Syracuse was routed by Maryland, 63-20, on Saturday in Week 2. Here are three things we learned from the game.
DEFENSE TORCHED BY TERRAPINS
The numbers were not pretty for Syracuse’s defense.
One week after pitching a shutout against an overmatched Liberty team, Syracuse looked overmatched against the Terrapins.
Whether it was on the ground or in the air, Syracuse’s defense was helpless against Maryland. The Terrapins amassed 354 yards rushing and 296 yards through the air. Virginia Tech transfer Josh Jackson continued his torrid start to the season, throwing for three touchdowns, while running back Javon Leake rushed seven times for 107 yards and two touchdowns.
Particularly disheartening was SU’s third down defense. Syracuse surrendered 11 of 15 third down opportunities, some on missed tackles. That was a theme throughout the afternoon, with SU’s linebackers particularly struggling.
“When you have missed tackles on defense, whether it’s linebackers, back end, or D lineman, you’re going to get guys extending plays,” Syracuse head coach Dino Babers said. “You look at the third downs, I mean, that’s, that’s an amazing statistic, no matter who you’re playing. And that is not indicative of our defense, we’re normally fantastic on third down.”
JACKSON BRIGHT SPOT IN LOSS
One of the few bright spots for Syracuse on Saturday was the performance of wide receiver Trishton Jackson. He had the best game of his college career, catching seven passes for 157 yards and two touchdowns.
Jackson caught a nine-yards pass from Tommy DeVito with just under five minutes in the first quarter to pull SU to within 14-7. By the time Jackson caught his second score in the third quarter, the game was already out of hand, with the Orange trailing 49-20.
Babers has had a different leading wide receiver each year he’s been on campus. Last year, Jamal Custis finished atop SU’s talented receiver core, with 906 yards. With Custis gone, Jackson is a prime candidate to fill the role as the Orange’s top threat.
“I just think he got into a situation with some guys where he got some really good balls, he got some really good looks,” Babers said. “And between the quarterback and the self, they made a good decisions and it paid off.”
GAMEDAY? NOT THIS YEAR
Syracuse was in the running as a site for ESPN College GameDay for its week 3 matchup against No. 1 Clemson heading into Saturday’s contest.
Had Syracuse won, it would’ve pitted two top 25 teams against each other with potential College Football Playoff implications on the line. The Orange had pulled out several stops for the game, including making homecoming that weekend, with a special presentation to SU legend Tim Green at halftime.
Syracuse also upset Clemson at the Carrier Dome in 2017 and played the Tigers down to the wire at Death Valley in 2018.
But with the embarrassing loss to Maryland, the Gameday crew will instead feature the Iowa State-Iowa matchup.
ESPN has been traveling to college campuses across the country since 1993, but GameDay has never come to Syracuse. The Orange remain one of only 10 Power 5 teams to not have had a visit.