My Take

sutomcat

Former Iggy Winner. I used to be somebody special
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Haven’t read any posts or stories on the game yet. Too sad. But I thought I would jot down some thoughts.

Heart breaking loss. Sad for all the players and coaches, but especially Rex. That game could have really changed the way his Syracuse career will be perceived by Syracuse fans. Thought he played with a lot of heart and toughness and got us within 5 yards of what could have been an epic win.

But this is 2020, and in 2020, there are few, if any, happy endings. Such is live in a pandemic.

I think the defense deserves a lot of credit for playing well and keeping us in the game. They even found a way to make some key stops down the stretch when they had been on the field for most of the game (again). Was it a great performance? No. But did a reasonably good job against a pretty good offense.

The defense appears to be slowly getting better. We are finally at the point where we are doing a reasonably decent job stopping the run. That seemed impossible for a long while. We actually got consistent pressure on Hockman and got a lot of sacks, and even more pressure driven incomplete passes.

We still wilted some down the stretch but it wasn’t a case of NC State imposing their will on us. It seeemed to me most of the damage they did was on long passes, something we have rarely given up until today. I think Garrett and Iffy both got beat deep for TDs...pretty sure it was the first time that happened all year for both. Though overall though that their coverage wasn’t bad. Hockman made a couple of terrific throws. Mark Reich criticized SU for playing man coverage so much in the 4th quarter, and maybe it was a mistake.

NC State had a group of big, very physical WRs (who appeared to commit offensive pass interference a couple of times). They and their big TE got open a lot, especially on 3rd and long plays, when the SU defense again was consistently at its worse. Not sure why we have been so bad on 3rd and long but I hope we figure it out and get better at it next year.

Thought Carter had his best game so far. He was all over the field making tackles and playing like a man possessed. Thought Iffy made a couple Seems to me like Kpogba makes a big play every series he gets reps in. Wish he played more. Thompson did not follow up his great performance last game with another one. I think he got hurt again and is playing at less than 100%.

I didn’t see Richards play. Think he is hurt. Cantin-Arcu continues to miss assignments and find himself out of position, but he has the size and athletic ability to eventually be a good one. Wax is really struggling out there. Mikel Jones makes a bunch of nice plays and seems to get a little better every game.

Iffy lost a few battles but won his share too. Had two huge plays to stop drives. He is getting better at run support. Really a complete player. Garrett didn’t get as many tackles as he has been getting, but I think a big part of that is better play by our safeties and linebackers. Kingsley and Linton made some plays. So did Caleb and Roscoe. Williams and Harper did a good job inside. Thought Hanna was okay, got beat deep once. Greenwood made a nice play breaking up a pass but didn’t get into a lot of tackles.

Special teams were overall good. Props to Pena for the great return. He has the speed you want. It would be nice find a way to get him the ball in space a few times every game. Nykeim is one of the most gifted punt returners (KOs too) we have ever had, and we have had a lot of good ones. Great acceleration when he sees a seam.

We take Szymt for granted but he was money again. Nice to have such a solid place kicker.

Thought Cooney had another fine game. Happy he is being rewarded for sticking with the program for 4 years, bidding his time. Even drew a routing the kicker penalty.

He also did a great job booming his KOs into the end zone. Except for one, which unfortunately was returned to near midfield, helping to set up the Wolfpack for a big TD drive. But overall, another excellent game.

That leaves the offense. First, props to Rex. He did a fine job managing the offense, and up to the end of the game, made a ton of good decisions. Threw a lot of passes but I don’t think he was close to getting one picked off. Nice discipline. He had some bad throws to be sure but also made a number of terrific ones. That long one to Taj where Taj had 2 steps led him perfectly and if Taj had caught it, it was probably a TD and the game might well have ended with a Syracuse victory.

Taj is such an interesting player. I am not sure I have ever seen him drop a ball. Unless he was open and it was for a TD. In that case, he has dropped an alarming number of them. Quite unfortunate...if he found a way to hold on even half of those, his legacy at Syracuse would be so much more glorious.

That drop was the only bad play I saw Taj make all game. For this team to be successful, Taj has to be a leader. He has to be the go to guy, he has to make plays, get open, get YAC and be clutch. He was all that today, and put together one of the finest performances I have ever seen from a Syracuse WR. He put a great effort out there on every play and I think he lifted the whole team with his play. So props to him for that.

NC State started the game playing a soft zone and let Rex make passes underneath the zone to the flat over and over. I think they were worried about getting deep. They didn’t tighten up their coverage until sometime in the second half. When they did, props to Gilbert for going long. Harris and Johnson both got open for long passes (Taj twice).

Very disappointed in our total inability to run the football. We tried to run up the middle repeatedly and failed repeatedly. I think the issues are with our interior OL. Our OGs and C just do not open holes reliably and got manhandled by a big and good NC State DL today. It looked like Dakota Davis made his first start and played a lot in the first half, but maybe got gassed and missed a lot of series in the second half. Elmore was moved to FB, where he played a lot, and Tisdale and Ilaoa also played a lot at OG. I don’t think any of them played very well. Thought Bergeron and Servais had relatively good games.

Wish we tried more passes to our RB to get them the ball in space. Lutz has shown he can make that play on the pass over the middle and I would like to see Tucker get a chance there was well. Queeley had a decent game and almost made a great catch on a deflected ball in the back of the end zone. So close. Sigh.

Alford again was given a chance and again screwed it up. He might become a great player some day (I think he will be a fine player for us). But he is not ready now. It is a shame Hendrix got hurt and will miss the rest of the season. He was developing nicely. On the positive side, Courtney made a couple of nice plays and might be emerging as a player late in the season. Hope to see more of him against ND.

What is going on with these ACC refs? Am I a hopeless homer who can’t watch games objectively? It seems like everything close play is called to hurt Syracuse. The replay rule saved SU from a couple of major awful calls, but that ‘late hit’ on Josh was so lame (and was uncalled when Rex was hit with similar timing later in the game). They can’t even get illegal procedure calls right. Even Dino is getting frustrated at the constant botched calls. Don’t get me wrong. SU is a very undisciplined team and they definitely make their share of stupid penalties. But we don’t need the refs to add to that with made up ones as well.

As I watch this ACC season unfold, I am struck by how fine the line is between winning and losing. For all the losses we have seen, this team is not so far from getting some wins. You see teams like Syracuse go from 4-8 to 10-3 from one season to another (and 10-3 to 5-7 the next year). NC State keeps going up and down and now up again. It is very possible for a team that goes 1-10 to go to say 7-5 from one season to the next and that knowledge should give us all hope.

So I remain hopeful despite all the adversity and losing. I believe we can and will be good next year. I hope every Syracuse fan does as well.
 

007

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Haven’t read any posts or stories on the game yet. Too sad. But I thought I would jot down some thoughts.

Heart breaking loss. Sad for all the players and coaches, but especially Rex. That game could have really changed the way his Syracuse career will be perceived by Syracuse fans. Thought he played with a lot of heart and toughness and got us within 5 yards of what could have been an epic win.

But this is 2020, and in 2020, there are few, if any, happy endings. Such is live in a pandemic.

I think the defense deserves a lot of credit for playing well and keeping us in the game. They even found a way to make some key stops down the stretch when they had been on the field for most of the game (again). Was it a great performance? No. But did a reasonably good job against a pretty good offense.

The defense appears to be slowly getting better. We are finally at the point where we are doing a reasonably decent job stopping the run. That seemed impossible for a long while. We actually got consistent pressure on Hockman and got a lot of sacks, and even more pressure driven incomplete passes.

We still wilted some down the stretch but it wasn’t a case of NC State imposing their will on us. It seeemed to me most of the damage they did was on long passes, something we have rarely given up until today. I think Garrett and Iffy both got beat deep for TDs...pretty sure it was the first time that happened all year for both. Though overall though that their coverage wasn’t bad. Hockman made a couple of terrific throws. Mark Reich criticized SU for playing man coverage so much in the 4th quarter, and maybe it was a mistake.

NC State had a group of big, very physical WRs (who appeared to commit offensive pass interference a couple of times). They and their big TE got open a lot, especially on 3rd and long plays, when the SU defense again was consistently at its worse. Not sure why we have been so bad on 3rd and long but I hope we figure it out and get better at it next year.

Thought Carter had his best game so far. He was all over the field making tackles and playing like a man possessed. Thought Iffy made a couple Seems to me like Kpogba makes a big play every series he gets reps in. Wish he played more. Thompson did not follow up his great performance last game with another one. I think he got hurt again and is playing at less than 100%.

I didn’t see Richards play. Think he is hurt. Cantin-Arcu continues to miss assignments and find himself out of position, but he has the size and athletic ability to eventually be a good one. Wax is really struggling out there. Mikel Jones makes a bunch of nice plays and seems to get a little better every game.

Iffy lost a few battles but won his share too. Had two huge plays to stop drives. He is getting better at run support. Really a complete player. Garrett didn’t get as many tackles as he has been getting, but I think a big part of that is better play by our safeties and linebackers. Kingsley and Linton made some plays. So did Caleb and Roscoe. Williams and Harper did a good job inside. Thought Hanna was okay, got beat deep once. Greenwood made a nice play breaking up a pass but didn’t get into a lot of tackles.

Special teams were overall good. Props to Pena for the great return. He has the speed you want. It would be nice find a way to get him the ball in space a few times every game. Nykeim is one of the most gifted punt returners (KOs too) we have ever had, and we have had a lot of good ones. Great acceleration when he sees a seam.

We take Szymt for granted but he was money again. Nice to have such a solid place kicker.

Thought Cooney had another fine game. Happy he is being rewarded for sticking with the program for 4 years, bidding his time. Even drew a routing the kicker penalty.

He also did a great job booming his KOs into the end zone. Except for one, which unfortunately was returned to near midfield, helping to set up the Wolfpack for a big TD drive. But overall, another excellent game.

That leaves the offense. First, props to Rex. He did a fine job managing the offense, and up to the end of the game, made a ton of good decisions. Threw a lot of passes but I don’t think he was close to getting one picked off. Nice discipline. He had some bad throws to be sure but also made a number of terrific ones. That long one to Taj where Taj had 2 steps led him perfectly and if Taj had caught it, it was probably a TD and the game might well have ended with a Syracuse victory.

Taj is such an interesting player. I am not sure I have ever seen him drop a ball. Unless he was open and it was for a TD. In that case, he has dropped an alarming number of them. Quite unfortunate...if he found a way to hold on even half of those, his legacy at Syracuse would be so much more glorious.

That drop was the only bad play I saw Taj make all game. For this team to be successful, Taj has to be a leader. He has to be the go to guy, he has to make plays, get open, get YAC and be clutch. He was all that today, and put together one of the finest performances I have ever seen from a Syracuse WR. He put a great effort out there on every play and I think he lifted the whole team with his play. So props to him for that.

NC State started the game playing a soft zone and let Rex make passes underneath the zone to the flat over and over. I think they were worried about getting deep. They didn’t tighten up their coverage until sometime in the second half. When they did, props to Gilbert for going long. Harris and Johnson both got open for long passes (Taj twice).

Very disappointed in our total inability to run the football. We tried to run up the middle repeatedly and failed repeatedly. I think the issues are with our interior OL. Our OGs and C just do not open holes reliably and got manhandled by a big and good NC State DL today. It looked like Dakota Davis made his first start and played a lot in the first half, but maybe got gassed and missed a lot of series in the second half. Elmore was moved to FB, where he played a lot, and Tisdale and Ilaoa also played a lot at OG. I don’t think any of them played very well. Thought Bergeron and Servais had relatively good games.

Wish we tried more passes to our RB to get them the ball in space. Lutz has shown he can make that play on the pass over the middle and I would like to see Tucker get a chance there was well. Queeley had a decent game and almost made a great catch on a deflected ball in the back of the end zone. So close. Sigh.

Alford again was given a chance and again screwed it up. He might become a great player some day (I think he will be a fine player for us). But he is not ready now. It is a shame Hendrix got hurt and will miss the rest of the season. He was developing nicely. On the positive side, Courtney made a couple of nice plays and might be emerging as a player late in the season. Hope to see more of him against ND.

What is going on with these ACC refs? Am I a hopeless homer who can’t watch games objectively? It seems like everything close play is called to hurt Syracuse. The replay rule saved SU from a couple of major awful calls, but that ‘late hit’ on Josh was so lame (and was uncalled when Rex was hit with similar timing later in the game). They can’t even get illegal procedure calls right. Even Dino is getting frustrated at the constant botched calls. Don’t get me wrong. SU is a very undisciplined team and they definitely make their share of stupid penalties. But we don’t need the refs to add to that with made up ones as well.

As I watch this ACC season unfold, I am struck by how fine the line is between winning and losing. For all the losses we have seen, this team is not so far from getting some wins. You see teams like Syracuse go from 4-8 to 10-3 from one season to another (and 10-3 to 5-7 the next year). NC State keeps going up and down and now up again. It is very possible for a team that goes 1-10 to go to say 7-5 from one season to the next and that knowledge should give us all hope.

So I remain hopeful despite all the adversity and losing. I believe we can and will be good next year. I hope every Syracuse fan does as well.
Forever the voice of reason. I always look forward to your takes, Tom.

Physically, Kpoga looks like the best LB on the team. He is a finisher as a tackler. We need more of that. I wonder if the mental part keeps him from getting more reps? I hope he figures it out.

Your 2nd to the last sentence requires belief without evidence. I think DB needs to consider a coaching shake up on offense to warrant that kind of faith.
It will be an interesting off season.
 

PhatOrange

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I’ll have to rewatch, I thought Wax played pretty well.

I think Ritch is right to some extent in that I think we should mix it up a bit. Maybe show pressure and drop back and not in obvious passing downs.

what’s the thought on playing man vs zone inside the 10 or 15? Man cost us once when Cole played to the inside and the pattern went out. Almost cost us agin but greenwood made a good break and play on the ball as you mentioned.
 

syrBossHogg

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I’ll have to rewatch, I thought Wax played pretty well.

I think Ritch is right to some extent in that I think we should mix it up a bit. Maybe show pressure and drop back and not in obvious passing downs.

what’s the thought on playing man vs zone inside the 10 or 15? Man cost us once when Cole played to the inside and the pattern went out. Almost cost us agin but greenwood made a good break and play on the ball as you mentioned.

Wax was credited with 2.5 sacks according to the ESPN box score. I thought he made some plays but was still inconsistent, which kinda sums up his season.
 

sdhall01

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Wax was credited with 2.5 sacks according to the ESPN box score. I thought he made some plays but was still inconsistent, which kinda sums up his season.

that’s decent for a true freshman
 

SUskibum

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i can think of 2 drops that Taj had over the middle, with both immediately leading to picks. One was last game
 

JeremyCuse

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i can think of 2 drops that Taj had over the middle, with both immediately leading to picks. One was last game

Taj is a bit of an enigma but how about we actually get him some competent help. Besides Nykiem popping a long one every 3rd game where the hell are the rest of the receivers??
 

NineOneSeven

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Taj is a bit of an enigma but how about we actually get him some competent help. Besides Nykiem popping a long one every 3rd game where the hell are the rest of the receivers??
Special teams apparently.
 

PhatOrange

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Taj is a bit of an enigma but how about we actually get him some competent help. Besides Nykiem popping a long one every 3rd game where the hell are the rest of the receivers??

we don’t really throw to anyone else and certainly not in positions to make plays. Queeley was open deep today and Rex overshot him. That was about it. Everything else is a dink and dunk.
 

Dcuse

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I’ll have to rewatch, I thought Wax played pretty well.

I think Ritch is right to some extent in that I think we should mix it up a bit. Maybe show pressure and drop back and not in obvious passing downs.

what’s the thought on playing man vs zone inside the 10 or 15? Man cost us once when Cole played to the inside and the pattern went out. Almost cost us agin but greenwood made a good break and play on the ball as you mentioned.
I was scratching my head on that one too. I thought Wax made a number of impact plays besides the safety. He probably made a few mistakes too but I really like him going forward.
 

GoSU96

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I was scratching my head on that one too. I thought Wax made a number of impact plays besides the safety. He probably made a few mistakes too but I really like him going forward.

he scored two points
 

PatMark

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Great recap as always Tom. One thing I haven’t seen mentioned off your point about the OL play.

Why in the world would we take Elmore out of his guard spot? He has consistently been one of our top performing OL this year. Nobody expected to say that at the beginning of the year. But it’s the truth. Just another head scratching move for me.
 

ElwoodJBlues

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Taj is such an interesting player. I am not sure I have ever seen him drop a ball. Unless he was open and it was for a TD. In that case, he has dropped an alarming number of them. Quite unfortunate...if he found a way to hold on even half of those, his legacy at Syracuse would be so much more glorious.

That drop was the only bad play I saw Taj make all game. For this team to be successful, Taj has to be a leader. He has to be the go to guy, he has to make plays, get open, get YAC and be clutch. He was all that today, and put together one of the finest performances I have ever seen from a Syracuse WR. He put a great effort out there on every play and I think he lifted the whole team with his play. So props to him for that.
I think you have mentioned it before, as has Tommy’s father, but it seems like Taj is WR1 out of default due to no spring ball and limited practices over the summer. Queeley looks the part of WR1 in an Alec Lemon-type of role. He seemingly catches everything he can get his hands on, but also can use his body to establish position a little better than Taj.

I thought running Taj in the slot was really smart for stretches. With the types of WRs Dino recruits, I think it’s a really smart idea to put someone with Taj’s speed/height in the slot. By putting a speedster on the outside and Taj on the inside, you’re going to either force the defense to put an LB in coverage on a fast WR, or make a safety come up to the line and open up plays over the top.

Would love a big WR like Alford or Hendrix to emerge in the off-season to help bring more physicality to the passing game, but if not, why are we not splitting Benson out to the boundary on press coverage? Feels like a missed opportunity, especially if Taj is in the slot, to have a physical mismatch on the outside against a corner.
 

syrBossHogg

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I said after the Clemson game I would've loved to see Taj play more out of the slot where he would face smaller DBs and the offense could use Queeley/Hendrix on the outside where they have the size to win more contested catches.
 

OmahaCuse

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Think Wax and our LB is outstanding especially for being so young and thrown into the mix. We need a big 320lb run stuffer in the middle next year. Like our team speed on defense for the future.
 

upperdeck

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really need a #1 WR with size, the NC st dudes dont do much but they play big on the outside and got scores on plays that were pretty well covered.

for all the struggles the TD drops alone would make 2-3 more games interesting.. Dropped 2 yesterday that could have changed the game and NC st catches 2 contested ones.. we have dropped close to 10 by now
 

PhatOrange

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I said after the Clemson game I would've loved to see Taj play more out of the slot where he would face smaller DBs and the offense could use Queeley/Hendrix on the outside where they have the size to win more contested catches.

looks like they’re going to make Alford that guy. Hendrix can’t stay healthy. Should be a heck of a spring competition.

my guess on next years starters are Queeley and Alford on the outside with Taj in the slot. Courtney Jackson, JaVonte Williams and the frosh from Virginia all vying for time.

Nykiem coming back would obviously be in there.
 

syrBossHogg

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looks like they’re going to make Alford that guy. Hendrix can’t stay healthy. Should be a heck of a spring competition.

my guess on next years starters are Queeley and Alford on the outside with Taj in the slot. Courtney Jackson, JaVonte Williams and the frosh from Virginia all vying for time.

Nykiem coming back would obviously be in there.

Yeah I'm really pulling for Hendrix but he's got an uphill climb now. Nykiem back would give the offense the deep ball threat that it needs.
 

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