A quick take on Syracuse’s overall regressive performance in its 48-27 loss to Northwestern on a steamy (for Chicago in Sept.) Saturday evening of college football at Ryan Field near the shores of Lake Michigan:
WHAT HAPPENED: Northwestern (2-0) went 4 plays in the first :51 of the game to take a 7-0 lead before the Orange knew what hit them, and it was all downhill from there. The ‘Cats scored with just :01 left in the first half to go up 34-7 at intermission before tacking on 2 second-half scores. The Orange scored 3 times in the second half after the game was decided. Drew Allen was again inconsistent (27-41 for 281) throwing four picks, as the running game struggled gaining just 59 net yards before the second-stringers finished up the final 5:00 of play. Will there be calls for Terrel Hunt (15 yard TD run late) next week? Defensively, the Orange (0-2) secondary had no answer for NW’s two-headed QB monster of Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian who threw for 375 yards and 4 TDs.
ANALYSIS: The program’s lack of options when it comes to a game-breaking, top offensive play-maker was evident for the second straight week as opposing defenses have the luxury of thinking run first. To the coaching staff’s credit, WRs Chris Clark and true freshman Brisly Estime, along with backup TE Kendall Moore, saw considerable playing time and did create a spark combining for 13 catches, with Moore snatching a 16 yard TD pass.
HEROES: There’s a reason NW coach Pat Fitzgerald labels them QB 1A and 1B, Colter and Siemian, respectively. Each took his turn in carving up the ‘Cuse D in the pivotal first half (22-24 for 277 yards), each dazzling with pinpoint passing, and in Colter’s case, his feet as well finishing with 83 yards on 11 carries. Wildcats WR Tony Jones had 9 catches for 184 and a TD burning the SU secondary time and again.
ZEROES: You name it; seven inopportune penalties, several dropped passes/overthrows, four bad interceptions, a missed extra point, a secondary that was lost on its assignments, this was an ugly outing on the heels of a game versus a Big Ten opponent in Penn State that the Orange thought it was going to defeat. It’s going to be a quiet charter flight home.
WHAT’S NEXT: SU makes its 2013 true home debut next Sat. Sept. 14 against FCS member Wagner at the Dome. The Seahawks are 1-1 following a 42-41 loss to Merrimack Fri. night after an earlier win against Georgetown. This will only be Wagner’s second-ever game against a FBS team. Time: 4:00 p.m. ET / TV-Online: ESPN3