first_img Published on October 15, 2016 at 11:12 pm Contact Tomer: [email protected] | @tomer_langer Facebook Twitter Google+ Through five games, Syracuse’s dynamic passing attack has largely been shouldered by the nation’s leading receiver, Amba Etta-Tawo, who had a knack for converting on big plays. But on Saturday, it was the rest of the receiving core carrying the load.The Orange’s first two touchdowns of the game were scored by the inside receivers, Ervin Philips and Brisly Estime, and each one went for over 50 yards. The Orange was burning the second-best passing defense in the country with its secondary options.“We have so many people that can make the plays,” wide receiver Steve Ishmael said.For the first time all season, Etta-Tawo finished with the fewest receiving yards among Syracuse’s (3-4, 1-2) starting four. But it didn’t matter in a game in which Philips, Estime and Ishmael combined for 351 yards in an eventual 31-17 victory over No. 17 Virginia Tech (4-2, 2-1) on Saturday in the Carrier Dome.MORE COVERAGE:AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSyracuse’s defense shuts down Virginia Tech in 31-17 victoryDe’Jon Wilson has best game in Syracuse career against the HokiesWhat we learned from the Orange’s first win over a ranked opponent since 2012center_img For a majority of the season, when SU has run two receivers on each side — Etta-Tawo and Philips on one side with Ishmael and Estime on the other. But to start the game, Estime was playing more on Etta-Tawo’s side of the ball.It paid off in a major way for each receiver. Seven of Estime’s eight catches, and 127 of his 139 yards came in the first half.“Bris fit into this offense perfect, he’s so fast,” Ishmael. “It’s just so exciting seeing him catch it, just seeing him at his full speed, just seeing how he leaves players.”When the second half started, Syracuse reverted back to its usual formation of playing Philips inside next to Etta-Tawo. Philips had eight of his 11 catches in the frame.Etta-Tawo still racked up five catches for 54 yards, and Dungey still took a couple of deep shots to him that they just didn’t connect on.Jessica Sheldon | Photo EditorBut there have been moments this season where Etta-Tawo was the Orange’s only source of a consistent offense. When SU had a 99-yard touchdown drive late in the game against Connecticut, it was Etta-Tawo who made the big play. In SU’s go-ahead drive on Saturday, Philips caught five balls.In the spread offense, different receivers should have big days and get a majority of the targets. When its top option was taken away, SU’s other receivers stepped up.“We always got confidence that we can beat whoever’s in front of us,” Philips said. “We just try to attack the defense as much as possible and try and use our speed to our advantage.” Commentslast_img