SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Teams may have found a formula to beat the Syracuse Orange football team this season, as Liberty rushed for over 300 yards on their way to a 38-21 victory Saturday afternoon.
The Orange knew it was going to be an uphill battle with starting quarterback Tommy DeVito out due to injury, but the defense completely fell apart Saturday.
For the second consecutive game, Syracuse allowed over 300 yards on the ground, including a 75-yard touchdown run from Liberty sophomore Shedro Louis. Louis would also add a 52-yard touchdown run in the second quarter before finishing the game with 170 yards on the ground. Liberty senior Peytton Pickett also gained over 100 rushing yards Saturday, making it the second consecutive game Syracuse allowed two 100-yard rushers.
On the offensive end, Syracuse’s senior quarterback Rex Culpepper managed to complete 19 of 40 passes for 211 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
However, it doesn’t seem to matter who is under center for junior receiver Taj Harris, as he continued to impress Saturday. Harris hauled in nine passes for 96 yards and one touchdown. The touchdown came on Syracuse’s second possession of the game and gave Syracuse its only lead of the day. Harris’ four touchdowns is already the most he’s had in any year of his career at Syracuse.
Syracuse freshman running back Sean Tucker continues to be a bright spot for the Orange. His 111-yard performance Saturday marked his second game this season with over 100 rushing yards, but he failed to find the endzone for the second consecutive game.
Last season, Syracuse cruised past Liberty 24-0 on opening day, but It was a different story in the Dome on Saturday.
After Culpepper connected with Harris for a 17-yard touchdown in the first quarter, Liberty immediately answered with a 75-yard touchdown run from Louis.
Syracuse would trade scores with Liberty before Louis struck again with a 52-yard touchdown run about halfway through the second quarter.
The Flames enjoyed a 21-14 lead at half, and would essentially put the game away in the third quarter. Liberty Junior Malik Willis completed 16 of 20 passes Saturday, one of which was a 36-yard touchdown to begin the second half. Liberty would add another third quarter touchdown and entered the fourth quarter with a 21-point cushion.
Orange sophomore Anthony Queeley hauled in a 21-yard touchdown pass from Culpepper to make it 35-21, but any hope Syracuse had was erased when Liberty answered with a field goal.
With the 38-21 loss, Syracuse moves to 1-4 on the season, while the Flames of Liberty improve to 5-0.
The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Orange next week, as they have a date in South Carolina with the number one ranked Clemson Tigers.