The Syracuse Football team’s Halloween is off to a spooky start. SU was trampled 38-14 in the Dome by Wake Forest. What’s perhaps even scarier is that the Orange are now 1-6 on the season and haven’t won a game in over a month.
Prior to kickoff, Syracuse Athletics reported that both Sean Tucker and Trill Williams would not be suiting up for the Cuse. This is the type of depletion has been the theme of the 2020 season for Syracuse. Unfortunately, this was evident down the stretch for SU. The Demon Deacons accumulated over 400 yards and the Orange did not force a turnover. On the offensive side of the ball, the Cuse rushed for under 100 yards.
The rushing attack wasn’t all bad despite the mediocre final stat line. Redshirt sophomore Cooper Lutz did impress, especially because the back was sixth on the depth chart for the position group in the preseason. On the ground, Lutz accounted for 81 yards, a career-high. The former wide receiver paired that performance with four receptions and 25 yards. The offense may have missed Tucker, but Lutz picked up the slack.
Other than that standout performance, the attack stalled for the majority of the game. Wake Forest kept the Syracuse offense at bay, only allowing a touchdown in the second quarter and a garbage time score late in the fourth. Most of the responsibility for the Orange’s poor play on offense must be put on Rex Culpepper’s shoulders. In the last two contests, the redshirt senior has been liable for all seven of the turnovers. Saturday against Wake Forest, Culpepper threw two interceptions, one of which was taken to the house for a pick six. The play of the signal caller had many fans asking how short the leash for Culpepper would be. The final turnover of the game was where Head Coach Dino Babers drew the line. True freshmen JaCobian Morgan came in as the replacement and was efficient. In his second piece of action, the three-star recruit threw a perfect 7 for 7 for 54 yards and a touchdown. That
performance gives the Orange an option in the future if needed.
The other sideline showcased a more proficient offense. Sam Hartman and the attack averaged over 400 yards per game prior to this contest and that continued on Saturday afternoon. Overshadowing Cooper Lutz was Demon Deacon Kenneth Walker III. The sophomore rushed almost 80 yards and a hat trick. This was the third time this season the back has notched three scores on the ground. Christian Beal-Smith rounded out the rush attack with 87 rushing yards. The two-head monster in the backfield wore down the Syracuse defense.
Coming into this game, the unit led the nation with 17 turnovers gained. Following forcing the Trevor Lawrence pick six, the Orange did not repeat the same success against the Demon Deacons. The absence of Trill Williams was visible here. If you remember, last season Williams stripped the ball from the Wake rusher and returned it for a touchdown. The energy-inducing plays were missing in Saturday’s the deflating loss.