Syracuse Superlatives - Week Two

The Orange could not bounce back from a season opening loss, and fell in blow out fashion in week two. After taking a look at their performance, we hand out our awards from Syracuse's matchup with Northwestern.

Syracuse fell in blowout fashion in week two, but there were still some positives to go along with the glaring negatives. We hand out our awards for the Orange's performance against Northwestern.

Offense

Top Talent: WR Chris Clark – The senior receiver stepped in for Adrian Flemming very well in Syracuse's second game of the 2013 campaign. His route running was crisp, hands were solid, and he even showed some elusiveness after the catch. Clark led the Orange in receiving with 66-yards and finished second in catches with six. In an offense desperate for playmakers, Clark stepped up in week two.

Middle Man: WR Ashton Broyld – Syracuse's best offensive playmaker had a solid game, leading the team with seven catches. But he struggled to make the difficult catch down the field. While he was, for the second consecutive week, able to make people miss in the open field, he couldn't make plays down the field at critical times. He dropped a couple third down passes that hurt the Orange, though they weren't the easiest to haul in.

Bottom Feeder: QB Drew Allen – For the second time in two games, Allen gets the bottom feeder for Syracuse. Four more interceptions to add to his total (now six on the season) killed any chance the Orange had at competing with Northwestern. Despite being able to move the ball at times, Allen showed tendencies that should be concerning going forward. He continued to stare down his primary read, failing to go through his progressions. This led to the interception at the end of the first half when the Orange were driving to try to get back in the game. If the offense is going to get into rhythm, Allen has to improve his reads.

Defense

Top Talent: LB Luke Arciniega – Despite not playing a lot of snaps, Arciniega takes home the award almost by default. The defense line failed to get pressure for most of the game, the linebackers missed tackles and blew assignments, and the secondary had its worst game in years. However, the junior college transfer linebacker stepped in for a few series in the third quarter and helped Syracuse slow down a potent Northwestern offense. He showed good burst when rushing the passer, solid tackling technique against the run, and the ability to fill the hole as a middle linebacker. It was a strong showing for Arciniega.

Middle Man: DE Ron Thompson – Early on, Thompson showed flashes of the athleticism that made him a coveted tight end prospect. Utilizing his strength, he shed a blocker when pursuing speedy quarterback Kain Colter. He then used his speed to reach Colter and technique to bring him down behind the line of scrimmage. Thompson was solid, but didn't have much of an impact other than for a handful of plays.

Bottom Feeder: The Secondary – It's hard to single out one member of the Orange defensive backfield. They were terrible against the Wildcats. Jeremi Wilkes blew assignments in safety help over the top. Keon Lyn and Ri'Shard Anderson left receivers wide open throughout. Julian Whigham blew coverage assignments. Brandon Reddish watched Northwestern receivers run open. It was a horrible performance for a unit that was supposed to be one of Syracuse's deepest.

Special Teams

Top Talent: P Riley Dixon – Filling in for a struggling Jonathan Fisher, Dixon kicked the ball very well. On his four punts, he averaged 48.5 yards per kick including downing two inside the 20-yard line and having two punts over 50-yards. His performance was so strong, head coach Scott Shafer has named him the starting punter going forward.

Middle Man: KR DeVante McFarlane – He only returned one kickoff, but had a solid return for 22-yards. He showed solid field vision during the return. He fared significantly better than George Morris, who struggled after a strong week one performance, only averaging 14-yards per return.

Bottom Feeder: P Jonathan Fisher – Fisher shanked two punts early in the game, giving Northwestern great starting field position. One of his punts went only 16-yards. It was a very poor performance from Fisher, who was since been replaced as the starting punter.


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