Syracuse offense can’t gain traction against North Carolina State front 7 in 33-25 loss

first_imgRALEIGH, N.C. — It didn’t matter who it was or where it came from. The North Carolina State front seven brought a stifling, all-in blitz Saturday afternoon that Syracuse wasn’t prepared for.In the string of plays that ended the third quarter, N.C. State senior Bradley Chubb rushed toward Eric Dungey. The All-ACC defensive end flattened Dungey after being credited for a QB hurry, leaving SU in a third-and-21 situation. The next play, defensive tackle B.J. Hill and linebacker Jerod Fernandez were all over SU’s junior quarterback, forcing Syracuse to punt. N.C. State capitalized on the quality field possession, marching down the field for five minutes to grab a 15-point lead in an eventual 33-25 win.“Their defensive front is one of the best we’ve gone against,” said Dungey, who threw for 385 yards and a touchdown.As the Wolfpack grinded out long drives and capitalized on SU penalties, the Syracuse offense couldn’t gain traction in its limited time on the field. In a 33-25 loss at Carter-Finley Stadium, SU tallied a season-low 59 rushing yards, 44 of which came from Dungey. The anemic run output is emblematic of both N.C. State’s (4-1, 2-0 Atlantic Coast) defensive line production and Syracuse’s (2-3, 0-1) inability to establish an attack on the ground. It was also representative of the diverse attack that sacked Dungey three times for 24 negative yards and six QB hurries. That front kept SU to only seven first-half points and fended off any attempt at a late comeback.“We knew that if we got on them early it would make it tough for them,” N.C. State wide receiver Stephen Louis said, “so we wanted to get them out of their comfort zone.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textChubb racked up two sacks for 20 yards, breaking around the end to get to Dungey for two QB hurries as well. In the fourth quarter, he took a jab step and followed it up with a few hard pounces to find room around the right edge and sack Dungey for a loss of nine. On the next play, Darian Roseboro batted away Dungey’s pass attempt.When asked this week how to block Chubb, SU head coach Dino Babers said: “IDK. The guy is flying all over the field.”This became apparent early. So did the fact that SU was no match for N.C. State’s 11th-ranked run defense. Babers and players said the offense needs to move faster to gain traction. That inability to find a pace was compounded by the Wolfpack defense. On SU’s second-to-last drive, Dungey completed a pass for no gain to Steve Ishmael because Jarius Morehead had gotten to him for a hurry.Syracuse has combined for 135 rushing yards over the last two games, a figure the Wolfpack had reached by halftime on Saturday. The Wolfpack defensive front bolstered its entire operation. N.C. State rushed for three touchdowns, finding spaces on the edge. Nyheim Hines and Jaylen Samuels combined to run for nearly 200 yards and a pair of scores.When asked why SU has struggled to stop opponent pass rushes, Babers pointed to the team’s youth.“Our young people are not as big and physical as the other people we’re playing,” Babers said, then added: “This is a really, really good defense. I told people I think they’re better than LSU. I know they’re better than LSU.”Syracuse’s problems may run deeper. SU has lost three of its last four. All three losses have come against blitz-heavy defenses, dating to Middle Tennessee State (Sept. 9),then-No. 25 Louisiana State (Sept. 23) and N.C. State.Several times Saturday, SU junior running back Dontae Strickland had no room to run. He was met by a pack of N.C. State tackles awaiting his next move, well aware there was little breathing room. In the third, Dungey raced to his right because Chubb pounced on him from the other side. Dungey’s elusive showed, as he completed the pass for a six-yard pickup, but it spoke to Chubb’s activeness.Syracuse’s second half offense nearly bailed out that of the first. Senior receiver Ervin Philips broke the ACC record with 17 catches. Babers said the last two comeback attempts are encouraging. Saturday, Dungey moved to fifth in program history in total offense. He finished with 385 yards and a touchdown, but he was sacked three times and on several occasions forced to release the ball sooner than he would have preferred.“We knew their front seven were really good,” Senior offensive lineman Jamar McGloster said. “They showed it today, and we were just focused on stopping them up front. The D-line, that’s the heart of the defense, that’s what we were focused on all week. We came a little short.” Comments Published on September 30, 2017 at 6:29 pm Contact Matthew: mguti100@syr.edu | @MatthewGut21 Facebook Twitter Google+last_img