But these fundamentals didn't add up to a ton of points - only 2.3 per possession (tied with a triumvirate of overrated offenses: Miami, USC and UCLA). No single factor explains this. They were average on turnovers per possession, average in the red zone, average in terms of starting field position, average in explosive plays per pass and terrible in explosive plays per run. In other words, they were the world's most frustrating offense - very good at moving the ball down the field but less good at getting something out of their efforts.
The Syracuse defense was average across the board except against the run. Opponents lost yards a quarter of the time when they decided to run. It was a high risk/high reward run defense, so they also gave up a number of big run plays, but, net, they were a top 30 run defense.
Woe be to Syracuse. On offense, the effective passing game was picked clean. Left tackle, receivers, quarterback, even coaching staff are gone. On defense, TFL guru Brandon Sharpe is out as well as the team's top two tacklers. At then end of 2012, Syracuse was rolling. They may have missed a rare opportunity when they didn't get rolling sooner.