The Syracuse Strong got its best defensive effort of the season in a dominant victory in Week 11. Here are all the highlights and details.
The defending National Champion Syracuse Strong have been known for their offense over the years but in Week 11 it was the defense that delivered the win.
On the opening drive of the game, Syracuse ate up about half of the opening quarter and was helped by a WNY Mustangs encroachment penalty on fourth down to keep the drive alive. Syracuse ended up notching a field goal.
Although later in the first quarter, the Strong’s offensive bell cow, RB Rashad Burns, was hobbled by a lower-body injury. The Valley Sports Complex was hushed as Shad was helped off the field.
With Rashad going out of the game, Syracuse was introduced to Dewayne ‘Flash’ Gordon who is primarily known for his defensive prowess but is also listed at running back. Flash paid immediate dividends punching it in for the 10-0 lead.
But then after that moment, the Strong defense took over and never looked back. Syracuse got help from a lot of different guys:
- DB Emmanuel Rowser (No. 22) snatched an interception.
- DL Charmain Smith (No. 12) got a strip-sack and LB EJ Maeweather (No. 47) got the fumble recovery.
- WR Joshua Thomas (No. 3) delivered one of the hardest hits of the season on the punting unit.
- DB DP Crowell (No. 1) snagged an interception off the deflection.
- LB Wilquan Burke (No. 39) delivered a pick-six.
- DB Jeff McDuffie grabbed two interceptions himself.
All of those big defensive plays delivered the 10-0 mark for the Strong over the WNY Mustangs. It was the best and most complete defensive effort of the season for Syracuse.
The final score was 51-8 in Week 11. Here’s some more praise for the Strong defense: the eight points the Mustangs scored weren’t the defense’s fault.
- The only touchdown of the game for Western New York was greatly assisted by two questionable penalties: a bad personal foul call on the opposing sideline and a bad passing interference call.
- Two points were scored via a late safety, punter Aaron Smith (No. 16) was backed into his own endzone and just took the safety with guys blitzing in.
- Star running back Rashad Burns was hobbled earlier in the game but appeared fine on the sideline. The defense stepping up to the plate was a true blessing in disguise because it allowed Syracuse to rest some starters in the second half including Rashad Burns who has been battered and bruised this season.
Up next the Syracuse Strong will enjoy a bye week before returning home to the Valley Sports Complex to face the Troy Fighting Irish in Week 13. This will be the first ‘rematch’ of the season for the Strong. They faced Troy back in Week 5 on the road, Syracuse won that contest 37-20 after scoring 17 unanswered points to end the game.