Syracuse nearly got its second straight shutout as they controlled the Maryland Terrapins right from the start. The Orange took the opening possession 80-yards on 21-plays in nearly eight minutes, capped by a Jerome Smith one yard touchdown run on fourth down.
The Syracuse defense took over from there, holding Maryland to less than 300-yards of total offense, including only 81 on the ground and forcing three turnovers. Early in the fourth quarter, Jerome Smith ran for a 21-yard scoring scamper that put the game out of reach for the Terps.
Offensive Player of the Game:
Jerome Smith ran for 118-yards and two scores on a day where the offense struggled throughout the middle parts of the game. His two touchdown runs were the only touchdowns scored by either team.
Defensive Player(s) of the Game:
Ritchy Desir led the team with 11 tackles and forced a fumble on Maryland's first possession of the third quarter to thwart any momentum the Terps may have had. Marquis Spruill was also a force, playing in the Maryland backfield all game. He finished with seven tackles, two for loss.
What We Learned:
The Syracuse defense continued to be the strength of the team, and the offense was showing signs of improvement. Terrel Hunt was just so-so throwing the ball, but was a big weapon with his legs.
The receiving corps still struggles to get open consistently, but showed flashes of being able to get behind a defense. Timing was slightly off with Hunt, however. As the Orange looked to become bowl eligible, they came to play with a solid game plan on both sides of the ball.
Impact on the Season:
This was a swing game for Syracuse. A loss would have the Orange staring 4-6 square in the face with Florida State looming. Instead, a win puts Syracuse over .500 for the first time all season, and gives them some margin for error. Now, they would only need one win in the final two games to reach their goal.