Syracuse ended their four game losing streak on Saturday, with a road conference win over Wake Forest. The defense was superb, limiting the Demon Deacons to just 170-yards of total offense. They even nearly outscored the offense, picking up two touchdowns on the afternoon. The first was on a pick six by Robert Welsh.
There were several elements to the play that resulted in the huge momentum swing for the Orange.
It’s in the second quarter and Wake has a third and five. They line up with three receivers, the tight end flexed at the line and running back Denzel Wortham next to quarterback John Wolford in the shotgun. Tight end Sam Cerigne starts initially slants out towards the sideline, but then takes his route back towards the middle in more of a traditional slant. Robert Welsh lines up as a defensive end and drops into coverage as Cam Lynch rushes from the edge. On the other side of the line, Dyshawn Davis blitzes at the snap. Wortham should pick him up, but steps up and does not see Davis.
As Davis blitzes, Wortham is looking towards the middle expecting extra rushers to collapse the pocket (circled above). He never see Davis who has a free rush on Wolford. Welsh is now in perfect position as he drops into coverage. Cerigne is about to slant back towards the middle, which is where Wolford wants to go with the ball. Welsh’s drop fools Wolford who thinks he has an open receiver.
Davis arrives at Wolford and lays a big hit (which would knock him out of the game) just as he is releasing the ball. Welsh is reading Wolford’s eyes the entire time as Cerigne continues his route. Welsh slides back to the outside to step right in between Wolford and his intended receiver.
Another angle as Davis hits Wolford. Welsh is already leaning towards the outside. You can see Cerigne appears open, which is what Wolford sees. He never identifies Welsh dropping back into coverage.
Welsh steps in front of the pass and has a clear path to the end zone with a huge open field in front of him. He takes it the house and gives Syracuse a 17-7 lead and momentum they would never give back.