. In part that’s thanks to how well the SU defense played, but also because the offense couldn’t gain any sort of momentum. Whether it was penalties, a fumble, or a QB change, something was always getting in the way of SU and consistent offense. Here are the biggest takeaways from today’s Syracuse loss:
Syracuse’s Defense is Legit
Sure Rutgers doesn’t possess the most dangerous offense in all the land, but regardless props are deserved for the way SU’s defense performed today. The Orange stopped Rutgers on 3rd down 12/15 times, had 12 solo tackles for loss, and 4 sacks. Not much blame can be put on the defense if any at all. That linebacking unit has a TON of talent. Marlowe Wax, Mikel Jones, and Stefon Thompson anchored an elite-looking defense all game. Syracuse leaned on its defense all day long, expect that to be a theme this season.
Mississippi St. transfer, Garret Shrader relieved Tommy DeVito of duties midway through the second quarter. His first drive didn’t look great. A few missed passes, a failed tuck, and run didn’t have the SU faithful on his side. Especially because DeVito had been playing great, 7/8 for 65 yards when he was taken out. No one was happy when he trotted out once again for his second drive, but he began to prove the haters wrong. A few solid passes had Shrader leading SU down the field.
He set Andre Szmyt up for a chance for 3….that he missed, but still a solid drive. We didn’t see Shrader in any meaningful spots after the end of the first half, but don’t give up on him already; he could come in handy at some point in certain packages.
Tough Day for DeVito
DeVito started the game and looked decent early on despite no points for the entirety of the first half. In the second, most notably the fourth, the wheels began to fall off for the New Jersey gunslinger. After SU’s defense stopped Rutgers in its tracks in the redzone, forcing a field goal that the Scarlet Knights missed, Tommy once again took the field. First play: Fumbled snap. The fans switched up quick on him as his day went from this:
Despite his struggles here and there today, he seemed to be more comfortable overall and still did find Taj Harris deep down the field to set up a touchdown. Do not give up on DeVito.
SO Many Bad Penalties
Seemed like Syracuse couldn’t escape the whistle. Whether it was for a block in the back, illegal formation, or some other thing that was entirely avoidable, the Orange were penalized all game long. The first half was chock-full of random bad penalties that hindered SU, but nothing too game-changing. The second half was a different animal altogether. With Rutgers driving deep in SU territory, there was a 3rd and 13. Syracuse was good all day on third down, nothing changed on this play. Marlowe Wax found the ball carrier and took him down behind enemy lines. The only problem was in the eyes of the refs, it was too hard? Or something? Wax was penalized, so was Babers for arguing the call. Rutgers scored the next play.
In practice this week and against an opponent like Albany, SU should focus on playing the game cleanly. Penalties killed them today. It’s rare that a team will play this sloppily and still pull out a win.