Tommy DeVito’s shaky debut, other fast reactions to Syracuse’s 55-42 win at Western Michigan

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on August 31, 2018 at 10:19 pm Contact Andrew: aegraham@syr.edu | @A_E_Graham Short a quarterSyracuse looked poised to dominate the second half like it had the first. A third-quarter defensive meltdown bled a 27-point lead to six. The main victims were the secondary. After a half of inconsistent play but little duress, Western Michigan quarterback Jon Wassink started to develop a rhythm with No. 1 Broncos’ receiver D’Wayne Eskridge. Repeatedly, Eskridge outran SU corner Scoop Bradshaw and the safeties trying to help. Twice, he found the end zone.All told, Eskridge finished with eight catches for 240 yards and the two scores. After a long completion that Bradshaw managed to save the touchdown on, freshman Trill Williams replaced him as cornerback.And as WMU started to take control through the air, LeVante Bellamy started running wild. Still, with Dungey back in and a calmer fourth quarter, SU did just enough to prevail. KALAMAZOO, Mich. — The score at halftime — 34-7 — reflected the pummeling inflicted on the field. Syracuse dominated Western Michigan up front and in the run game. Starting quarterback Eric Dungey only needed to complete four passes to keep the offense well on track to earn more than 300 yards. Shortly before halftime, the lead grew to 27 and the heralded redshirt freshman Tommy DeVito took the reins.While DeVito was in, through really no fault of his own, Syracuse unraveled. An offense that opened the game with 17 points in less than seven minutes couldn’t score and the defense wilted, allowing three-straight touchdown drives in one minute or less in a single span.Eventually, Dungey came back in, and the defense recovered and the Orange escaped Waldo Stadium with a 55-42 win. Dominating the trenchesAdvertisementThis is placeholder textSyracuse’s immediate success on Friday stemmed from the offensive line. Throughout training camp, coaches and players kept mentioning the experience of the group. Returning were Airon Servais, Cody Conway and Evan Adams. Aaron Roberts, the starting left guard on Friday, returned from an injury that cost him the 2017 season. Graduate transfer Koda Martin started previously at Texas A&M.And in the early portions of the opener, the pedigree showed. In the first half, Syracuse had seven rushes of 11 yards or more. Dungey clocked a 49-yard gash on 3rd-and-7 from his own 20 in the second quarter, SU’s longest run of the day.All told, the Orange finished with 334 rushing yards and five touchdowns on the ground.When SU did find a need to pass, the offensive line held up well. After giving up 32 sacks for 168 yards a season ago, the Orange’s big men only surrendered two on Friday for 11 yards. Both came when DeVito was in the game, and after the redshirt freshman quarterback had a chance to make his reads and scramble.Tommy DeVitoAlmost a year and a half since committing to Syracuse, Tommy DeVito finally made his debut for the Orange.Inheriting a 34-7 lead with minutes remaining in the first half, it seemed DeVito would get his looks, Syracuse would cruise to victory, and that would be that.But when DeVito came in, the offense struggled. Syracuse didn’t score during DeVito’s five drives and rarely moved the chains, save for when DeVito took a page out of Dungey’s book at takeoff.When he dropped back, DeVito looked good in the pocket, standing tall and making his reads, though occasionally taking too long and allowing for those aforementioned sacks. When he did get a chance to throw, DeVito looked confident but was often inaccurate.He sent a sideline out to Jamal Custis low and away for an incompletion. He airmailed Devin Butler multiple times on deep balls. On one of his final throws, DeVito and Butler looked to have miscommunicated and the route did not match the throw. But DeVito had bright spots, between the plays he made with his legs and a couple intermediate completions. His best pass was a wheel route to Dontae Strickland up the seam for 22 yards. Had Strickland not fell victim to a shoestring tackle, he had nothing but green grass.Eventually, Western Michigan closed the gap enough for Dungey to re-enter and put the game to rest. The redshirt freshman finished 4-for-9 for 42 yards. Commentslast_img read more