No. 22 Syracuse Lives Up to Ranking in 24-0 Win over Flames
No. 22 Syracuse gave Flames Nation a good look at the top level of college football with the Orange opening the season with a 24-0 win over Liberty, Saturday evening, at Williams Stadium.
The game had a series of firsts, as the contest marked the first time a Power 5 and top-25 ranked FBS team had visited Lynchburg. The game was also the first for head coach Hugh Freeze at Liberty, who experienced his own unique first in his nine-year coaching career.
For the first time in Freeze's head coaching career, he coached from the booth instead of the sidelines. Following a surgery brought on by back spasms and staph infection on Aug. 16, Freeze's on-field coaching has been limited due to his recovery process.
Thanks to the creative of Liberty's campus facilities and IT staffs, Freeze was able to perform most of his normal game day duties from the booth.
A hospital bed in the coaching booth elevated Freeze so he could see the field and Webex technology allowed Freeze to speak with this team in the locker room pregame, halftime and postgame.
Box Score Highlights:
Final Score: 24-0
No. 22 Syracuse (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
Location: Williams Stadium (Lynchburg, Va.)
Attendance: 21,671 (third largest crowd in Williams Stadium history)
After finishing the 2018 season ranked No. 5 in the country in turnover margin and No. 3 in turnovers gained, Syracuse picked up right where it left off in its 2019 season opener against the Flames.
The Orange forced four turnovers during the game, while limiting Liberty to a combined 66 total offensive yards during the second and third quarters. Syracuse scored twice during the middle two periods of the game, pulling away from the Flames.
• The first quarter saw more turnovers than points, as the two teams combined to give the ball away four times during the opening 15 minutes of play.
• Both quarterbacks threw interceptions and each squad fumbled the ball way. Liberty's fumble came three yards from the end zone when the Orange's Trill Williams striped Liberty's Joshua Mack on Liberty's best offensive drive of the quarter.
• Syracuse was the only team to put points on the board during the first 15 minutes of the game when Andre Szmyt knocked down a 45-yard field goal with 1:45 left to play in the quarter.
• Syracuse was the first team to find the end zone, piecing together a 14-play, 71-yard on its first drive of the quarter. The Orange capped off the 3:47 drive when Abdul Adams scored from two yards out with 10:33 to push the visitor's lead to 10-0.
• The Orange nearly pushed their lead to 17 during the closing seconds of the second quarter. An 11-play, 70-yard drive was stopped when Bejour Wilson intercepted a pass in the end zone with 27 seconds left in the half.
• Syracuse's second interception of the night of Calvert allowed the visitors to push their lead to 17-0 midway through the third quarter.
• After Andre Cisco stepped in front of a Calvert pass attempt, Jarveon Howard capped off a five-play, 37-yard drive by scoring on a one-yard touchdown run at the 6:27 mark to give the Orange a three-score lead.
• Syracuse put the game out of reach during the first drive of the fourth quarter. The Orange kept the ball on the ground for seven-straight plays to gain 73 total yards, including a 42-yard touchdown run by Moe Neal at 12:35 to secure the road win.
The Flames will take to the road for the first time in 2019 when they play their lone road game of the month of September at Cajun Field against Louisiana, next Saturday.
Date: Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019
Location: Lafayette, La. (Cajun Field)
Radio: LFSN Radio (Flagship Station: The Journey 88.3 FM Lynchburg)
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. (EST)