All in all, Syracuse totaled 392 rushing yards, the program’s most since the 1996 Liberty Bowl.
The problem for the Georgia Tech defense this week, however, is now not knowing exactly which Orange offense it will see at 8 p.m. Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
“What if they come out and throw it 65 times this week? Gotta adjust. You gotta adjust,” Tech coach Brent Key said. “You gotta go based on what they’ve done. They put in, basically, an entirely new offense in six days. So what’s to say they’re not gonna do that again this week?”
It may behoove Syracuse to go ahead and use that same game plan from a week ago against the Yellow Jackets (5-5, 4-3 ACC), even if it no longer will be a surprise.
Tech has the nation’s second-worst rush defense, having allowed 224 yards per game. Only Virginia has failed to score a touchdown on the ground against the Jackets, and only Bowling Green and Miami have averaged less than four yards per carry.
For the season, opponents are gaining 5.3 yards per run against Tech’s defense. If ever there was a time to lower that average, Saturday is it.
“We just want to create knock back, create a new line of scrimmage, come out our hips, play with physical hands and just demand dominance,” Tech defensive lineman Makius Scott said. “We just wanna create dominance throughout every game we play. We feel like this is one of those games we can showcase that and showcase what we have.”
Syracuse coach Dino Babers spoke with reporters Monday and explained that his team’s offensive game plan will be dictated this week by which players are available. But the writing is on the wall that the Orange passing game likely died an early death in 2023.
Syracuse has thrown only 44 passes for 182 yards the past three games combined. On Nov. 3, the Orange gave backup quarterback Carlos Del Rio-Wilson a go, and he threw four interceptions out of 17 attempts in a loss to Boston College. Syracuse’s passing offense ranks 110th nationally and 12th in the ACC, at only 180.7 yards per game.
It’s quite clear that going to the air has not worked for the Orange. Now Tech has to try to make sure the ground game doesn’t work for them either.
“This our type of game. We all for it,” Scott said. “We wanna be able to stop the run. It’s a good challenge for us as a D-line, and we’re just trying to compete and stop the run.”