Syracuse Football Thrashes Duke 49-6 in a Must-Win Game
By Ally Heath
CitrusTV Football Reporter
DURHAM, N.C. – When Syracuse (4-6, 1-5 Atlantic Coast) stepped on the field Saturday night, it was clear something was different. Two weeks off proved to be all the difference for the Orange as they traveled South and trounced Duke (4-6, 2-4 Atlantic Coast) 49-6 on Saturday.
Syracuse returned from its break with a new defensive coordinator, a new-look offensive line, and a renewed sense of urgency. Defensive end Kendall Coleman said the bye was crucial in shifting the team’s attitude to have all the pieces come together.
“We had two weeks, two weeks to figure out who we wanted to be and how we wanted to end the season,” Coleman said. “I think tonight was more of a statement that was made for ourselves as a look in the mirror of, we’re more than capable of being who we want to be and we just gotta go out and act on it.”
The defense, which had been struggling, was the showstopper and the pace-setter for the Orange, racking up an impressive four sacks, two interceptions, a fumble recovery and a touchdown.
Some of this was in part thanks to new interim Defensive Coordinator Steve Stanard, who took over when Babers fired Brian Ward after a loss to Boston College that saw over 500 yards of offense allowed. Defensive End Kendall Coleman said Stanard’s insistence on simply pushing yourself, regardless of who you are or the score, helped piece together the puzzle.
“We eliminated some of the complexities and really let the guys play,” Head Coach Dino Babers said. “Instead of trying to be perfect, take some of that energy, that enthusiasm, just cover some things instead of trying to be exactly right.”
The biggest thing for the team, however, was the fact that it now finally has its first conference win of the season, and it snapped a four-game losing streak.
“It means a lot because we know that we control our own destiny still,” running back Moe Neal said. “Even though it’s been a rough year, not what we expected, but when you get knocked down, you gotta be able to get back up.”
Syracuse takes the field again on Saturday, November 23rd when they face Louisville (6-4, 4-3 Atlantic Coast) on the road.
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