Two weeks ago, the Syracuse Orange were given a ton of respect when they stuck with the LSU Tigers down till the wire. After that game, the Orange headed into their bye week with a 3-1 record feeling pretty good about themselves. The bye week came at the perfect time for the Orange, as this depth needed a break on top of many key players like Eric Dungey, Rob Trudo, and Ervin Phillips being injured. With two weeks to prepare for a lowly AAC team in USF, many thought the Orange would walk over their opponents in this one, but Marlon Mack and company proved otherwise.
Besides a few drives in the third quarter, there wasn't really much to like out of this Syracuse team. They came out of the gate looking rusty and simply flat. Perhaps the best thing about this game was the fact that they stayed away from the injury bug outside of an injury to Antwan Cordy.
There was a lot, and I mean a lot, of bad out of the Orange in this game. Let’s first start out with their inability to command in trenches on both sides of the football. The Orange is a running team and they had only 73 yards on the ground on 33 carries, which is an average of just 2.2 yards per carry.
True freshman Kielan Whitner from Georgia had a rough afternoon. Playing extended time in the place of the injured Cordy, Whitner missed a touchdown-saving tackle, had a punt hit his helmet, which USF would recover, and, finally, he also had a dead ball foul for a late hit on a receiver where the ball being thrown was uncatchable. Nevertheless, Whitner has played all season, showing his potential and his versatility for this secondary in the future, so it’s too early to jump ship on him just yet.
It’s nearly impossible to win a football game when you give up 536 yards of offense. That’s the number the Orange defense gave up today. Quarterback Quinton Flowers and running back Marlon Mack simply destroyed Syracuse. USF’s offensive line also beat up on Syracuse’s inexperienced line upfront, which proved to be a huge factor for the Bulls’ offensive success.
The Orange will have no time to sulk about this loss, as they will only have a few days of practice before flying down for a trip against the Virginia Cavaliers, a team that would be 0-5 if it weren't for a close victory over William & Mary. This game will start the Orange’s ACC-consistent schedule. If Syracuse wants to play in a bowl game this year, beating perhaps the worst team in the ACC next week will be extremely important.