Syracuse got its first W on Saturday but the grades don’t reflect a victory. Based on this week’s team report card, I would guess the team lost by 40, but that’s not the case. The Orange pulled off the victory after Stony Brook gave the team chance after chance to score.
Ryan Nassib threw for over 300 yards and three touchdown passes. Marcus Sales had yet another 100+ yard performance and Ashton Broyld emerged as an offensive weapon for the Orange offense. But that didn’t change the fact that the Orange was only able to put up 28 points against Stony Brook. And it doesn’t change the fact that the offense was shut down in the red zone, conceding two turnovers.
The Orange could have put up two more touchdowns when it was down inside the Stony Brook five-yard line. But each time, Syracuse failed to move the ball forward into the end zone.
The play of the tight ends has been non-existent. Beckett Wales, who was expected to have a Nick Provo-like season, had just two receptions against Stony Brook and hasn’t been a consistent option this season. If a team with a strong defense shuts down Sales, who else does Nassib have?
The Orange made two interceptions on Saturday, but both were sent directly to the man in coverage. It wasn’t because of exceptional play in the secondary. What worried me most about the defense was its inability to stop big plays. Stony Brook offense was pretty good, but not that good. Not good enough to break out 50+ yard runs and passes against the Orange defense. What’s going to happen when the Orange faces a team with actual big play potential? With the way the unit played on Saturday, guys like Rushel Shell of Pittsburgh and Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville are going to be unstoppable.
Special Teams: F
What was going on with the special teams on Saturday? The performance was filled with mental mistakes and incompetence, even from people who have been great in the past. Ross Krautman has been extremely consistent for the Orange over the past few years, but he went 0-for-2 on a couple of field goals that he would usually hit.
And then Steve Rene was just awful. There was a point when a kick off was clearly going out-of-bounds and he went out of his way to save it and then he ran out around the ten. He saved Stony Brook from a sure penalty. Why? Nobody really knows.