first_imgThe game should have ended with 12 seconds left and the Syracuse running backs should have never had a chance. But Villanova kicker Chris Gough pushed a 25-yard field goal wide right and the Orange was granted a second life.  In two overtime possessions, SU drove 24 yards to the goal line before Adonis Ameen-Moore was denied not once or twice, but five times. “We brought ourselves on the run so when we get to the 1-yard line we want to be able to run it in,” Syracuse offensive coordinator George McDonald said. “Unfortunately we didn’t. We’ll go back and look at the tape and we’ll see what happened. “Our M.O. is that we run the football so we should be able to get it in.”Instead of pounding it into the end zone, the Orange (1-0) used a fake-field goal pass by punter Riley Dixon to beat Villanova (0-1) in two overtimes at the Carrier Dome on Friday night. Aside from a 65-yard touchdown run by Prince-Tyson Gulley in the first quarter and a 2-yard touchdown from Ameen-Moore in the third, Syracuse’s run game was largely unimpressive. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWith Terrel Hunt ejected from the game for throwing a punch and sophomore Austin Wilson leading the charge, the Wildcats’ defense was able to key on the run. But there was also a lack of push by SU’s offensive line — which was without Nick Robinson and Omari Palmer — evidenced by a lack of success up the middle. “We’ll have to see what happened and see what errors there were,” McDonald said of the goal-line struggles. “Maybe they just overloaded us and we didn’t have a chance. We just have to evaluate that.”One question leading into the season was how Syracuse would compensate for the loss of Jerome Smith. Smith was a downhill runner that could also avoid tackles in the backfield, a hybrid that hasn’t emerged in the Orange’s current group of running backs. In 2012, Doug Marrone used Ameen-Moore in the “Tank” package to alleviate a similar issue. Ameen-Moore rushed for five touchdowns on just 30 carries that season, and broke a slump on Friday after not finding the end zone in 2013.  But that doesn’t mean that the game was an ideal start to the season. In Syracuse’s first overtime possession, Ameen-Moore lost a yard at the Villanova 1 before losing three from the 2-yard line. In the second overtime, he lost 1 yard from the 2, gained 2 yards from the 3 and was tackled at the line of scrimmage at the 1 on three-consecutive plays. “We thought they were going to try and go downhill rather than going east and west like they did when (Hunt) was in there,” Villanova linebacker Dillon Lucas said. “Coming out of halftime we knew they just wanted to run the ball … so we focused on sitting on the run and went from there.”Away from the goal line, the Wildcats controlled the middle of the field. Gulley found a hole on the Orange’s first drive and shot through a whole in the line for a 65-yard score. But take away those yards and Syracuse ran up the middle 19 times for 46 yards — good for 2.4 yards per carry. Ameen-Moore went up the middle seven times for 10 yards. George Morris II, the team’s next biggest back, rushed up the middle twice and lost a total of three yards. After McDonald recognized what the running backs could improve upon moving forward, he found a silver lining in Gulley rushing for over 100 yards. When he was reminded that 65 yards came on one run, he smiled but his outlook didn’t bend. Said McDonald: “It still says 100 next to his name.” Comments Published on August 30, 2014 at 6:41 pm Contact Jesse: [email protected] | @dougherty_jesse Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *