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Stock watch: Who’s up, who’s down after Syracuse’s week 1 win

first_imgStock upJamal CustisBefore Friday, Syracuse didn’t have a No. 1 option in the passing game. Custis dispelled any notion of that after two touchdowns on six receptions for 168 yards. No other Syracuse wide receiver caught a pass Friday.Custis’ best highlight Friday came at possibly the most critical time for SU. After a 34-7 lead evaporated to six in less than 10 minutes, SU needed an answer.After covering 39 yards in the seven prior plays, Eric Dungey connected with Custis on an out-route to the left sideline. Custis hauled in the pass one handed, juked a defender and trotted into the endzone, giving the Orange some breathing room again.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textLook for Custis to further solidify himself in Syracuse’s week two matchup against Wagner.Offensive lineSyracuse’s offensive line dominated the Broncos at the line of scrimmage. The success stemmed from the wealth of experience SU has at the five line positions.Friday’s starting group featured returning first-teamers Cody Conway, Airon Servais and Evan Adams. Add Aaron Roberts — the 2016 starter at left guard who missed 2017 with a knee injury  — and Texas A&M graduate transfer Koda Martin to the mix and suddenly, for the first time in the Dino Babers era, the offensive line was one of the most experienced groups.That showed Friday to the tune of 334 yards rushing (5.4 per carry), only two sacks allowed and five scores via the ground. The main beneficiary was Dungey, who wasn’t sacked and set the Syracuse, and ACC, single-game record for rushing yards by a quarterback with an even 200.Running backsMoe Neal and Dontae Strickland confirmed their stranglehold on running back touches Friday. Together, the two toted the ball 40 times for 122 yards and four touchdowns.The yards per carry figure — 3.1 — is lackluster, but considering Dungey went for 200 yards on 15 attempts, the two backs were complimentary to the signal-caller’s running game.Neal took the bulk of carries, 29 to Strickland’s 11, and both made contributions in the passing game. Strickland caught a 22-yard pass up the seam from Tommy DeVito in the third quarter, a shoestring tackle saving the touchdown.Neal and Strickland should continue to dominate touches at the running back position. Published on September 4, 2018 at 8:25 pm Contact Andrew: aegraham@syr.edu | @A_E_Graham Syracuse (1-0) escaped Kalamazoo, Michigan, with a 55-42 win over Western Michigan (0-1) on Friday night. The Orange got out to a 34-7 first-half lead predicated on dominating up front. But a bad defensive third quarter and a stagnating offense kept it close. Eventually, the Orange recovered and established control over the Broncos. Check out whose stock crept up and whose fell. Tommy DeVitoWithout any prior play at SU — or the last two years — it’s unfair to say DeVito’s stock went down. Friday was, for lack of a better metaphor, his initial public offering, and it didn’t go as well as planned.The DeVito hype train slowed a little after a 4-for-9, 42 yard and three first-down performance. When DeVito entered the game, SU stagnated offensively. The unit that blew the doors off WMU for the first half could barely go forward.DeVito himself mostly did the right things. He stood in the pocket and escaped when necessary, though he twice took a sack. He hit the aforementioned completion to Strickland and had a long ball to Custis wiped out by a penalty.Still, the misses were bad. On a 15-yard sideline out route, DeVito missed an open Custis low and away. On a 3rd-and-9, he whipped a ball wide left, where he expected Butler to be, but there was miscommunication on the route. Deep balls were overthrown.DeVito was fine on Friday. No more, no less. Stock downThe secondaryWestern Michigan, after a 117-yard first half, came out and took the top off SU’s defense in the third quarter. Countless chunk plays on deep balls — mostly to D’Wayne Eskridge — and handoffs to LeVante Bellamy ultimately torched the Orange’s secondary.The Broncos first offensive play of the second half was a 37-yard completion to Jaylen Reed. A 21-yard score to Eskridge followed.Two drives later, WMU quarterback Jon Wassink connected with Eskridge down the middle for an 84-yard bomb.Eskridge mainly victimized cornerback Scoop Bradshaw, often running past him and accumulating eight receptions for 240 yards and two scores.The secondary got burned for seven plays of 21 yards or more in the third quarter alone.Devin ButlerOpposite the sure-handed Custis, junior wide receiver Devin Butler had a rough showing against the Broncos. Despite consistently being targeted on intermediate routes and deep balls, Butler is still looking for his first reception.Several times, both Dungey and DeVito looked for Butler deep down the sideline. But despite getting behind the defense, Butler never ran under any deep balls. He’d come close, but he always seemed a step short.Closer to the line of scrimmage, Butler struggled more. He had a first down bounce off his hands on a slant and couldn’t haul in a touchdown pass coming across the middle.Despite a wealth of opportunity, Butler came up empty. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more