September 16

How it happened: Breaking down 3 major plays from Syracuse’s win over Florida State

first_imgOn Saturday, for the first time in 52 years, Syracuse (3-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast) defeated Florida State (1-2, 0-2), 30-7, in the Carrier Dome. Florida State didn’t score until the fourth quarter while Syracuse steadily built its lead, always in control.Follow along frame-by-frame to see breakdowns of three of SU’s biggest plays of the game.(All screenshots via ESPN.)The InterceptionWith Syracuse leading 3-0 late in the second quarter. Syracuse’s Chris Fredrick jumped a vertical route down the right sideline in FSU territory for SU’s sixth interception of the season.Slide 1Here’s the pre-snap look from both teams. Syracuse is in a 4-2-5 defensive formation playing man coverage. This is identified when Florida State motions Cam Akers (yellow rectangle, above) from the backfield out right and Evan Foster (out of shot) drops down over top of him.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe 5-foot-11 Fredrick (blue rectangle, above) is positioned over FSU’s 6-foot-4 Tamorrion Terry (red rectangle, above) at the top of the shot.Slide 2Akers is out wide with Foster (white rectangle, above) lined up over him. Out of shot, freshman free safety Andre Cisco has moved toward the middle of the formation, revealing Syracuse to be in a single high safety look. Fredrick is now playing press coverage on Terry as Seminoles quarterback Deondre Francois calls for the snap.Slide 3Here are Terry and Fredrick, mid-route. Terry has gotten past Fredrick’s jam at the line and both players are looking back for the ball that Francois just threw. Fredrick, who is running just behind Terry, noted after the game that film showed Francois throws line drives rather than lofty passes. That puts Fredrick in good position to make a play on the ball here.Slide 4Fredrick plucks the ball — thrown to Terry’s near shoulder — at his highest point in the air. With Cisco about five or six yards downfield, the window would’ve been close to the sideline, over the outside shoulder of Terry.Fredrick read and reacted to what he had seen Francois do on film. With where Cisco was positioned, a loftier outside pass would’ve given Terry a better chance at the ball.The first sackWith fewer than two minutes until halftime, Florida State trailed 6-0. Gunning for a late-first-half jolt, the Seminoles crossed midfield and went with a bit of tempo when Kendall Coleman sacked Francois. The loss of eight was Syracuse’s first of four sacks on Saturday.Slide 1In the nickel (4-2-5) defense on this play, Syracuse only has five players in the box. FSU has five down linemen and a running back, potentially, to protect Francois. With four wide receivers, FSU is spreading the field.Coleman (blue rectangle, above) is lined up on the right end for Syracuse opposite FSU’s left tackle, Abdul Bello (red rectangle, above).Slide 2After the snap, Bello takes a short set, not opting to kick far back in his pass set. In this frame, Coleman and Bello are essentially in a race to see who can get to a spot five yards behind the line of scrimmage faster.Slide 3At this point, just a step later, Coleman has engaged Bello for the first time, roughly five yards from the initial line of scrimmage. Coleman has dipped his inside (left) shoulder and with his next step will have his left foot closer to Francois than Bello’s. Once that happens, Bello is officially beat.Slide 4From a different angle, it’s easy to see that’s exactly what Bello does. Facing the opposite direction from where he started, Bello armbars Coleman in a last-ditch attempt to deter the defensive end.In this view, you can see a quarterback’s dilemma in the pocket. As Coleman beats Bello to the outside, Francois could, in theory, step up and hope Coleman runs past him. But since Coleman cut inside at an equal level with the quarterback, Francois has little room to maneuver.Slide 5Francois feels the rush at the last second and tucks the ball as Coleman wraps him up and drags him down for an eight-yard loss.The time from snap to sack was 2.8 seconds. Coleman’s sack, like many of SU’s on Saturday, wasn’t the product of a defensive line stunt or a blitz. As Dino Babers said, “It was not trickery. It was just guys lining up and whooping the guy in front of them.”The Pierce touchdownLeading 13-0 with less than four minutes to play in the third quarter, Syracuse faced first-and-goal at the three-yard line. Florida State was reeling in the moment, trying to recover after a Tommy DeVito rushing touchdown and a subsequent three-and-out by FSU.Slide 1SU lined up two offset fullbacks, Chris Elmore (yellow rectangle, above) and Kyle Kleinberg, in front of freshman tailback Jarveon Howard in what is commonly referred to as a “full house” formation. Jamal Custis has single coverage at the top of the screen and tight end Ravian Pierce (blue rectangle, above) is a down man on the right end of the line.Florida State plays 10 men in the box to counter SU’s numbers. Keep an eye on No. 19, A.J. Westbrook (red rectangle, above), on the near side over Pierce. Depending on the coverage, Westbrook, the most outside defender, would either be responsible for Pierce or Elmore, if the fullback ran a route to the flat.Slide 2DeVito took the snap and turned to hand off to Chris Elmore, but it was a play fake. If Florida State’s linebackers and safeties watched the SU offensive linemen, they would’ve recognized the pass protection look. Westbrook freezes to watch the ball, instead of picking up on the other pass indicators elsewhere on the field.Meanwhile, Pierce rips past the defensive end and heads to the second level, which in theory he could do on a run play where he would hit the outside linebacker.Slide 3The three FSU linebackers (white rectangle, above) with a clear pass read — the offensive line pass blocking and DeVito back to pass — still hesitate.Slide 4As DeVito is about to release, the linebackers realize they’ve been duped and try to bailout, but there’s no hope.Slide 5And the Orange get an easy six points.This play was a good design in short yardage to create an open area in the end zone. With the two fullbacks, the look screams run and any pass seems likely to go to the 6-foot-5 Custis at the top of the screen, and FSU’s defense got fooled.The play fake, and FSU watching the backfield, forced the Seminoles to take one step forward. That’s all the time SU needed, providing enough space for Pierce. DeVito just had to flip it to him. Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on September 17, 2018 at 8:19 pm Contact Andrew: [email protected] | @A_E_Grahamcenter_img Commentslast_img read more