EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ — Syracuse’s defense bailed out—and nearly lead the team to a win in spite of—a stagnant offense in Saturday’s 23-17 loss to Penn State.
- Syracuse held Penn state to just 353 total yards and 57 yards on the ground. Penn State was also just 1 for 16 on third down conversions. “Defense played a tough-assed football game,” Syracuse coach Scott Shafer said. “I was really impressed with the way coach (Chuck) Bullough had those kids playing.”
- Syracuse’s defense accounted for four turnovers and helped set up two scores (it could’ve been four).
- Compare that to SU’s offense, which had just 260 total yards. Drew Allen, in his first start, finished with 189 yards and two interceptions. Jerome Smith had a pair of scores and 73 yards, but also fumbled.
- With the teams scoreless in the first quarter, Penn State backup quarterback Tyler Ferguson inexplicably fumbled the ball while trying to throw with 51 seconds left. Micah Robinson recovered, and eight plays later, Ross Krautman hit a field goal for the first points of the game.
- Jeremi Wilkes gave Syracuse another scoring opportunity, intercepting true freshman Christian Hackenberg and returning it to midfield with 9:21 left in the second quarter. But two plays later, Jerome Smith fumbled, giving it back to the Nittany Lions.
- With Penn State up 13-10 with 4:15 to go in the third quarter, Brandon Reddish stripped star receiver Allen Robinson of the ball, and returned it to the Penn State 27. This time, though, Krautman missed a potential game-tying field goal.
- The defense once again proved to be the catalyst in the fourth quarter. Down 23-10, Robert Welsh intercepted Hackenberg and rumbled down the sideline before he was stopped at the one. One play later, Smith punched it in from a yard out for the final score of the game.
- The defense couldn’t contain Robinson, one of the best receivers in the Big 10, and a returning 1,000 yard receiver. Robinson didn’t play the first half for disciplinary reasons, but still finished the game as the leading receiver, with seven receptions for 133 yards and a touchdown. That score came on a 51 yard pass, where Robinson slipped behind the SU secondary and found himself wide open. “It was just a good player making plays,” linebacker Marquis Spruill said. “He came in and he balled out and did what he was supposed to do.”
- The Orange also allowed Geno Lewis to catch a 54 yard bomb from Hackenberg to put Penn State up 23-10 with 11:39 in the fourth quarter.