The dust has settled from Syracuse’s 40-37 overtime loss to #19 Wake Forest. Perhaps SU fans are starting to put the result in retrospect now that it has been a few days. Of course, moral victories don’t count in the record books but this is certainly one. This is a game ‘Cuse was getting blown out in last season. With that said there are some stock ups and downs to discuss, this week’s list heavily favors the upward trajectories.
WR Courtney Jackson
The gadget receiver seems to be the go to guy in this offense now with Taj Harris in the transfer portal. Jackson’s getting the majority of targets and new career high with 64 receiving yards against Wake Forest. On top of that, the Pennsylvania native is getting opportunities in the ground game. Jackson had just one carry for seven yards but he’s being motioned a lot as a decoy and used to try and stretch the field horizontally.
WR Anthony Queeley
As we outlined last week every receiver on the Syracuse team stood to benefit from Harris’ departure. Queeley took a massive step though reeling in a touchdown for the second consecutive week. If the Florida native can get open consistently downfield, perhaps the SU passing game can be a threat in some capacity.
WR Devaughn Cooper
Cooper didn’t light up the stat sheet but that’s because he couldn’t hold onto the ball. Still the upside is there for the experienced pass catcher. He was on the receiving end of a plethora of targets, now it’s just a matter of making the catches.
LG Kalan Ellis
I’m not sure many people even noticed that Chris Bleich wasn’t even playing. That’s a testament to how good the Florida transfer has been. On the flip side, Ellis didn’t draw any attention to himself and was fitting in seamlessly. The true freshman was paving holes for the SU run game and was a member of the front five that only allowed two sacks against Wake Forest. Ellis’ emergence is huge for the depth of the offensive line and perhaps he could earn a start at guard in the future.
C Josh Ilaoa
Following the same storyline, many people may not have noticed that Airon Servais wasn’t playing early on in the contest. The Wisconsin native did end up getting in later on but not before Josh Ilaoa could flash his abilities. The second-year freshman looked comfortable at center and could definitely log snaps in the future. Even if he doesn’t put a pin in it because this will be SU’s starting center next season.
LB Geoff Cantin-Arku
The Canadien has been overshadowed thus far by the excellent play from Mikel Jones and Marlowe Wax. The linebacker tallied three tackles and a half-sack. Don’t forget about Cantin-Arku, he still plays a critical role in the front six of this defense.
LB Stefon Thompson
Thompson’s another player who hasn’t received his due credit early on in the season. Perhaps by now Syracuse fans just expect big games from the second-year freshman. Well in that case he met expectations again leading the team with nine tackles. Thompson is an all-ACC caliber linebacker, it’s only a matter of time before he receives recognition for it.
Edge Steve Linton
Linton logged snaps for the second consecutive week as an edge defender. He possesses a high upside that should continue to be used in Tony White’s 3-3-5 scheme. He tallied two tackles and a quarterback hurry against Wake Forest.
S Eric Coley
The veteran safety earned the start against Wake Forest and looked comfortable. He deflected a pass that ended up being a Jason Simmons Jr. interception. We expected Coley to emerge again in the secondary at some point, perhaps the time has arrived. He’s a steady presence in an otherwise young defensive backfield.
K Andre Szmyt
Never in a million years did anyone see this as a possibility. The 2018 Lou Groza Award winner has struggled, let’s just call it like it is. The Illinois native has missed two field goals in the last three games. SU fans are used to the former walk-on being automatic. Perhaps we should cut him some slack because the misses have come from 45 and 52 yards. Still Szmyt is supposed to be one of the best kickers in the nation and let’s just say Wake Forests’ Nick Sciba would’ve nailed those opportunities.
Someone has to say it. Syracuse’s defensive backs were exposed last Saturday. It was deep shots galore for the Demon Deacons and more often than not they cashed in. A.T. Perry and Jaquarii Roberson shredded SU corners and safeties alike. Tony White cannot afford to leave guys on islands anymore because opponents will take advantage.
RB Cooper Lutz
Yeah, he’s back on here again. You just CANNOT fumble anytime first of all, but especially not on the potential game-tying drive late in the fourth quarter.
Bowl Game Hopes
Syracuse is the best 3-3 team in the country and when it’s all said and done could be the best non-bowl team. These one score losses to Florida State and Wake Forest will haunt SU all year and could mean the difference between five and six wins. The road is difficult and ‘Cuse could easily be 5-1 or 4-2 right now. With that said, the Orange are still fully capable of reaching the six win benchmark.