The Orange is finishing up non-conference play against Liberty on Friday Night in the Dome. For Syracuse to win this game, it has to snap the groove Liberty's offense wants to get into. Allowing such a groove to persist will allow them freedom to experiment with the deep ball. With such a valuable player in Malik Willis, the Orange have to limit explosion plays and get him to turn the ball over. Read below for an in depth analysis on how the Orange emerge victorious.
Win the 3rd Down Battle
The Liberty offense wants to control the pace of the game. In other words, relying heavily on their possession receivers to get them in those 3rd and short situations. Time and time again the Flames slowly attack the perimeter of the field with quick outs and hitches. It is essential the Orange put the Flames out on offense and early. Securing tackles and not allowing any yards after the catch or yards after contact will be paramount in stopping the highly powered Liberty offense.
Make Malik Willis Turn The Ball Over
Through three games this season, Malik Willis has seven touchdowns and zero interceptions. The quarterback can be often seen patiently bouncing in the pocket.With the Orange defensive line and linebackers on a hot streak, expect names such as Cody Roscoe and Stefon Thompson to get after Willis. Putting pressure on the quarterback will force him to make decisions he doesn’t want to make. The Orange defense will work from the front to the backend on Friday night, expect lots of movement up front forcing either sacks or coverage sacks.
“Play Syracuse Football”
The phrase “playing Syracuse football” has been said time and time again this week. Last year's loss fell primarily on the fact that “we did not play Syracuse football,” Kingsley Johnathan said. The Friday night game is filled with emotions, as the team took the loss personally last year. For the Orange to win this game, they must fire on all cylinders. The unpredictable offense has to find a way to score points against competition. Scoring 62 points versus UAlbany can be a morale boost however it was weaker competition. The Orange establishing a rushing attack with Sean Tucker has to happen, however getting more players involved in the offense is of the utmost importance. Football is not like basketball where you could win off the contribution of one player. The Orange offense has to move the chains and has to score. Liberty's entire defense closes on the ball insanely fast and the Orange can't afford wasting offensive possessions. Before playing UAlbany the Orange averaged 18 points per game, now they average 32 points per game. This game will be a test for the very unpredictable Syracuse offense.