Hybrids carry offense in Syracuse’s loss to N.C. State

first_img Published on November 22, 2015 at 10:55 am Contact Paul: pmschwed@syr.edu | @pschweds RALEIGH, N.C. — Zack Mahoney lined up in shotgun. Ervin Philips, who lined up as a slot receiver, went in motion and curled around behind him. Ben Lewis lined up next to Syracuse’s offensive tackles.The Orange ran variations of the same play — the triple-option — over and over. When Mahoney would take the snap, North Carolina State’s defense wouldn’t know what was coming.First it was Mahoney running it on his own for a 4-yard gain. Then it was a pitch to Philips for a gain of 14. Three plays later it was a 37-yard catch and run to Lewis down the seam of the Wolfpack defense.“It’s good that we have some players that can make some plays,” Philips said of the hybrids. “We kind of got things started today. Once we start making plays, we get on track.”SU (3-8, 1-6 Atlantic Coast) reached N.C. State’s (7-4, 3-4) 1-yard line before settling for a field goal on its first drive. Like the rest of Syracuse’s 42-29 loss to NCSU on Saturday afternoon at Carter-Finley Stadium, the Orange got off to a decent start but ended with a thud. Hybrids Philips and Lewis provided one of SU’s only bright spots combining for 98 yards on five receptions and 27 rushing yards on six carries.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textFive of Mahoney’s first six completions were to either Philips or Lewis. He didn’t complete a pass to anyone else until the third quarter.The Wolfpack stacked the box daring Mahoney to throw the deep ball — which is a weakness of his. But Syracuse had chances to exploit N.C. State with two hybrids on the field at once.“It’s not just the H (slot receiver) but it’s the Y (tight end),” Philips said, “so it’s a lot the defense has to worry about.”A minute and a half after the Wolfpack took a commanding 21-3 lead late in the second quarter, Mahoney lobbed a 30-yard touch pass into the end zone and into Philips’ hands. It was his second longest pass of the day.But midway through the third quarter, Philips ran toward the sideline and was Mahoney’s pitch option. An N.C. State defender closed in on him anticipating that he’d get the ball and Philips lost his focus.“I saw a dude coming (to tackle me),” Philips said. “I tried to look up but I dropped it, unfortunately. It is what it is.”Later in the second half, Lewis left with a shoulder injury. He couldn’t finish the game, which was one of the best of his career.Afterward, he stood outside the team buses with his left arm in a sling while mingling with friends and family.Though the hybrids’ performance stalled late in the game, they proved they can carry the bulk of the Orange’s offensive production.“I think having the hybrids on the field has been good,” SU head coach Scott Shafer said. “It does give us some added dimensions.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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