Three-and-Out: SU’s Dome-opening loss to Rutgers

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Syracuse is now 1-1 after a 17-7 loss in their home opener against Rutgers. It is a tough pill to swallow for Orange fans, not doubt, but it shouldn’t force you to write off the rest of the season either. 

If I told you at the beginning of the season, Syracuse was going to be 1-1 and very well could have beaten Rutgers a week after the Scarlet Knights put up 61 points against Temple, you would have taken that in stride. 

The defense was phenomenal, but unfortunately there were plenty of questions in this week two loss. 

Let’s break them down. 

Babers wasn’t wrong punting the ball 

But that doesn’t mean he was right either. I get what Dino was doing. He told the media in the postgame presser, 4th and 10 is a whole different ballgame than 4 and medium or less. He’s correct in that respect. And let me ask you this… what part about the Syracuse offense gave you the confidence they would have completed that 4th and long? 

I’m waiting. 

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the frustration. The conservative nature Dino has exhibited his entire tenure is infuriating at times. Once again, the play calling was a bit bland this week, and with the exception of one drive, which resulted in Syracuse’s only touchdown, Orange continued to be the new “proceed with caution” instead of the “new fast.” 

I say all that to reiterate this: trusting his defense late wasn’t an incorrect move; it just didn’t payoff. Any other thought is just results-oriented thinking. 

Mental mistakes continue to plague SU 

Penalties have been an issue under Babers. Saturday, Dino received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, which he says is the first one of his career. 

Tack that on to a blocked punt, some fumbles, a missed field goal and dropped balls, and it is what my dad used to call “bad day at bad rock.” 

And those bad days have piled up. You can say, “This team is young or inexperienced,” but there comes a time when the head coach has to own up and do more than just vowing to be better. The days of shooting themselves in the foot needs to stop, because, as I said last week, this team is better than we originally thought. 

DeVito is the right choice at quarterback 

I realized the sample size isn’t excessively big. And I realized what I said in the tweet above. But right now, DeVito instills more confidence when behind center. I don’t believe his numbers are ever going to be eye-popping. Saturday, he managed to throw for just 149 yards (hey, it was better than last week) and one interception while running for 43 yards. The accuracy seems marginally better than the other options and his mobility is surprisingly good.  

Garrett Shrader didn’t do anything wrong in his three drives vs. Rutgers. And he, as well as Tommy, were victims to drops and penalties, but in my opinion, he isn’t there yet. DeVito gives the Orange its best shot at winning. Something they’re expected to do next week when they host Albany at noon. 

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