Revitalized Maryland offense rolls over Syracuse

Published on September 24, 2019

Story by: Brady Williams 

Photos by: Aaron Kassman

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — The No. 21 Syracuse Orange are suddenly underdogs again, losing on the road to the University of Maryland Terrapins 63-20. Coming off their best season in recent memory, the Orange (1-1) entered this season ready to impress the NCAA. Instead, the Terps throttled ‘Cuse from the very first snap.

The Orange overwhelmed

Maryland scored 21 points in a first quarter dominated by Maryland’s blitzkrieg offense. Following a quick three-and-out on Syracuse’s opening drive, Maryland’s junior transfer quarterback Josh Jackson threw for 63 yards in a commanding march downfield that ended in a touchdown for tight end Tyler Mabry.

The drive set the tone for most of the game. The Orange’s defensive line provided a decent push throughout the game, but the Terrapins relied on quick passes, play action, and a vast array of weapons to neutralize the rush.

In addition to their struggle to keep up with Maryland’s versatile offense, Syracuse simply failed to execute in several areas. On Syracuse’s second drive, the offensive line began to collapse, forcing quarterback Tommy DeVito to rely on his legs. As he took off on the fourth play of the drive, Keandre Jones forced DeVito to fumble, resulting in a turnover on the Syracuse 32-yard line.

The turnover was Maryland’s 14th straight game with a forced turnover — the fifth-longest streak in the NCAA — right behind SU with 15.

Jackson continued to spread the ball around with ease as the Syracuse secondary struggled to cover Terp receivers. When throwing didn’t work, the Terps handed the ball off and found great success on the ground, with rushing touchdowns from Anthony McFarland Jr. and Javon Leake in the first quarter.

Syracuse managed to score one touchdown doing what they do best. DeVito showed on one drive that he can perform well when he stands tall in the pocket and delivers quick strikes. With 3 passes for 71 yards, he managed to net Trishton Jackson his first of two touchdowns on the day.

‘Cuse crumbles

The second quarter highlighted Syracuse’s inability to execute on what few opportunities they had. Maryland’s first drive was put to a halt thanks to the Orange’s stellar defensive front. Their pressure forced two incomplete passes, which were followed by a great sack from redshirt sophomore Curtis Harper.

After the punt, failed blocks forced DeVito to leave the pocket and throw on the run. Maryland safety Jordan Mosley intercepted the wild pass attempt. Maryland responded with a 20-yard rushing touchdown through an enormous hole in the defense by McFarland.

Tempo is everything with Syracuse’s offensive style, and they showed flashes of that again with a 39-yard pass to Jackson and a 15-yard touchdown reception by Sean Riley. Even after that, the Orange failed to follow through on their successes as Andre Szmyt missed the first extra point of his career.

Syracuse let the clock run out, ending the half with a score of 42-13.

Defense dominates 3rd quarter

Maryland opened the second half with a 64-yard rushing touchdown by Javon Leake. Despite the early slip, the ‘Cuse defense that saved the Liberty game returned to strong play in the 3rd.

DeVito again connected with Jackson for a 52-yard touchdown reception. Unfortunately for the Orange, Maryland’s defense also showed up for the second half, and the touchdown was Syracuse’s last.

On Maryland’s answering drive, Andre Cisco intercepted his second pass of the year. The two teams held each other for another set of drives, giving Syracuse the ball.

Two more for the Terps

The Orange’s first drive of the final quarter ended on another failed fourth-down conversion with three yards to go. Maryland took the ball back and began working to run the clock out.

The Terrapins handed the ball off to Tayon Fleet-Davis for seven consecutive plays. On those plays, he ran for 58 yards and a touchdown. ‘Cuse failed another fourth-down conversion, allowing Maryland running back Jake Funk 92 yards and a touchdown on three plays.

The Orange substituted the second team for a final failed drive. With 63 points to Syracuse’s 20, Maryland took a knee.

Family focus moving forward

Maryland dominated today. With 650 total yards of offense, 296 yards passing to eight different receivers 2 or more catches and 354 rushing yards, the Terrapins mounted an attack that the Orange could neither anticipate nor match pace with.

The loss was nothing if not a culture shock. In his post-game press conference, Dino Babers conceded that the outcome was certainly a piece of “humble pie.” He suggested many of his team’s struggles were a result of poor game film for Maryland due to their 79-0 blowout against Howard.

Babers said his focus is on the team as a family, and how they can improve and prepare to face Clemson next in the Carrier Dome.

Currently No. 1 in the country, Clemson arrives in Syracuse on Sept. 14 for a highly anticipated match between the ACC foes.