Stock Watch: Cisco, receivers up; Strickland, pass rush down after Wagner

first_imgSyracuse (2-0) handled Wagner (1-1), 62-10, in the Orange’s home opener on Saturday by dominating all three phases of play.Offensively, SU more or less moved the ball at will while the defense stymied almost everything Wagner tried to do. The punt block unit even notched a special teams touchdown.Here are the risers and fallers after Week 2.Stock upAndre CiscoAdvertisementThis is placeholder textTwice within the first 14 plays from scrimmage, Cisco intercepted Wagner quarterback T.J. Linta. The first interception came on the Seahawks’ opening series, as Linta went over the middle on third down and Cisco stepped in front to nab the ball.A Syracuse touchdown later, and Linta rolled left into the lane Kendall Coleman was barrelling down. Without really looking, Linta threw the ball toward a receiver sitting about five yards down field. He didn’t see Cisco, who nabbed his second pick with 10:27 left in the first quarter.Cisco’s pair of takeaways made for a nice home opener and, coupled with his Week 1 interception at Western Michigan, Cisco’s stock is taking off.Jarveon HowardA true freshman running back from the same hometown as all-time NFL great Walter Payton — Columbia, Mississippi — made his debut for Syracuse, rushing 13 times for 69 total yards (5.3 yards per carry). Running back counterparts Dontae Strickland and Moe Neal each toted the ball nine times.It’s hard to get a real pulse on how much Jarveon Howard will play moving forward, especially through the heart of Atlantic Coast Conference play. But even against an inferior Wagner team, Howard ran aggressively and with good vision, only getting dropped for a loss once.Strickland and Neal will still have first shot for backfield touches, but Howard is a capable option if either falter.Receivers not named Jamal CustisLeaving WMU last week, only one Syracuse wide receiver, Jamal Custis, had caught a pass. That changed Saturday with six receivers other than Custis getting involved.The trio of Sean Riley (six catches, 41 yards and a touchdown), Devin Butler (four catches for 37 yards) and Nykeim Johnson (three catches, 65 yards and a touchdown) showed up. Those three were boosted by freshman Taj Harris and redshirt freshman Sharod Johnson. Harris caught his first collegiate pass for a touchdown late in the first quarter.Custis still had his share of looks — five catches, 41 yards and a touchdown — but on Saturday, SU’s receiving corps finally showed up.Stock downDontae StricklandStrickland, through two games, has amassed 73 yards on 20 carries. That’s a meager 3.65 yards per carry. Moe Neal’s 4.08 isn’t much better. Neal has passed Strickland as a runner, and that’s been reflected in the touches so far: 38 to Neal, 20 to Strickland.Pass blocking is where Strickland far outshines his younger counterparts, thus keeping him on the field. Protecting Eric Dungey is of critical importance, but Strickland needs to produce more with the chances he’s given.The upside for Strickland is that through two games, he has four touchdowns, equalling his production from each of the past two years. If the rushing yards start to come, Strickland can reassert himself as top dog in the backfield.The pass rushAfter producing one sack for a two-yard loss against WMU in the opener, SU’s pass rush managed only two sacks for 19 yards against an FCS team Saturday.Starting defensive lineman Kendall Coleman said after beating the Broncos that the Orange’s pass rush needed to be better, but against a much weaker opponent, there wasn’t much difference.Players did get home a little more frequently, but Linta consistently had enough time in the pocket to make his read or recognize the rush and roll out accordingly.Florida State and Deondre Francois will be in the Carrier Dome next Saturday, and the Orange can’t afford to let the Seminoles’ signal caller stand in the pocket. Facebook Twitter Google+ Commentscenter_img Published on September 10, 2018 at 12:28 am Contact Andrew: aegraham@syr.edu | @A_E_Grahamlast_img

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