3 takeaways from Syracuse’s 24-0 win over Liberty in season opener

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on August 31, 2019 at 9:21 pm Contact Andrew: aegraham@syr.edu | @A_E_Graham LYNCHBURG, Va. — No. 22 Syracuse (1-0) overcame a sloppy start and a nearly nonexistent passing game to shut down Liberty (0-1), 24-0, at Williams Stadium on Saturday in its 2019 season opener. The Orange committed two turnovers, only scored three points in the first quarter and struggled to consistently move the ball through the air. But thanks to a dominant showing from the defense and a trio of running backs, SU managed to generate the offense it needed to get out of Lynchburg with a win.Here are three reactions from the win.Sloppy startBy the end of the first quarter, each team had an interception, a fumble, a failed third-down conversion, numerous penalties and a grand total of three points to show for a quarter of football both teams would like to quickly forget. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe contest started with each team trading three-and-outs when on Liberty’s ensuing punt after three-straight incompletions, wide receiver Sean Riley coughed up the ball crossing midfield. LU recovered, promptly drove to the red zone and missed a field goal. SU took the ball back and punted again. Liberty put together a good drive to inside SU’s 5-yard line and then Trill Williams forced a fumble from behind. Then SU got to midfield, DeVito took a shot to Nykeim Johnson but underthrew the pass and was intercepted. On Liberty’s following possession, SU brought a six-man rush on third down and, with a blitzer in his face, LU quarterback Stephen Calvert whipped a blind pass straight into the gut of SU’s Ifeatu Melifonwu. On the following drive, SU finally scored as Andre Szmyt pushed a 45-yard field goal through. During the messy first quarter, each team got called for a personal foul and at least two other penalties. Tommy DeVito finished the frame 3-for-8 passing for 21 yards with an interception and Calvert only went 6-for-12 for 107 yards, also with an interception. It was the kind of sloppy, disjointed start Syracuse head coach Dino Babers warned could hamstring the Orange against a feisty Liberty squad. They were lucky it didn’t. Defensive line dominatesSyracuse’s defensive line is its best position group. It asserted that on Saturday by living in the Liberty backfield, totaling eight sacks plus six more tackles for loss from 10 different players. Leading the charge were two seniors: Kendall Coleman and Josh Black. By attacking Liberty’s pass protection and run schemes from the outside and inside, respectively, Coleman and Black were at times unblockable. Twice in the game, SU went to a three-man defensive front on third-and-long passing situations. Both times, Coleman split a double team and sacked Calvert. Black was more opportunistic. In the third quarter, Coleman came off the edge, forcing Calvert up in the pocket and right toward the awaiting Black. Elsewhere on SU’s line, senior end Alton Robinson, who like Coleman finished 2018 with 10 sacks, constantly collapsed the pocket and pressured Calvert. Midway through the second quarter, Liberty blocked Robinson with a double-team. The right tackle turned him inward to the right guard, who Robinson bull rushed and planted his behind on the turf in a split second, just as Calvert threw the ball away. Even Curtis Harper, a redshirt sophomore defensive end, got in on the action, picking up half a sack. The other 1.5 sacks went to Kingsley Jonathan. All night, whenever Calvert dropped back, he was almost regularly joined by a much bigger player from the other team. Running back by committeeWithout much by way of a consistent passing offense — DeVito and his receivers looked out of sync while the offensive line was shaky early — SU turned to a three-pronged rushing attack of Moe Neal, Abdul Adams and Jarveon Howard.The trio combined for 170 rushing yards, three touchdowns and provided SU’s offense a way to move the ball and maintain possession when there wasn’t an option otherwise — they even provided a large chunk of what SU managed to eke out of the passing game via screens and swing passes.Their respective performances all started by grinding out short to medium gains in the first half. Adams was the first to find pay dirt, bullying his way into the end zone from two yards out in the second quarter for SU’s first touchdown. As Liberty’s defensive front wore down in the second half, SU’s rushing attack picked up momentum. From the 1-yard line in a goal line set, Howard bounced an inside handoff out to the right side. A Liberty defender wrapped around Howard’s ankles but the sophomore fell forward while reaching the ball out and crossing the plane, putting SU up, 17-0.Neal delivered the knockout blow in the fourth quarter. Facing fourth-and-one from the Liberty 41-yard line, DeVito took a snap from under center, turned and handed it to Neal. Neal burst through the A-gap untouched and took it the rest of the way, putting SU up 24-0 and the game out of reach.  Commentslast_img read more

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David Villa makes surprise return to Spain squad for World Cup qualifiers

first_imgSpain’s all-time top scorer David Villa has come out of international retirement after being named in the squad for World Cup qualifiers against Italy and Liechtenstein, national team coach Julen Lopetegui said on Friday.New York City FC striker Villa, who hit a record 59 goals with Spain, announced his retirement from the national team after the 2014 World Cup, having scored in his final game against Australia as the then world champions were knocked out in the group stages in Brazil.He joined the newly formed MLS outfit New York City in their inaugural season in 2015 and has scored 19 goals in 23 starts this season.Reuters Photo OFICIAL | Lista de la @SeFutbol para los partidos ante @Vivo_Azzurro y Liechtenstein / Spain’s call up #SEFlive pic.twitter.com/BjlGCWqyM5- Seleccin Espaola (@SeFutbol) August 25, 2017Villa takes the place of Diego Costa, who has not linked up with Chelsea for the new season due to a dispute with coach Antonio Conte, while ACMilan midfielder Suso has earned a first call up.Chelsea defender Marcos Alonso was left out of the squad despite Lopetegui going to watch him in action against Tottenham Hotspur last week.”We believe that calling up Villa is necessary and appropriate,” Lopetegui told a news conference. “He’ll give us extra mobility up front and above all he’ll contribute his enthusiasm. We hope and believe he will help us.”last_img read more

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