Syracuse lost their second straight game on Saturday, falling to South Florida 45-20 inside the Carrier Dome. Here is the best and worst from that performance.
- Syracuse had their best rushing day of the season as they piled up nearly 200 yards. The attack was led by Dontae Strickland, who had his best game in an Orange uniform with 127 yards on 30 carries.
- The Orange offense racked up 549 yards of total offense and ran 105 plays and controlled the time of possession with over 37 minutes.
- Freshman Sean Riley was solid in his debut as the full time kick returner. He even broke off a 41 yard return at one point, showing the speed and ability to make plays in the open field.
- Amba Etta-Tawo, Ervin Philips and Brisly Estime had solid games. Etta-Tawo had eight catches for 123 yards. Philips had 10 grabs for 95 yards and a touchdown. Estime had six receptions for 80 yards and a score.
- Cole Murphy continues to be a reliable kicker. He was 2-2 on field goals on the day, including a 48 yarder that would have been good from another 10 yards out.
- Daivon Ellison stepped up in place of Kielan Whitner. He recorded a career high 11 tackles to lead the team and forced a fumble. He was one of the few who made some strong open field tackles.
- Joshua Black saw his first action of the season. He played inside primarily, and recorded a tackle-for-loss.
- Despite the yards, the Orange offense struggled to finish drives and put points on the board. After a 17 point first quarter, they managed just three the rest of the game. Dungey threw two interceptions, Philips fumbled at the end of the first half in field goal range, and something just seemed a bit off.
- Where is Steve Ishmael? Yes the other receivers have been productive, but Ishmael should be someone that flourishes in this offense. He had only three catches for 30 yards on Saturday, and his targets seems to be behind Etta-Tawo, Philips and Estime.
- Speaking of missing players, Jordan Fredericks did not get into the game until the outcome was essentially known. Despite that, he ran for 42 yards on seven carries. He has been productive when given the chance, but seems to be third in the rotation behind Strickland and Moe Neal.
- Injuries. Several Syracuse players went down on Saturday for a team that already has lost Antwan Cordy and Juwan Dowels for the season and was missing Jason Emerich and Kielan Whitner against USF due to injury.
- The defense had major issues once again. The Bulls ran all over the Orange on the fast track of the Carrier Dome turf. In total, they ran for 239 yards while averaging over six yards per carry. That includes Marlon Mack who had 115 yards on only nine carries.
- The Orange defense gave up over 450 yards of offense and 7.1 yards per play. Over the final three quarters, USF did whatever they wanted on offense. They had receivers running open, huge running lanes to run through and their speed was too much for the Syracuse defense. Combine that with some poor tackling at times and it was a recipe for disaster.
- Syracuse was outscored 45-3 after a strong opening quarter.
- Syracuse did not force a turnover despite forcing three fumbles on the afternoon.
- Penalties were killer for the Orange. For the first time this season, the team committed costly penalty after costly penalty. Ten were accepted for 69 yards, but the impact was far greater.