Syracuse was blown out by Northwestern, 48-27. This is what we learned from the game:
Who gets the start under center next week?
My guess is that Drew Allen gets the start again next week. There’s a reason Scott Shafer chose him as the starter in week one and two and I don’t think he’ll lose hope quite yet. But it’s hard to ignore the four interceptions thrown by Allen this week. Terrel Hunt got in the game late in the fourth quarter. Even though Northwestern had subbed in its second and even third team defense, Hunt looked pretty good. More than anything, I liked Hunt’s mobility and toughness. He’s not afraid to put his shoulder down a barrel through a couple of defenders. He also seems composed in the pocket. But of course, we can’t really make a decision about Hunt’s talent until we see him face the defenses Allen has faced. But will this be next week? Most Orange fans on Twitter hope so, but I think Allen gets one more chance.
Where’s the running game?
We thought it would be the strength of the Orange offense this season but the running game has yet to shine. SU has faced a couple of tough defenses to start the season and I expect the running game to pick up next week against Wagner, but I guess I just expected more. I expected Smith and Gulley to run over defenses like they did against West Virginia in the Pinstripe Bowl. The one positive that came out of today is the play of George Morris II and Devante McFarlane. Though they only had a few carries, I think it’s safe to say that the future of the Orange backfield is bright.
The secondary is the weakest part of the team.
“He’s wide open!” I heard it a ton of times while watching Saturday’s game. And it was true. It seemed like most of the Wildcats’ pass completions were made without an Orange defender in sight. And a couple times, the Northwestern wide receivers broke free from the secondary with ease. So how can they improve? Well… they’ll naturally improve throughout the year but not enough to make that much of a difference. So to compensate, the defense must put pressure on the quarterback. Pressured quarterbacks make mistakes and the only way to help out the secondary is to force the quarterback to panic. He’ll miss his open receivers, throw interceptions and a lot of pressure will be taken off the weakest part of the D.