Maryland hands No. 21 Syracuse 1st loss of season in 63-20 thrashing

first_img Published on September 7, 2019 at 3:29 pm Contact Eric: erblack@syr.edu | @esblack34 Facebook Twitter Google+ UPDATED: Sept. 9, 2019 at 12:47 a.m.COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Mikel Jones flexed his arms and balled his hands into fists. The freshman’s head and arms shook with anger. His teammates, more demoralized than mad, put their heads down and moved out of his way. They’d just given up another third-down conversion to Maryland, who, throughout the first half, showed no signs of slowing down from its 79-0 beating of Howard last week. Four plays later, wide receiver Carlos Carriere and the Terrapins were into the end zone. Senior Antwan Cordy, who had been drawn away from Carriere on the play, turned his palms up to the sky and looked down at his feet in disgust. The score made SU’s deficit 35-13.Last week, it was the Orange defense that bailed out the offense, shutting out Liberty and holding it to -4 rushing yards. On Saturday, No. 21 Syracuse’s (1-1) passing game finally found its footing, but its defense fell apart. The Terrapins (2-0) scored touchdowns on their first three possessions of the game and racked up nearly 400 yards of offense by halftime. A contest that most viewed as a sure-fire Syracuse victory prior to the season quickly turned into a rout, and ended in a 63-20 Maryland win.All game long, Syracuse’s linebackers and defensive backs took too many risks, often going for a takeaway instead of playing conservatively. In turn, the Terps were able to break off long gains. AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“Guys wanna try to force a turnover, get the ball, swing it,” SU linebacker Andrew Armstrong said. “That’s what we have to avoid because if you do your job, big plays will fall into your hands.”Jones’ frustration came after he missed a tackle on Maryland running back Anthony McFarland jr. , who ran for 75 yards and two touchdowns. Along with fellow linebackers Armstrong and senior Lakiem Williams, Jones had trouble bringing down the running back duo of McFarland and junior Javon Leake. The latter also ran for a pair of touchdowns and averaged 15.3 yards per carry en route to 107 yards.Other times, Syracuse players failed to even put themselves in a position to make a tackle. Safeties Andre Cisco and Evan Foster struggled with their angles all game, often biting on run-pass options (RPOs) or judging Maryland’s blocking schemes poorly.After Syracuse scored its first touchdown of the game on a 91-yard drive, its defense went out and allowed the Terps to do the same. A pivotal play came late in the drive when Maryland quarterback Josh Jackson got Foster to step in on an option. He pulled the ball back and completed a pass to the 2-yard line, and the Terps scored two plays later.“We just gotta stay sound in our job,” SU defensive end Kendall Coleman said. “I was just telling them, ‘Don’t go big play chasing. That’s when leaks happen.’”Aside from poor tackling and issues with risk-taking, Syracuse was surprised by many of the sets and personnel changes Maryland made throughout. The Terrapins threw SU different looks off of their base personnel that it wasn’t prepared for and adjusted as needed throughout the game. They also did a good job of negating Syracuse’s defensive line, which came into Saturday’s contest with a seemingly-significant advantage.The way the Terps chose to block some of their plays threw the Orange’s line off, Coleman said, and helped negate a positional group that racked up 5.5 sacks last week. Between the surprise in blocking schemes and Maryland’s decision to utilize RPOs and quick passes, Syracuse’s defensive line made little impact all day.“They gave us a few more looks that we had to adjust to, and that’s just really what it came down to,” Coleman said. “Being able to make adjustments on the fly, and they did a better job of that than we did this week.”Even when Syracuse thought it stopped the Terrapins, it didn’t. In one instance, Cisco crashed down on a pass to the sideline and attempted to bat the ball away. Thinking he did, Cisco celebrated and motioned as if the pass was incomplete. Behind him, the referee signaled a complete pass.A sixth touchdown of the first half put the Terrapins up 42-13 with just 56 seconds remaining. When Syracuse fans motioned for SU head coach Dino Babers to call a timeout before a play on the next drive, he just stared forward. The play was never run, and the timeout never called. The halftime buzzer was the only thing that prompted Babers to break out of his trance and throw off his headset.Syracuse has now shut out Liberty and allowed 63 points to unranked Maryland. Next week, No. 1 Clemson visits the Carrier Dome. Heading into the biggest game of SU’s season, its head coach isn’t quite sure what he has in his defense. “Obviously we’re not as good as the first game,” Babers said. “I would like to think we’re not as bad as the second game. That we’re somewhere in the middle…I really believe that (the defense is) gonna be the strength of our team, along with the kicking game. And we’re gonna need that early.”CORRECTION: In a previous version of this post, the headline said the football team lost to Maryland with  a score of 62-20. The Orange actually lost 63-20. The Daily Orange regrets this error. Commentslast_img

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