Unlike past seasons, when Syracuse has gone with a featured back, Syracuse is employing an effective running back by committee.
Prince Tyson-Gulley, Jerome Smith and Ashton Broyld each had opportunities to showcase their ability, and the trio combined for 214 rushing yards in Syracuse’s 28-17 win over Stony Brook on Saturday.
“It wasn’t something that was planned,” Syracuse coach Doug Marrone said on the weekly Big East coach’s teleconference on Monday. “We’re just very happy with the way that group, our running back by committee, is doing.”
They are just as happy.
“We’re getting to know the offense a little bit more, each one of us, me Tyson and Ashton,” Smith said following Syracuse’s win. “We finally know what we are doing and everybody is getting their own swagger to how they do their thing.”
After Stony Brook scored the first points of the game, Syracuse immediately responded with Ryan Nassib finding Gulley for a short pass. Gulley did the rest, sprinting 61 yards down the sideline for his second touchdown of the season.
In the second quarter, Broyld scored his first career touchdown, again on a short pass from Nassib. This time, Broyld juked his way up the middle of the field as SU grabbed its first lead of the game.
“He is one of three or four backs that we have that have that potential to do great things,” Nassib said of Broyld. “All three of them make stuff happen.”
Though Broyld was unhappy with his role in SU’s season opener against Northwestern, he has been featured more in Syracuse’s last two games, and now has 85 rushing yards on the season.
“It felt like I belonged there,” Broyld said. “I was just waiting for it to happen.”
While Smith didn’t score, he lead the Orange with 95 yards on 18 rushes.
Afterward, he called the SU backfield a “three-headed monster.”
“I know these guys, they take pride in their position,” he said. “I know they are going to watch the film and they are going to come back and they are going to something crazy.”