Syracuse has played throughout this season with multiple different options in the backfield.
Jerome Smith came into the season as the back expected to run between the tackles, pushing through traffic for yardage. He has been successful in that area, but he has also shown that he can be a positive factor in the passing game and run in the open field. Though he could stand to be a little faster, Smith entered the match versus Pittsburgh with the most yards of any running back on the team.
Coming out of the game, Smith had taken 10 carries for a total of 61 yards, an average of 6.1 yards per carry. He has averaged over five yards per carry in each of the last three games for the Orange.
Prince-Tyson Gulley joined the 2012 campaign as the believed back that will get outside and beat you in the open field. He one-upped that belief by proving that he can also grind out yardage between the tackles. Add another star next to Gulley's name for what he has been to the passing game, having some of the best hands among not just the backs, but all receivers on the Syracuse squad.
Then came the third option in the Orange rotation through the first four games, newcomer Ashton Broyld. While in high school, Broyld illustrated his abilities to not just run, but receive and pass the ball, giving Syracuse options that they did not have in their previous offense.
However, when the Orange needed an early score against Pittsburgh, a relatively unknown name to some was called. With a short distance to the Panthers' goal in came Adonis Ameen-Moore, a sophomore back who had yet to see playing time, watching in the past four games.
On his first carry by the Pittsburgh goal-line, Moore crossed the threshold, giving Syracuse an early lead and what would be their only touchdown of the game.
Later in the match, the Orange had about left about two minutes on the clock, up 14-13, and needed someone to run out the clock. Once again, Moore entered the game. He carried four times, achieving two first downs, charging forward until the whistle blew, gaining a little help from right guard Rob Trudo on one of his carries.
With Syracuse in a third down situation and about 40 seconds remaining, the human wrecking ball barreled forward on the team's most important offensive play of the second half, a first down that would leave no chance for a Pittsburgh comeback.
Smith and Gulley continued to provide talent that translated into yards, but without Moore, the beginning and ending of this game would have been erased. The two biggest plays the offense made against the Panthers came on the grit of a man whose name some had yet to know.
Knowledge is power, and so is Moore. As the crowd got to know another back in the Orange arsenal, the Syracuse offensive staff was also learning that what Moore had shown in high school film can and has translated into a game situation.
When you hand the ball off to number 34, less is definitely not what you are going to get from Moore.