Here are my positional grades from yesterday's win at Syracuse...
Chris Jacquemain was efficient and smart. He wasn't the one who carried the offense, but it's important to note that the quarterback supplemented drives, rather than stymied them. He threw one pick, but oh well. Fantastic improvement.
Running back -- We saw the
Alex Allen that many predicted when the Youngstown product arrived on campus. Syracuse is a poor tackling team as it was; Allen made them look like the jayvee squad.
Dennis Kennedy and
Andrew Johnson each had their moments, too. You can't ask for much more out of these three.
Receiver/tight end -- Last season, it was
Jabari Arthur and maybe a catch or two from some other guy. Saturday, the Zips six top pass catchers all entered the mix, led by
Andre Jones, whose route running was fabulous for a guy who just converted to the position.
Offensive line -- These guys take my game ball. The running backs shed plenty of tacklers, but the offensive line is the reason the runners reached Syracuse's backfield. There were holes galore. Also, the line avoided all penalties and gave up only two sacks. Kennedy rightfully credited them when talking to the media afterward.
Defensive line --
Almondo Sewell made eight tackles. Linemen other than Sewell combined for only five. In the 3-3-5 defense, the line's performance cannot be measured in such terms. It's more important if they require more than one blocker in order to free up the linebackers and secondary to make plays.
Cowles Stewart and
Dan Marcoux don't appear to be doing that at this point in their careers. **Paging
Ryan Bain. Paging
Kevin Grant was more involved than I remember him being at any point the past two seasons.
Mike Thomas was a playmaker, too, with an interception, fumble recovery, tackle for loss and seven tackles. Overall, not bad.
Secondary -- Syracuse quarterback
Cameron Dantley passed for only 130 yards. The secondary had a few big mistakes, but mostly played decent coverage.
Miguel Graham and
Bryan Williams played well, in particular.
Special teams --
John Stec's punts have been longer this season.
Igor Iveljic drilled all his extra points, and barely missed a 41-yard field goal. The stats say he logged two tackles, though. (Who knows if that's true?) Bryan Williams averaged almost 40 yards per kick return.
Coaching -- You can't fault the coaches for much here. The team was prepared and disciplined. There were only five Akron penalties, and none hurt too badly. Although the 3-3-5 lives, I saw at least one play where the Zips used four down linemen.