Trending up: Parris provides reliable late-down option; Secondary holds Louisville in check

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Syracuse (2-3, 0-1 Atlantic Coast) fell to Louisville (5-1, 3-1), 28-6, at the Carrier Dome on Friday night, but here are three bright spots for what was ultimately an ugly game for the Orange.1. Josh ParrisParris has been working back from a knee injury he sustained in training camp, and Friday looked to be his first real run as the primary tight end. Without second-string tight end Kendall Moore, starting H-back Brisly Estime and top target Ashton Broyld, Hunt used Parris as a safety valve and he proved a reliable late-down option. Parris caught five passes for 34 yards, with three catches earning first downs — and two of those three coming on third down. He lined up in the slot, on the line throughout the game and was targeted out of the slot on the left sideline for what would have been his longest catch of the game. But Hunt threw the pass high and out of his reach. All of SU’s success came on underneath routes, which allowed Parris to turn his hips and get upfield for mid-sized gains.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text2. Pass defenseJulian Whigham didn’t think Louisville quarterback Reggie Bonnafon was telegraphing his passes, except on his first-quarter interception that set the tone for a solid day for Syracuse the secondary. Louisville quarterback Reggie Bonnafon finished 12-for-22 with 174 yards, and the Cardinals ran the ball 48 times. Had SU been able to control the  ground game — an advertised strength of the defense — the Cardinals would have had an even harder time in the air and an even harder time moving the ball. But when the Orange front did stop the run on early downs, defensive coordinator Chuck Bullough was able to insert an extra safety on the field for what SU calls the “Okie” package. Cornerbacks Whigham and Brandon Reddish and safeties Darius Kelly, Durell Eskridge and Ritchy Desir dropped back in a Cover 3 and allowed the line and linebackers to get good pressure on Bonnafon — which resulted in the Cardinals going 7-for-16 on third down.The SU secondary did get hurt when the Cardinals ran underneath routes to counter the Cover 3, but Whigham said a few tweaks to the umbrella coverage can stop that wrinkle. 3. Ben Lewis Let’s forget that Ben Lewis let an easy touchdown catch fall through his fingers. It’s not easy, but his full body of work against the Cardinals can help. Without Estime and Broyld, Lewis worked mostly out of the slot and only had two catches for 54 yards in the game. But his 48-yard reception in the third was his third big gain in as many games, and without penalties and his drop in the end zone, it should have set up a Syracuse touchdown.Touchdowns never came, but Lewis fell a yard short of the end zone, caught a score that was called back and missed one that he catches nine times out of 10. “Close” doesn’t show up on the scoreboard, but he looks to be a reliable option moving forward. Comments Published on October 4, 2014 at 3:25 pm Contact Jesse: | @dougherty_jesselast_img

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