MLAX : Syracuse looks for complete, well-played offensive performance against nation’s top defense

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Comments The stretch of games where Syracuse’s offense came alive to score at will is in the past. The last time SU played, its offense was sloppy, scorers took ill-advised shots and the unit as a whole looked off.Heading into arguably its biggest game of the season, the Syracuse attack needs to find its rhythm again.‘Obviously, when you lose a game, no one really cares about those games anymore because it becomes: ‘What have you done lately?” SU attack Tommy Palasek said. ‘We’ve just got to go back to what we were doing before and have a short memory.’The Orange’s offense has been inconsistent all year, clicking on all cylinders at times while revealing its inexperience at others. It has made goaltenders look elite and clueless. When No. 17 Syracuse (7-6, 3-2 Big East) plays No. 4 Notre Dame (10-1, 5-0 Big East) on Saturday at 5 p.m. in South Bend, Ind., it will need to limit its turnovers and take the high-percentage shots to break through against the top defense in the nation.Notre Dame’s defense allows only 5.73 goals per game, good for first in college lacrosse. Fighting Irish goaltender John Kemp has a goals-against average of 5.67. As a team, Notre Dame hasn’t allowed double-digit goals to any opponent this season and hasn’t allowed more than seven since March 25.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textIt could be a recipe for disaster for an SU team in desperate need of a win to boost its NCAA tournament resume. The Orange’s tendency to take long shots from the outside straight into the goalie’s stick will only make the game easier for Kemp.‘They do play such good defense, and they have such a great goaltender that you really want to try to work for high-percentage shots,’ SU head coach John Desko said. ‘Especially early in the game, the last thing you want is for that goalie to get comfortable, and they do play very good team defense and force a lot of shots from the outside.’Syracuse’s offense comes alive when Palasek and fellow attack Derek Maltz are finding the back of the net. In SU’s 19-6 rout of Rutgers, Maltz finished with four goals and Palasek had three. Maltz followed up with a six-goal performance in a 13-12 win over Hobart, with Palasek adding one.In the Orange’s upset loss to Georgetown, neither scored. The Hoyas’ defense took them out of the game completely, and the Syracuse offense struggled. Averaging the second-most goals per game in the Big East with two per game, Maltz’s role in SU’s offense is critical.He also has a target on his back. Opposing defenses focus on him, but he has to make adjustments to make plays to counter that attention.‘I see it every game,’ Maltz said. ‘I just try to do the best I can to get open or set picks for my teammates, or move as much as I can to create as much havoc for the defense as possible.’Overall, Syracuse’s offense was ugly against Georgetown. Desko said 22 turnovers this late in the season is never something he wants to see. Against the Irish, the Orange will need to make the most out of every opportunity it has to score. If that means holding onto the ball longer than it normally would without stalling, then the Orange will execute that game plan.But to do that, SU needs to hold on to the ball.‘You turn the ball over more than 20 times, you can be prepared that the team’s probably going to beat up on you pretty good,’ Palasek said, ‘especially if they’ve got an offense that can create off those turnovers.’If Syracuse manages to take down Notre Dame, it’ll have a top-10 win on its schedule that could be enough to impress the NCAA selection committee when it gives out at-large bids. The Orange will need one if it doesn’t win the Big East tournament next week.Against the country’s best defense, a clean, complete performance from Syracuse’s offense is needed more than ever.What SU has done in previous games is irrelevant. All that matters now is its performance Saturday.‘As long as we execute, play better and do the things we’re supposed to do,’ Palasek said, ‘it’ll take care of itself.’cjiseman@syr.educenter_img Published on April 25, 2012 at 12:00 pm Contact Chris: cjiseman@syr.edu | @chris_isemanlast_img read more

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 read more