One of the key plays in Syracuse’s 40-3 victory on Saturday was a third quarter safety by linebacker Cameron Lynch. The safety pushed the Orange lead to 19-3, and gave Syracuse all of the momentum. They would score twice in the subsequent minutes and put the game away for good.
Here’s a look at how the Orange were able to execute the play.
Central Michigan had the ball at their own three yard line. Syracuse lines up in their base 4-3 defense, and the Chippewas have two receivers to the top of the screen with a tight end in motion. Lynch, circled in the picture below, blitzes, while Dyshawn Davis follows the tight end into the flat.
Lynch initially starts his blitz to the left of tackle Eric Crume. However, that is where the extra CMU offensive lineman is, circled in the picture below. Crume crashes towards him, opening a gap to his right. Quarterback Cooper Rush goes back to fake the handoff. The tight end runs a route into the flat. Dyshawn Davis recognizes this and undercuts the route.
After Rush finishes the fake, Lynch has found his way into the crease. Crume is occupying the guard while Ron Thompson has the center. Another key is Wayne Morgan jamming his receiver at the top of the screen with Julian Whigham jamming his in the slot. With Davis going with the tight end, Rush has nowhere to go with the ball.
Lynch flies through the crease in the offensive line and is now one on one with Rush, who saw nothing but coverage down the field. Lynch makes the play and Rush heaves it in desperation. Central Michigan is called for intentional grounding and Syracuse is awarded a safety.
This was just one of several big time plays for the Orange defense but exemplifies why they were able to be so successful at pressuring the Chippewas on Saturday afternoon.