A quick take on Syracuse’s 45-26 upset of No. 9 Louisville on Saturday afternoon:
WHAT HAPPENED: The Orange got near flawless performances from all three phases of the game as Syracuse knocked off the previously undefeated Cardinals. SU got started early, putting up 31 points in the first half as only one drive resulted in a punt. By the end, the Orange had put up 524 yards of offense, while the defense, which had been battered in its last two games held the No. 35 offense in the country to just 26 points, eight points off its season average. With one more win, the Orange will be headed for a bowl game for the second time in the last three years.
ANALYSIS: Last week against Cincinnati, the Orange played its sloppiest game of the season, committing 12 penalties for 104 yards while losing two fumbles. Syracuse played a much cleaner game today, not turning the ball over and getting flagged just seven times. Instead, the Orange won the turnover battle, recovering a muffed punt in the first quarter which led to a touchdown, and another on a late interception from linebacker Dyshawn Davis that put the game out of reach. The defense was stellar despite giving up 472 yards. Louisville could only muster one offensive touchdown in the first half and only 46 rushing yards on the day. It was the first time the Orange defeated a top 10 team since it knocked off Virginia Tech in 2002.
HERO: Alec Lemon had 176 yards and a pair of touchdowns while Jerome Smith rushed for 144 yards and a touchdown. Prince-Tyson Gulley also rushed for 98 more and two touchdowns as the Orange’s offensive line bullied the Cardinals. Even Lewellyn Coker, a linebacker, got into the scoring action. Lining up at fullback, Coker slipped into the backfield for a spinning, bobbled, touchdown grab with 11:14 left in the fourth quarter. Bridgewater finished with 424 yards and three touchdowns, but much of the damage came in the second half with the Cardinals already down big.
ZERO: Louisville’s defense came into Saturday giving up just 22.3 points per game. The Orange steamrolled them, especially on third down, with SU converting 14 of 19 third down opportunities. Whether it was through the air (Nassib had 246 yards and 3 touchdowns) or on the ground (the Orange had 278 rushing yards and 3 TDs), the Cardinals couldn’t do much to stop the Orange. Prior to the game, the Cardinals had a cardboard cutout of Nassib with the phrase “We’ve never lost on senior day” as bulletin board material. Well, the Orange have continued that streak.
WHAT’S NEXT: The Orange will try to clinch post-season eligibility when they travel to Missouri to play the Tigers on Nov. 17 at 7 pm. TV: ESPNU.Wesley Cheng