Syracuse at USF: Analysis of the Defense

Syracuse pulled out a big win Saturday night in thrilling fashion. However, the defense had some major struggles throughout the night. breaks it all down inside.

Coming in, Syracuse had given up only 35 yards per game on the ground in Big East play. South Florida did not care about that, and they ran all over the Syracuse defense. The Bulls were able to do what they wanted for most of the game.

Pass Defense


Syracuse gave up less than 200 yards through the air. They were able to cover the Bulls receivers down the field pretty well. Keon Lyn had good coverage all game, as did Brandon Reddish. They are the two best cover corners on the team by far.


There was little pressure on B.J. Daniels for most of the game. He was able to sit in the pocket, survey the defense, and then had time to run. On the few occasions where they did get to Daniels, they allowed him to escape. Yes Daniels is an exceptional athlete, but the tackling has to be better in those situations. Especially surprising was Markus Pierce-Brewster being quiet all game.

Ri'Shard Anderson continues to get beat for big plays. Keon Lyn seems to be the clear better option, yet Anderson continues to start.

Run Defense


Syracuse held South Florida running back Demetris Murray to less than three yards per carry. He was the one back the Orange seemed to shut down.

They were also able to force a key fumble, as Murray let go of the ball and Shamarko Thomas jumped on it. That recovery and subsequent Syracuse touchdown gave them all of the momentum.


Where to begin? The Syracuse run defense was as bad as it has been in years. They allowed 369 yards on the ground and 8.2 yards per carry. Horrific numbers for a Syracuse run defense that had been fantastic in Big East play coming in.

South Florida wasn't doing anything special. Most of their big runs were up the middle, right at the Syracuse tackles. There was no penetration as Jay Bromley, Eric Crume, and others were dominated at the point of attack. Huge holes were opened and the Syracuse linebackers were helpless as linemen got to the second level.

The tackling was poor as well. Many times, the Orange had a chance to stop a Bulls runner for a six or seven yard gain, and a couple missed tackles would lead to a t\10 or 15 yard gain. Dyshawn Davis, Eric Crume, and others were culprits here.

B.J. Daniels ran at will against the Orange. They seemed to have no answer for him. At no point did the Orange spy the athletic quarterback, and it really hurt them. Daniels finished with 134 yards on 12 carries.

Lindsay Lamar also ran all over Syracuse. He finished with 145 yards on 10 carries, including an 80 yard burst which was the result of poor tackling.

Jay Bromley struggled all game, being dominated by the South Florida guards. He got no penetration all game, and made no impact other than allowing big running lanes.


Syracuse has some major adjustments to make to get their defense back on track. Especially along the defensive line. In their first three Big East games, they were playing in their opponents' backfield. This was the first time they were dominated up front all game long.

Things don't get any easier as they face a Cincinnati team that will be eager to end their two game losing streak. They feature Munchie Legaux, who can also hurt you with his legs.

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