SU’s freshmen defensive backs experience ups and downs in 1st debut

first_img Comments Published on September 6, 2018 at 8:22 am Contact Andrew: aegraham@syr.edu | @A_E_Graham Junior cornerback Scoop Bradshaw’s hit jarred the ball loose from Western Michigan’s D’Wayne Eskridge.With the ball floating free over the Waldo Stadium turf, freshman safety Andre Cisco stepped in and grabbed Syracuse’s first interception of the 2018 season.“At first I had the ball in my hands, and I just couldn’t believe it for a second,” Cisco said on Tuesday. “I just had to step back and I was like, ‘Wow this is really an interception.’“I’d say it helped me settle in,” Cisco continued. “Made me feel like, I’m one of them. It’s not me being out there being a freshman.”Cisco was Syracuse’s (1-0) only true freshman to start Friday against the Broncos. He was later joined for spells in the defensive backfield by cornerback and fellow freshman Trill Williams. Both altered the course of the game, whether it be positively or negatively, in Friday’s opener and hope to become consistent installments in SU’s secondary.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textInitially, it didn’t look like Cisco would get the start Friday as SU sent out a 4-3 defense, keeping him on the sideline. But before the first snap of the game, the Orange switched to a nickel look — its base 4-2-5 — and linebacker Andrew Armstrong came sprinting off for Cisco.Cisco announced himself early with a first quarter interception. That takeaway ended WMU’s second drive on its first play and set up the Orange’s offense in enemy territory. SU collected a field goal off the turnover, taking a 10-0 lead.Williams made his debut later, spelling a overmatched Bradshaw as Eskridge and Broncos running back LeVante Bellamy shredded the Orange’s secondary on chunk plays. Eskridge, who at that point had repeatedly beaten a tired Bradshaw, wasn’t smothered but slowed.On his first play in the game, Williams gave Eskridge a check in the back as the wideout stumbled out of bounds.“I mean,” Williams said, “you just gotta let the receiver know that you’re a physical corner and he’s not going to catch the ball after a while.”But both freshmen allowed an Eskridge catch or touchdown.Eskridge beat Cisco on an 84-yard touchdown with roughly seven and a half minutes left in the third quarter. From his own 16, WMU quarterback Jon Wassink lined up in the shotgun, took a one-step drop and launched a 45-yard rainbow apparently dropping right to Cisco and Bradshaw. Instead, Eskridge burst between the pair and took Wassink’s pass to the endzone.For Cisco, it was simply a matter of depth from the line of scrimmage. At IMG (Florida) Academy, he could play lower in the box for two reasons: He was on a team chock full of Division I talent, so corners were rarely beaten and if they were, he could run down most receivers.On Friday, Cisco played low in the box once more, but with different results. Cisco didn’t record a single tackle. In the third quarter, he came downhill to hit Bellamy 10 yards past the line of scrimmage, dropped his shoulder and spun off Bellamy like a pinwheel.“I’m somebody that learns from mistakes,” Cisco said. “So I have to make the mistake before I learn from it and then I’ll never make the mistake again.” After watching Bradshaw get torched, Williams knew he needed to be cautious with Eskridge. He used his big frame — 6-foot-2, 202 pounds — to disrupt the smaller receiver’s route running while dodging pass interference calls. He allowed a few catches and recorded three tackles.“As a corner,” Williams said, “you lose some, you win some. But you just gotta come back the next play and forget about the last play.”With the opener behind them and a home game against Wagner up next, both freshmen expressed their excitement to finally play in the Carrier Dome.But mostly, they’re happy to have finally played some college football.“I was confident about the game,” Cisco said. “I just wanted to really see what it was actually like to go see the live bullets.” Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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