Syracuse kept its dream season going with Saturday’s 24-9 victory against the 15th-ranked NC State Wolfpack. Here are the key takeaways from the game:
Special Season Continues
The Orange find themselves 6-0 for the first time since 1987, a year where they finished undefeated.
The win could also potentially vault them into the top 15, with several other higher ranked teams (Penn State, Oklahoma State, Mississippi State and USC) losing.
“I’ve been doing this for quite a while,” Syracuse head coach Dino Babers said. “I’m really excited about obviously starting 6-0, that’s something that is extremely special.”
Injuries Keep Piling Up
Once again, the defense stepped up holding the Wolfpack to just three field goals. But it wasn’t easy as the score/stats may suggest.
The injuries continue to pile up for the Orange. Linebacker Mikel Jones was taken out for a series with cramping before returning for SU’s final defensive stand. Cornerback Garrett Williams was injured in the first half after making a hard tackle, and was in street clothes for the entire second half.
“Coaches did a fantastic job,” Babers said. “Guys were ready to go, they were on the launching pad and boom they’d take off. It wasn’t all perfect but there was a lot of coaching going on in between the lines.”
Syracuse’s Defense Holds Up
While it’s no secret that NC State was playing with their backup quarterback, and that should be accounted for, the Orange’s defense were able to ensure Jack Chambers, the evasive Southern Charleston transfer, felt their presence as the Orange racked up three sacks. Chambers started in the place of Preseason ACC Player of the Year Devin Leary, who is out for the year after suffering a season ending injury against FSU last week.
“That game was physical on both sides,” Babers said. “I’m putting us in the top three, it’s a top three defense in the ACC.”
NC State had just four red zone trips on Saturday. In those trips, the Orange held the Wolfpack to just three field goals. It was impressive considering quarterback Garrett Shrader threw two costly interceptions in the first half.
“I feel like it showed a lot,” Jones said. “NC State is one of the top defenses in our conference. We held their offense to less points. We’re going to just keep showing people what we’re capable of.”
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The Dome Crowd Was A Huge Factor
Not only did the defense show up on Saturday but the long-missed 12th man of the Orange faithful made their presence known as well. On multiple key third downs the sold out JMA Wireless Dome crowd of 49,705 was ear-splitting loud, causing miscommunication for the Wolfpack and more importantly false starts.
“So proud of the student body,” Babers said. “The community getting behind this team. What a 12th man, what an effect on the game. How difficult is the situation for a young man [Chambers] who has never started a game before to go in there against Otto’s Army and really think that he’d be able to operate.”