Steve Infanti: Keys to Victory for SU to defeat Boston College Saturday

Orange Nation

RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA – OCTOBER 10: Tommy DeVito #13 of the Syracuse Orange drops back to pass against the North Carolina State Wolfpack during their game at Carter Finley Stadium on October 10, 2019 in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) —

Dial In On Dillon

For once, the biggest key to a game for the Orange doesn’t have to do with the play of the offensive line.  The most important matchup in this game will come when Boston College has the ball.  About a month ago, the Eagles lost their starting quarterback Anthony Brown to a season-ending knee injury against Louisville. Since then, an already run-oriented team has relied even more on the legs of AJ Dillon. The junior tailback leads the ACC with 1,044 rushing yards. Last week, Dillon became BC’s all-time leading rusher.  He did it in his 31st career game breaking the old mark set by Andre Williams (who did it in 44 career games). Dillon is ranked fourth nationally right now averaging 130.5 rushing yards per game.  We’ve seen the SU defense struggle with quality tailbacks, including last week at Florida State as Cam Akers set a new career-high with four touchdowns on the ground.  Since the injury to Anthony Brown, quarterback Dennis Grosel is just 18-for-53 passing for a total of 267 yards in three games.  Syracuse won’t be able to stop AJ Dillon, but if the Orange can slow him down, BC will have trouble moving the ball and scoring points.

DeVito Must Deliver

Against Power 5 opponents this season, the Syracuse is offense is averaging 14.6 points per game.  It’s not a coincidence that SU is 0-5 in those games.  There are plenty of reasons for those offensive numbers, beginning with an inexperienced offensive line that has struggled week in and week out.  That has contributed to inconsistent play at the quarterback position.  Heading into this weekend, Tommy DeVito is averaging just shy of 225 passing yards per game and completing less than 64% of his attempts.  It’s been well-documented that he is the most sacked quarterback in the country.  Keep in mind though, the Boston College defense has only generated eight sacks all season.  The Eagles are ranked 126th in total yards allowed, giving up an average of 487 yards per game.   Opponents are converting about 46% of their third downs against BC and scoring 32 points per contest.  While the offensive line remains an issue for Syracuse, DeVito should be set up for more success than he has been in recent weeks.  He needs to overcome his unit’s limitations and rise to the challenge with a quality performance.  At home, against this opponent, with eight starts under his belt, it’s time for Tommy DeVito to take a step forward in his development.

Minimize Miscues

The self-inflicted wounds need to stop. Syracuse has racked up 78 penalties so far this season – that’s third-most in the country.  Only Central Michigan and Tulsa have been penalized more.  Last week in Tallahassee, SU was flagged 14 times for more than 100 yards.  That’s not what necessarily decided the game, but this team is simply not good enough at the moment to overcome that many mistakes.  In order to end this losing streak, it’ll be essential for the Orange to take care of the ball and cut down on the penalties.

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