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Georgia Tech Football: Opponent Previews - Syracuse

Let’s talk about the Orange!

Wake Forest v Syracuse Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

Georgia Tech and Syracuse haven’t played in a minute, but man, the last time they played was fun to watch! In case you don’t remember, it was back in 2013, and the Yellow Jackets hosted the Orange and shut them out 56-0 on Homecoming. Man, what a game!

2019 Season Review

Last season was rough for Syracuse, as the Orange finished 5-7 and 2-6 in the ACC. This was really disappointing for the Orange, who were picked to finish second in the Atlantic by some folks. So, why were they so bad?

I think this quote from an article back in October that I think sums it up pretty well:

For three straight weeks, against three straight mediocre conference opponents, the script has played out as expected for Syracuse (3-5, 0-4 ACC). An offensive line that was supposed to show significant growth in Weeks 4-6 has remained weighed down by inexperienced — and took a gut punch last week when redshirt senior tackle Ryan Alexander quit the team. A quarterback touted for his arm talent has been unable to thrive in a tempo offense. And a defense that has all the experience and talent needed for another bowl berth has fought to keep games respectable, but is gradually breaking down.

It seemed like a case of anything that could wrong, did. The Orange were supposed to be good, but everything went wrong and the whole team just fell apart.

On offense, Tommy DeVito was fine, but nothing special. He finished with just over 2,300 yards and did a good job of limiting turnovers (only five interceptions), but the offense just was not effective. The team scored more than 20 points against Power 5 opponents just three times.

The defense didn’t do them any favors. In those games where they did score more than 20 points, the Orange won just one of those games, an overtime victory over an injury-depleted Wake Forest at the end of the season.

Even in the games where the defense did show up, the offense couldn’t help there. The Orange held three opponents under 30 points. They won one of those games. All in all, it was a rough season that I’m sure many Syracuse fans will want to forget very quickly.

Who’s Gone?

WR Trishton Jackson

There weren’t a lot of highlights for the Orange offense last season, but Trishton Jackson sure was one of them. He was DeVito’s main target, hauling in 66 catches, with 11 of them going for touchdowns. Outside of Jackson, no non-tight end scored more than two touchdowns, so DeVito will need some new targets.

LB Lakiem Williams

Syracuse had a lot of seniors on its defense last season, which makes their performance that much more disappointing, but Williams was definitely the most valuable. He led the Orange in both tackles (110) and tackles for loss (12.5). Williams also tacked on 4.5 sacks.

Players to Watch For

QB Tommy DeVito

Similar to how I talked about James Blackman in my Florida State preview, DeVito had to deal with a whole bunch of sacks, being sacked 35 times. Despite that, DeVito really wasn’t that bad. He completed over 60 percent of his passes and limited turnovers, so maybe with some more consistent offensive line play, he could actually put up some really good numbers.

S Andre Cisco

While the Orange do not bring much back on defense, they do bring back Andre Cisco at safety. Cisco hauled in five interceptions last year despite the Orange not having much of a pass rush, so with a younger defense, Cisco will definitely be counted on to continue to make plays.

2020 Season Outlook

Last season was very much a disappointment for the Orange, especially after coming off a 10-3 finish in 2018.

On offense, the Orange return key players like DeVito and also added some offensive line help in transfer Chris Bleich. They will also be breaking in a new offensive coordinator in Sterlin Gilbert, who is joining the Orange from McNeese State, where he was the head coach. Gilbert and head coach Dino Babers have coached together a few times, most notably at Eastern Illinois, where the duo helped develop quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

There’s a new face leading the defense, too, in the form of Tony White, who is joining them after being the passing game coordinator for Arizona State CEO head coach Herm Edwards. With his hire, the Orange will be shifting to a 3-3-5 defense.

With the shortened spring practice, this season will be very interesting as the Orange will be installing new offensive and defensive schemes. Because of that, I think it could end up being a long season for the Orange once again. And with that being said, I think Tech takes the victory here, perhaps in a bit of a breakout performance, winning 42-21.

How do you feel about the Orange this season?