Syracuse Falls to Pitt, Looks for Rebound Against Georgia Tech
By Jenna Fink
For the second straight week, Syracuse (0-2, 0-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) played a top-25 opponent. Also for the second straight week, the Orange offense struggled immensely.
SU fell to No. 25 Pittsburgh (2-0, 1-0 ACC) 21-10 in the Steel City. Many offensive problems carried over from week one. Quarterback Tommy DeVito was sacked seven times and the offense averaged one yard a carry on the ground. There was one major difference. Syracuse scored a touchdown against the Panthers. There’s a catch though: it didn’t come from the starting quarterback.
DeVito left the game with a minor injury in the second quarter. So backup quarterback Rex Culpepper took over. Two plays later, he found Taj Harris for a 69 yard touchdown pass. Perhaps the best moment of the game, as Culpepper threw his first ever touchdown in a game.
“Obviously it was something that we needed,” Babers said. “It was a big load off everybody’s shoulders. Wish we could’ve gotten a couple of more, but it wasn’t meant to be.”
The touchdown counted for 40 percent of SU’s total offensive production. The offense only tallied 171 yards on the day.
“We need to take a long hard look at what we do in the red zone,” Babers said. “Whether it’s fast, slow or personnel and make sure we’re putting our best foot forward when we get opportunities from the defense.”
On the bright side, the defense was stellar once again. Especially sophomore Mikel Jones. He grabbed his second interception of the season and picked up a fumble recovery. He’s one of the many young guys stepping up on defense. The group kept Syracuse in the game, but the offense just couldn’t capitalize.
Syracuse’s eyes turn to Georgia Tech. There’s a lot of excitement surrounding this one. It’s the first game under the newly renovated Dome roof (although Coach Babers still isn’t excited about the air conditioning).
The Orange don’t have a lot of experience against Georgia Tech. Syracuse has only played the Yellow Jackets once since joining the ACC and three times total. That was a 56-0 blowout down in Atlanta back in 2013. This is Georgia Tech’s first trip up to Syracuse.
It’s a pretty even matchup between the two. The Yellow Jacket offense features a slew of young talent. True freshman Jeff Sims leads the offense at quarterback. The dual threat QB is 41-for-70 and has thrown for 521 yards and two touchdowns. He’s also tallied 146 yards on the ground. However, Sims has thrown four picks in two weeks. Syracuse’s defense has played extremely well in its first two games and has a chance to take advantage of Georgia Tech’s inexperience. Perhaps a couple of defensive touchdowns from SU.
Sims is joined by true freshman Jahmyr Gibbs at running back. He exploded with 219 all purpose yards last week against UCF, including a 75 yard kickoff return. Gibbs and Sims earned ACC rookie of the week in back to back weeks.
Kickoff is at 12 pm in the newly renovated Dome. Follow along @CitrusTVSports for updates all game long.
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