Here are some thoughts on Syracuse’s 24-10 win over NC State:
It’s all about the run
Three different guys had great games in the ground against NC State, combining for over 300 total rushing yards. Jerome Smith, Prince-Tyson Gulley and Terrel Hunt were all impressive on Saturday, because that’s all SU’s offense is really capable of right now. Hunt struggled through the air, but with such a strong running game, this offense can still manage to score. But for how long? Hopefully these guys are skilled enough to keep up the run game, but chances are, defenses will figure them out and force them to throw the ball. Until then, watch out for 300+ running performances from this backfield.
The front seven holds the offense together
Putting pressure on the quarterback helps the defense tremendously and this defense does a great job with that. With a weak secondary, now without Keon Lyn, quarterback pressure is more important than ever. The unit also did well stopping the run. NC State’s top rusher averaged just over 3 yards a carry. The front line is going to be ever more important when the team faces a stronger quarterback. I can’t help but notice Florida State’s Jameis Winston on the schedule in a few weeks. The only way this team will be able to stop them is if they make him uncomfortable by putting pressure on him.
The first ACC win
The team and the coaching staff were elated after Saturday’s win. It’s a big one for the program and a great way to start our time in the ACC. Clemson was a tough first ACC opponent, but SU fans need to realize that there are plenty of winnable games. The loss to Clemson wasn’t the end of the world and it doesn’t mean SU won’t be able to compete in the ACC. It just means Clemson is great. Hopefully this win was a reality check for Orange fans and they start to realize that this was the first of many wins in this conference.