Syracuse Finds Success Behind the Legs of Sean Tucker in Season Opener
Syracuse began its 2021 season with something it did only once last year — winning a game. The Orange bested Ohio 29-9 in their season opener Saturday night. Despite a low scoring affair, and one that featured just 18 first half points, SU proved it could win games through the run game.
Sean Tucker ran for 181 yards off of 25 carries and found the end zone once en route to victory. In the third quarter, he surpassed his career high in rushing yards, tacking on nearly 50 more on the ground before the end of the night. The Bobcats couldn’t stop Tucker, who averaged 7.2 yards per rushing attempt. Last season, he got more than 20 rushes three times. His most carries came against Georgia Tech, SU’s last win.
One of the few returning pieces with success in 2020 was Tucker. The second-year player began last season buried in the depth chart. However, following a round of opt-outs and injuries to the running back room, the Maryland native found himself as the starter just four games into the season. He did all that despite a constantly evolving cast of people at quarterback and an offensive line that Pro Football Focus ranked close to last place in college football.
Now with Dino Babers set on a healthy Tommy DeVito manning the Syracuse offense, a new offensive line coach and a more talented front five, Tucker shined. His longest run — a 47-yard explosion out to the right side of the field — came in the no-huddle offense. It was the type of play that Babers promised would lead the SU offense when he came over from Bowling Green.
After the game, Tucker credited his offensive line, saying they opened up a lot of holes for him to create space and find opportunities like the one he found in the third quarter. With a few minutes remaining in the third quarter, Syracuse led by nine points. On the opening play of the drive, Tucker shimmied through defenders on his way to a 28-yard gain. Just under 30 seconds later, Tucker cut around the shifting line and found his way to the end zone for his first touchdown of the season.
DeVito also showed that he could use his legs as a threat. Despite throwing just 92 yards Saturday night, the redshirt junior also ran for a touchdown, running for 49 yards. Tucker noted that the high tempo of the Syracuse offense tired out Ohio, something Syracuse couldn’t utilize last year in their 1-10 campaign.
Syracuse takes on Rutgers next Saturday, Sept. 11. You can listen to it starting at 1:30 p.m. on your original home of the Orange, WAER and waer.org.