Syracuse Digs a Deeper Hole After Loss to Liberty
By Olivia Conte
CitrusTV Football Reporter
Liberty ran circles around the Syracuse defense on Saturday. The Orange (1-4, 1-3 Atlantic Coast) managed just 97 yards on the ground while the Flames (5-0, 0-0 Independent) ignited for 338 yards. It was the first win against an ACC team for Liberty, who were previously 0-8. Backup quarterback Rex Culpepper threw three touchdowns for the ‘Cuse but completed under 50 percent of his pass attempts in the 38-21 loss. It was the final matchup in a three-game homestand for the Orange.
Sean Tucker and Cooper Lutz were the sole contributors to the Syracuse rushing game. Tucker continued his impressive freshman year performance with 111 net yards, just one yard shy of his career-high. The Maryland native leads the team by a longshot with 299 rushing yards on the season. The next closest is Jawhar Jordan, who is currently injured, with 72.
But Tucker’s efforts weren’t near enough to make up for the ownage that was Liberty’s, Shedro Louis. The running back ran for 172 yards on just 10 carries. His two touchdowns were both runs of over 50 yards. “You can’t win the football game if you can’t stop people from rushing the football,” Syracuse head coach Dino Babers said.
All Syracuse’s touchdowns came through the air, despite Culpepper completing just 19 of 40 pass attempts. He connected with Taj Harris on SU’s second possession of the game for an early 7-0 lead. Aaron Hackett grabbed a 12-yard pass in the second to tie the game at 14, and Anthony Queeley picked up his first score of the season in the 4th.
“It’s been a long time coming. I’m a very hard worker, and I’ve been working for many years now,” Queeley said about his touchdown.
Syracuse did continue to improve its turnover margin with two fumble recoveries. The Orange came into the game leading the FBS with 14 takeaways. It’s the only metric in which Cuse has an advantage over upcoming opponents No. 1 Clemson. The Tigers (5-0, 5-0 Atlantic Coast) wiped out Georgia Tech (2-3, 2-2) 73-7 on Saturday. Trevor Lawrence is widely considered to be the best quarterback in the nation and the projected No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft. He’s averaging 308 passing yards per game. Meanwhile, Culpepper has only 324 yards on the season.
The Orange are 46.5-point underdogs heading into this Saturday’s game. It’s the largest spread in Syracuse football history, partially due to the number of injuries and opt-outs on the Orange roster. Starting quarterback Tommy DeVito suffered a knee injury in the game against Duke. His status for the remainder of the season has yet to be announced. Star safety Andre Cisco was injured during warmups before the win over Georgia Tech and has since opted out for the season. Fellow defenseman Eric Coley and Trell Richards are also injured. An inexperienced, mostly freshman roster looks to pull off the biggest upset of the season on Saturday at noon.
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