A quick take on Syracuse’s 41-3 win over Holy Cross to finish off non-conference play:
WHAT HAPPENED: Syracuse set the tone early on, with Tommy DeVito finding Aaron Hackett for a 14-yard touchdown to put the Orange up 7-0 on the game’s first drive. Syracuse led 17-0 after the first quarter, though their offense stalled for much of the second and third quarters. SU still only led 27-3 near the end of the third quarter, but two straight touchdown drives put the game out of reach. Taj Harris took a short route and made three defenders miss to score on a 47-yard touchdown with 1:15 left in the third. On SU’s first drive of the fourth quarter, DeVito threw to a wide-open Luke Benson who went untouched for 70 yards to put the Orange up 41-3.
ANALYSIS: Syracuse’s offense struggled against a vastly inferior Crusader defense. Holy Cross head coach Bob Chesney spent much of the game dropping seven and even eight players back in coverage, causing DeVito to either misfire or to throw it away. It was an effective strategy, with the Orange being forced to punt on four consecutive possessions spanning from late in the second quarter to early in the third quarter. But the biggest concern from the afternoon came with 13:35 left in the fourth quarter when DeVito jogged into the locker room with no pads on, visibly frustrated after suffering what appeared to be an upper-body injury.
HERO: While the offense struggled, the defense had no such issues. Syracuse completely stymied the Crusaders, limiting them to 138 total yards and just 18 rushing yards. Defensive end Brandon Berry led Syracuse with five tackles, including 2.5 quarterback sacks. The one downside was that Syracuse did not intercept a pass for the first time in 18 games, ending the nation’s longest active streak.
ZERO: If DeVito was in fact injured, there will be plenty of questions as to why he was still in the game in the fourth quarter with the Orange up 38 points. On that particular drive, DeVito scrambled on first and second down, and on second down, he threw a stiff arm on a defender in the back field before falling forward for a gain of a yard. Though nothing looked out of the ordinary on that particular play, that may have been where DeVito tweaked his arm. On third down he uncorked a deep throw down field that was intercepted, and as he jogged off the field, DeVito clearly was in pain, gesturing to his right elbow. With little quarterback depth behind him, the Orange can ill afford to lose their starting quarterback, especially right before the start of ACC play.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse heads into its bye week, which it desperately needs with several injuries on the offensive line and defensive secondary, and now, a potential injury to its star quarterback. They will return Thursday, Oct. 10 for a matchup down at North Carolina State.