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Syracuse has to regroup fast; No. 1 Clemson coming to town

Maryland Terrapins linebacker Keandre Jones (4) forces Syracuse Orange quarterback Tommy DeVito (13) to fumble during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in College Park, Md. (AP Photo/Will Newton)

So much for a showdown of undefeated teams at the Carrier Dome next Saturday night. The Syracuse University football team looked more like the teams Orange fans were accustomed to prior to last season as they were blown out 63-20 by Maryland at College Park on Saturday.

No. 21 Syracuse should fall out of the Top 25 but they won’t have much time to feel sorry for themselves with No. 1 Clemson coming to town on Saturday night.

Now brace yourself for the carnage that is this week’s report card. This isn’t going to be pretty:

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FIVE ORANGES to wide receiver Trishton Jackson. You can argue that no one deserves a high mark when you’re routed by 43 points but Jackson’s effort deserves some praise. Jackson caught seven passes for 157 yards for a 22.4 average per catch and two of the Orange’s three touchdowns.

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FOUR ORANGES to quarterback Tommy DeVito. There’s a heck of a dropoff between Jackson’s performance and DeVito’s. Yes, he finished with 28 completions in 39 attempts for 330 yards and three touchdowns, but most of that came long after the game was decided, His two first half miscues doomed the Orange. His fumble on Syracuse’s second drive set the Terps up to make it 14-0. His interception in the second quarter led to a Maryland touchdown that made it 28-7 and put the Orange in a hole from which they couldn’t recover.

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THREE ORANGES to punter Sterling Hofrichter. Yes, a punter. While he only averaged 39.2 yards on five punts, three of them were downed inside the 20. You know it’s a bad game when the punter gets singled out.

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TWO ORANGES to Orange coach Dino Babers. It’s easy for Babers to say it’s his responsibility for his team not being ready as most coaches do after a bad loss but you wonder why his team again got off to a slow start for the second time this season. You can get away with it when you’re playing Liberty but on the road against a Maryland team that put up 79 points last week, the Orange should have been ready for this hot Terps team.

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ONE ORANGE to the Syracuse defense. And that’s being kind. The Orange defense laid a huge egg on Saturday. The numbers are putrid, Syracuse allowed 650 total yards, 354 on them on the ground, for a 7.9 yards per rush average. Maryland converted 11 of 15 third downs as it put up 21 points in each of the first two quarters.

NUMBER OF THE GAME: 2.4, the average yards per rush for Syracuse. Yes, the Orange were behind early and had to abandon the running game to try to come back but the Orange only had 29 yards on eight carries in the first quarter when they were still in it, down by a pair of touchdowns. Syracuse’s leading rusher was Moe Neal with 47 yards on 12 carries.

UP NEXT

Syracuse (1-1) hosts No. 1 Clemson (2-0) in a game that’s been on everyone’s calendar for months. The Tigers are coming off a 24-10 win over No. 12 Texas A&M, their 17th straight victory. The Orange pulled off one of the biggest upsets in program history when they beat then-No. 2 Clemson at the Carrier Dome in 2017 and played the eventual national champions tough down in South Carolina last year. Syracuse has to quickly forget this clunker against Maryland and get ready for a prime-time nationally-televised match-up which will truly tell us how good this team is.

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Sciria, The Citizen's assistant news editor, can be reached at chris.sciria@lee.net or on Twitter @csciria

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