Syracuse has seen significant defensive improvement since Tony White took over. The team currently ranks 15th nationally and leads the ACC in total defense, 15th nationally and second in the ACC in scoring defense, is tied for the fourth-most defensive touchdowns in the FBS, is sixth nationally in passing defense (leads ACC) and is 29th nationally in turnovers gained. He has also done so through key injuries to his unit. Team captain and All-ACC cornerback Garrett Williams, All-ACC linebacker Stefon Thompson and starting nose tackle Terry Lockett all suffered season-ending injuries early on.
White has steadily improved the Syracuse defense since arriving as defensive coordinator in 2020. When he arrived, he inherited a defensive unit that was ranked 115th in the FBS in total defense and was allowing 464.1 yards per game. After his first full year of defensive install in 2021 (spring ball was canceled in 2020), Syracuse skyrocketed to 19th nationally (330.3 ypg) in the category. They improved again this season up to 15th and 306.9 yards per game. White’s defense has held its opponent to less than 400 yards in 17 of the last 21 games since the start of the 2021 season. Only Clemson (18) has done so more in the ACC over that span.
Total Defense: 306.9 yards per game -15th FBS – 1st ACC Scoring Defense:18.4 points per game – 15th FBS – 2nd ACC 1st Downs Defense: 154 first downs allowed – 22nd FBS – 3rd ACC Defensive TDs: 3 – 4th FBS – 1st ACC Turnovers Gained: 16 – 29th FBS – 4th ACC Passing Yds. Allowed: 165.8 per game – 6th FBS – 2nd ACC
Linebackers: Mikel Jones – LB – Butkus Award Semifinalist – 76 tackles (6th in ACC), 3.0 sacks, 5.5 TFLs Marlowe Wax – LB – 63 tackles, 8.5 TFLs, 2.5 sacks DB Ja’Had Carter – 3 INTs, 2 PBU, 32 tackles DB Garrett Williams – 2 INTs, 3 PBUs, 36 tackles DE Caleb Okechukwu – 4.5 sacks