Instant Juice: USC 38, Syracuse 17

A quick take on Syracuse’s 38-17 loss against USC:

WHAT HAPPENED: The Orange looked competitive on its first drive of the game, going 12 plays and 70 yards that culminated in a 23-yard field goal and an early lead. But the lead would be short lived as USC quickly responded with a touchdown on its first drive, and took a 17-3 lead into halftime.

Syracuse showed signs of life on their first possession of the second half on a trick play. With the ball at the 28-yard line, Ryan Nassib took the snap and lateraled to Alec Lemon, who threw a 28-yard pass to a streaking Van Chew for a touchdown to pull SU to within 24-10. But after a quick 3-and-out from USC, the Orange was unable to score deep in USC territory.

The Trojans responded with a 43-yard score to Marqise Lee to give USC a 31-10 lead with 4:14 left in the third quarter, and the Orange would never threaten Southern California from that point on.

ANALYSIS: The good news is that the Orange hung around until midway through the second half against a more talented and deep Trojans team. But SU’s deficiencies were on display. The Orange got very little pressure on Barkley and only sacked him once. And, while SU was able to shut down USC’s run game, holding running back Marc Tyler to just 41 yards, Barkley and receiver Robert Woods had their way with the Orange secondary. Barkley threw for 324 yards and five touchdowns, while Woods accounted for 82 yards and a touchdown.

On offense, Nassib was limited to underneath routes and check downs for the bulk of the game. The Orange also struggled once again with the running game, as Antwon Bailey rushed for just 47 yards on 11 carries.

HERO: Barkley’s five touchdowns tied a career high, and all of his touchdown throws were to different receivers. On SU’s side, tight end Nick Provo enjoyed his best game of the season with eight catches for 85 yards.

ZERO: Any time an opponent puts  38 points on the board, the defense has to be held accountable. It’s really clear the Syracuse defense is missing defensive end Chandler Jones, which has allowed opposing quarterbacks more time to pick apart the Orange’s inexperienced secondary.

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Wes Cheng

About Wes Cheng

Wes has worked for Rivals.com covering the New York Knicks, as well as for Scout.com covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also worked for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005. Follow him on Twitter @ChengWes.
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