Syracuse 17, Penn State 23 — What we learned

Syracuse lost its season opener with a 23-17 loss to Penn State at MetLife Stadium. Here are some thoughts from the game:

Allen Lacks Consistency

Is Drew Allen the guy? Will he lead the Orange under center this season? He didn’t give us the performance many fans hoped for. He had some good moments but he also had some awful ones, including two second-half interceptions. He certainly didn’t prove himself, leaving the starting QB spot up for grabs. Allen will most likely start next week but if he doesn’t perform, Hunt will get a chance. We learned that Allen isn’t the savior many thought he’d be. A lot of fans expected him to start off the first game with a Heisman-caliber performance. Drew Allen isn’t that guy.

allen

Allen threw two picks against Penn State

» Related: Drew Allen has mediocre first start at QB

Big plans for Broyld

Many wondered when Ashton Broyld would get his shot. Last season, he sat the bench most of the year, much to the dismay of fans who thought he was game-ready. But after the first game of the season, it looks like he’ll be playing a huge role in the offense this season. Broyld grabbed four receptions, more than any other Syracuse receiver on Saturday. He picked up 46 yards and showed some serious potential in the open field, avoiding a couple of sure tackles to pick up a few extra yards.

Defense is the bright spot

Despite letting up a few big plays, the defense looked great on Saturday. I expected a strong performance since coach Shafer is still at the defensive helm. The unit forced four turnovers against a Penn State team that finished with a positive turnover margin last season. The line put pressure on the quarterback and the secondary made some strong plays. The Nittany Lions were also just 1-for-16 on third down conversions, which says a lot about the defense in pressure situations.

» Related: Syracuse defense accounts for four turnovers

Interested to see how the running game pans out

The run game was probably the most highly touted unit coming into the season with Gulley and Smith both returning. The two didn’t really put up much of a performance on Saturday but also faced an extremely strong front seven that isn’t comparable with most of what the team will face in ACC play. The jury is still out on the backfield but I expect big performances in the next couples of games.

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