The Daily Northwestern

Syracuse off to shaky start in season opener

John Paschall, Assistant Gameday Editor

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As Northwestern recovers from its West Coast trip, let’s take a look at how tonight’s opponent, Syracuse, fared against Penn State last week.

Syracuse offense

Senior quarterback Drew Allen transferred this year from Oklahoma to Syracuse, and he struggled in the season opener against Penn State. Allen threw two interceptions, both coming on third down and in the second half. He was also wildly inaccurate from his own 40-yard line toward the end zone, only completing four of 21 passes. In another concerning stat from the game, only three drives were longer than six plays. Two ended in punts, and the other in a field goal. The two drives that produced touchdowns were a combined three plays long. With one of the Orange’s deep threats at receiver out for the season, this passing attack may take some time to get going. Even though it produced the only two touchdowns of the game, Syracuse’s rushing attack also failed to create any big plays in the second half, posting only two carries of 10 yards or more.

Syracuse defense

It was a tale of two halves for the Orange defensive unit. Penn State wide receiver Allen Robinson was suspended for the first half, but when he made his debut after halftime, he exposed a shaky pass defense. Robinson posted seven receptions for 133 yards and a touchdown in only two quarters of playing time. Syracuse, however, rebounded by being extremely stout on third down, only allowing one Nittany Lions conversion on 16 attempts — and making the opponent one dimensional by giving up only 57 yards rushing.

Quick hits:

– Since Syracuse last defeated NU in 2009, the Wildcats have only lost to one non-conference opponent during the regular season (Army).

– Coach Pat Fitzgerald has started off 2-0 in every season except for his first year in 2006.

Twitter: @John_Paschall


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