Syracuse Rockets take flight in season opener
LOUISVILLE- After an 0-9 football season last year, the Syracuse Rockets opened the season Friday against Louisville and left with a 35-0 victory.
Both Louisville and Syracuse had some new faces at the helm of the coaching staff with Lions head coach Matt Shelsta and Syracuse's Dave Purdham.
The Lions graduated a handful of key players from the 2021 campaign—including then-senior quarterback Sam Ahl and leading rushing Harrison Klein.
The Rockets, on the other hand, kept a lot of their playmakers with returning starting sophomore quarterback Tieran Cox, and sophomore running back Cy Petersen.
Despite a pair of turnovers in the early portions of the game for both teams, the Rockets eased into the flow of offense. Syracuse relied heavily on the run game, and it was prevalent in Purdham's play calling.
The Rockets dominated the offensive line, and midway through the first quarter sophomore Cy Petersen ran it in from two yards out to give the Rockets a 7-0 lead.
Petersen doubled-up on touchdowns in the second quarter with 5:38 left to play in the half with a 50-yard foot race to the end zone to double Syracuse's lead, 14-0.
Louisville had opportunities to score in the first half, but squandered the chances with turnovers and stalled drives on third down.
Syracuse, however, was not done scoring in the first half. On first and ten, from the 25-yard line with just 36 seconds left in the half, sophomore quarterback Tieran Cox pump faked the screen to the left side. Once the defense bit on the fake, Cox lofted the ball to the end zone for senior Robert Shanks to make it 21-0 Syracuse.
Shanks would find the end zone again to start the second half after he ripped off a 68-yard run.
Syracuse tacked on another score late in the game from freshman quarterback Will Janssen on a 23-yard run.
The Rockets downed the Lions on the road 35-0 in the season opener behind Robert Shanks' two touchdowns and interception on defense.
The Rockets play Omaha Concordia at home next week, while the Louisville Lions travel to play Wilber-Clatonia.