Saturday, CMU's season hit a roadblock, and it was orange.
The Chippewas struck first against the Syracuse Orange, and the proceeded to allow 40 unanswered points in a game that was as ugly as it was lopsided. With no Thomas Rawls or Titus Davis, Cooper rush and the CMU offense never got the ball rolling, and the defense struggled to stop Syracuse and tired as the game went on. It was a brutal game to witness, but what did it teach us?
1. Cooper Rush has to get rid of the ball faster.
Slow reaction time by the Chips' quarterback cost CMU momentum on a sack and resulting fumble return for a touchdown in the second quarter. The game was tied 3-3 at the time of the fumble. The gaffe took all momentum away from the Chips and handed it to Syracuse. In the third quarter with Syracuse leading 17-3, Rush was stopped in the end zone while attempting a pass. The Orange were awarded a safety. The mortal blow was caused by Rush being tardy in throwing the ball away.
2. The offensive line needs some work.
Central's offensive line was manhandled by the Syracuse defensible line. The Chips' running game was bottled up all game by the Orange's fast defensive line. Rush was hurried too many times while attempting passes. There is work to be done next week in preparation for Kansas.
3. CMU is vulnerable to mobile quarterbacks.
Orange quarterback Terrell Hunt gashed the Chips too many times on third down keepers that kept drives alive. Once the running lanes in the line of scrimmage opened up, Owens had an easy time piling up yardage.
4. The Chips need some discipline.
Key penalties put the Chippewa offense in long yardage situations often. The so called hallmark of Dan Enos coached teams has been their clean play, but that wasn't the case Saturday. The Chippewas were called for nine penalties for 41 yards. Without its offensive weapons (Rawls and Davis), CMU had little firepower available to to make up for its costly miscues.
5. CMU needs Rawls and Davis.
A ball-control offense without its key weapons is going nowhere. Titus Davis and Thomas Rawls were sorely missed on Saturday. A 40-3 whipping by Syracuse is going to cause the offensive brain trust to think about retooling for next week. The running game was awful: managing 34 yards on 23 carries. The passing attack wasn't much better, as Rush was without his go-to- weapon. without one on the field, things are rough enough. without both, CMU's offense is too bland to get anything done against a good defense.