SYRACUSE — The Syracuse University football team added another marquee name to its growing list of injury concerns Saturday afternoon in the Carrier Dome.
Redshirt junior quarterback Tommy DeVito left the 38-24 setback against Duke late in the fourth quarter due to a lower-left leg injury and did not return.
DeVito stayed on the turf after being taken down for his sixth sack while on the move trying to avoid the rush. He held his lower left leg in obvious pain and eventually limped off slowly with the assistance of trainers under each arm, being helped into a seated position onto the bench.
Trainers immediately placed a walking boot on DeVito’s left foot/lower leg, and he watched the remainder of the game on crutches from the sideline, engaging with teammates.
“Based off of some of the stuff I’ve heard, it’s not good,” SU head coach Dino Babers said. “We’re all pulling for him and we’re wishing him the best. But like I said, right now, it’s not good.”
The Orange (1-3 overall and Atlantic Coast Conference) played without All-American junior safety Andre Cisco, who leads all active FBS players with 13 career interceptions. He suffered an unspecified lower-leg injury in a collision with teammates during pregame warmups Sept. 26 and was questionable for Saturday’s game.
Freshman running back Jawhar Jordan was also a surprise scratch due to an unspecified injury and Babers provided another grim outlook on their respective recoveries.
“I think both of those guys are going to be out for long periods of time,” Babers said. “We’re just wishing them the best and hoping they’ll get back soon.”
Syracuse has been without key offensive linemen Dakota Davis and Pat Davis for the entirety of the season and has missed defensive back Eric Coley for the last two games. Sophomore linebacker Geoff Cantin-Arku left late with an apparent injury, and fill-in safety Ja’Had Carter twice left after being shaken up but finished the game.
DeVito completed 13 of 26 passes for a season-high 255 yards before departing – connecting on a 79-yard touchdown pass to Taj Harris and a 53-yard score with tight end Luke Benson. He drove SU into Duke territory to set up a field goal on the drive in which he suffered the injury, trimming Duke’s edge to 30-24 with 10 minutes remaining.
Rex Culpepper entered for SU’s final drive, facing a 38-24 deficit with five minutes left, and completed one of three pass attempts for three yards while taking a sack for a loss of nine. The redshirt senior backup, who is a testicular cancer survivor, has appeared in all four games and is 8-for-19 with 113 passing yards, including a 69-yard TD pass to Harris.
“Everybody brings something different to the table but those (quarterbacks) all work together and every day, they’re working on the same stuff,” SU tight end Luke Benson said. “They all learn from each other watching film in the room, they’re all versatile in their different ways, and I’ve got 100 percent confidence for anybody to be able to step in and play.”
Defensively, SU will need more solid play from its young defensive backs while Cisco is on the mend. True freshman Rob Hanna recovered a fumble Saturday and secured an interception in his career debut the game prior, making a surprise start in place of Cisco. Hanna has logged 21 tackles over the last two games.
“The biggest thing we did during the bye week was get in the back end, guys like Rob Hanna, get them boys ready, Ja’Had (Carter), get them to communicate like how Andre would,” said SU linebacker Mikel Jones, who leads SU with three interceptions. “They just started playing so they’re not going to see things how he does, that’s going to come, but the biggest thing was to be able to communicate and have all of us on the same page.”