Saturday evening in suburban Chicago, Syracuse simply could not stop #19 Northwestern, giving up 581 yards en route to a 48-27 loss that was not as close as that score implies. In the game, the Orange (0-2) simultaneously proved the football maxim, “if you have two quarterbacks, you really have none” to be correct and untrue. First, SU proved it true as they fell into a quarterback controversy after starter Drew Allen threw four interceptions, then reserve Terrel Hunt guided the team to a touchdown on his lone drive. The Syracuse defense, however, proved the platitude can be false, allowing a pair of quarterbacks for the Wildcats (2-0) to combine for 466 total yards and five touchdowns.
Northwestern showed their quick strike ability on their first possession, needing less than a minute to compile a touchdown drive. In fact, the Wildcats scored on four of their first five possessions, grabbing a 20-0 lead just over five minutes into the second quarter. At that point, the Syracuse offense came to life, stringing together 86 yards in ten plays to get in the end zone. Jerome Smith notched his third touchdown of the year, rumbling in from three yards and the extra point put the Orange within 20-7. That score, however, was just a blip in the opening half, as Northwestern scored touchdowns on both of their remaining drives, including needing only 49 seconds to move 62 yards for a score with two seconds left in the half. The Wildcats left SU in a 34-7 halftime hole.
Syracuse put together a drive to open the second half, taking the opening kickoff of the third quarter and marching 75 yards for a touchdown. Freshman tight end Kendall Moore caught a quick pass from Drew Allen and barreled into the end zone from 16 yards out for the score. It marked the first touchdown in orange for both players. The extra point attempt by Ross Krautman thudded off the upright, however, leaving SU at a 34-13 deficit. The Wildcats matched that score by getting into the end zone early in the fourth quarter to extend their lead to 41-13. Two possessions later, Syracuse scored again, this time when Prince-Tyson Gulley bolted in from nine yards out. Krautman tacked on the extra point and the margin was 21 points again. SU’s next possession resulted in Allen’s fourth interception and Northwestern converted it into another score to go up 48-20. Terrel Hunt got his first action for the Orange and guided the team on a 77-yard drive, capping the possession by darting in from 15 yards out. Ryan Norton booted the extra point to close out the night’s scoring.
Jerome Smith led six different ballcarriers for SU, finishing with 45 yards on 11 attempts. Drew Allen completed 27-of-41 passes for 279 yards and a touchdown, but had four interceptions. Ashton Broyld led all receivers with seven receptions, while Christopher Clark had a team-high 66 receiving yards. Durell Eskridge topped the SU defense with ten tackles while Jay Bromley had a forced fumble and a sack. Luke Arciniega and Ron Thompson also each posted a sack for Syracuse.
SU returns to action on Saturday for their home opener against Wagner. The Seahawks, who play in the lower-level FCS, are 1-1 on the year, including a season-opening win over Georgetown. The game will start at 4:00pm and stream online at ESPN3.com.