What a very confusing game. Syracuse doubled Minnesota in total yards, nearly first downs, and averaged over one extra yard per play. Despite that, SU ran out of time in a 28-20 decision in the Bronx.
The ‘Cuse made some critical mistakes throughout the game and lulled deep in the Golden Gophers territory which really was its demise. We’ll let someone else reflect on the bad though let’s keep it positive for now. Here are some positive takeaways from the bowl game.
LeQuint Allen Could Be Special
Dino Babers called his now sophomore running back the best “receiving back he has ever been around.” That praise was lived up to yesterday. Allen led all of Syracuse’s receivers with 11 snags for 60 yards. The former New Jersey Gatorade Player of the Year also took 15 carries for 94 yards on an average of over 6 per touch.
Allen is a different kind of back than Sean Tucker was but SU has a true two-dimensional threat in its ball carrier which could make this offense lethal in 2023. Syracuse fans should be excited about the potential of this young running back.
2. Kadin Bailey Was Impressive
Nobody really knew this guy existed at this time last year. Syracuse flipped Kadin Bailey from Air Force on signing day and then he shot up the rankings from no-star to three-star. The linebacker played very minimally this year, mainly on special teams but with opt-outs and injuries he was thrust into action.
The rising sophomore responded by totaling 6 tackles and piercing through Minnesota’s offensive line for a sack. Bailey was speed and an edge about his game and could certainly find a spot in the 3-3-5 defense last year along with Marlowe Wax, Stefon Thompson, and Derek McDonald.
3. Jason Beck Looks Good in the OC spot
Syracuse definitely needs to work on its offense inside the opponent’s 30 yard lines this offseason. Let me tell ya, a couple field goals and a pick six won’t cut it no matter who you’re playing. However, if you’re looking at the stat sheet, SU really dominated Minnesota’s defense.
If you read the pregame keys, we talked about just how good that Golden Gopher defense is. Minny is right up at the top of the Big Ten standings in most defensive categories and yet the Orange poured on nearly 500 yards of offense with a balanced 330 through the air and 147 on the ground. If SU can continue to seek that kind of equilibrium between the aerial attack and the ground and pound game then it could be a very tough matchup.
So, Syracuse finishes the season 7-6. I told you before the year that SU would make a bowl game this season and bang. Yeah the end of the campaign was rough to see play out with a 1-6 showing in the final three months or so. However, there was positive development this season and the Orange have some great pieces coming back next year along with some solid coaches. Let’s see if postseason football can start to become the norm and not the exception.