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Once again, everything was great except some of the game.
Syracuse earned its first win this past Saturday. I was there. I saw it happened. Sitting in Section 120 with several of my alumni friends, I actually saw a win in the Carrier Dome. Pretty rare these days. Syracuse won versus 1-AA Northeastern 30-21. That’s right, nine points separated us from a middle-of-the-pack 1-AA team. I know you are used to the standard grading rubric that any college or university uses based on a 4.0 system. However, much like that two credit billiards class you took to make your last semester light, you could not take that for a letter grade to pad your GPA, therefore they made you take it pass/fail. Much like that billiards class, playing a 1-AA team should not entitle you to pad your GPA either, or say a bowl resume as well. Therefore, we will grade the Syracuse squad on that pass/fail basis. To the report card.

Offense
Pass
Yeah, they actually scored some touchdowns. I was sort of impressed with the offensive line the most in this game, as they opened some really big holes for the running backs to run through. However, just by sight you could tell that the Northeastern players were not as big as Syracuse’s, so how impressive could it be? Cantley had a pedestrian day (14/17, 167 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT) with statistics, but he did look good, making crisp and on target passes the majority of the game. The running game looked excellent in this game. Curtis Brinkley earned 145 yards on the ground and a touchdown. Doug Hogue had exactly 100 yards and a touchdown. Overall, they did their jobs, so they get the pass, but against the defense of a 1-AA team they should have been able to do more. See that Brinkley touchdown below.


Defense
Fail
Syracuse’s defense allowed 383 total yards of offense. They passed for 293 yards and rushed for 90. Once again, Syracuse was mostly effective in stopping the rushing attack of the other team, however they gave up quite a bit of yards in the air, including a 54 yard TD pass. Syracuse still has not found a way to field a competent pass rush or pass defense. They simply gave up too much to this inferior team. I will give credit for earning two interceptions, one to ice the game, but with all those yards given up, it is not acceptable.

Special Teams
Pass
Patrick “Sex Offender Mustache” Shadle hit three field goals, the longest of which was 46 yards that was right down the pike. Michael Homes had three kick returns for 81 yards, and Max Suter had one return for ten yards. Rob Long punted once for 55 yards. Clearly Shadle was the highlight of the day, as he continues to be clutch in kicking field goals.

Coaching
Fail
Coaching continues to be an issue for this team. It is unacceptable to earn delay of game penalties not for strategic purposes. It is also not acceptable that they have not addressed the poor tackling or continued failing in covering open receivers. Additionally, Syracuse only beating a 1-AA team by nine points is an unacceptable margin of victory. I think we all know this. It is just unfortunate that Syracuse had to stoop to a 1-AA school to get their one and only win.

Final Grade
Pass
Yes, Syracuse got a win. Therefore, they get the pass this week. It is not the team’s fault that they scheduled a 1-AA team. Frankly, it is not the team’s fault that they are not being instructed correctly in the art of tackling because Robinson does not let them tackle in practice so they do not get hurt. Thus, when they get to a game, they do not tackle. Plus, the fact that there are no real game changers on this team does not help. Either way, they got their win and the team was clearly the best on the field, but I think we all know it was still an unacceptable level of performance.

Syracuse got win number one. Good for them. Those kids are trying hard, that is certain. What is evident is that they can only perform so high because of the bad coaching they are receiving, and the poor recruiting attempting to help them do their job. Either way, this game was a farce and should be treated for what it was; scheduling an inferior team to pad the win line. It makes me sick to think the question used to be “what bowl game are we going to?” rather than “are we making a bowl game this year?” My the times have changed.

Special thanks to all of my good friends who showed up to Homecoming. It was enjoyable to see some folks I do not normally get a chance to see. Special shout outs to Jill Ring, member of the fine Staples Corporation so her former supervisor will be impressed. Clearly she needs some extra vacation days. As always, thanks to Orange::44 correspondent John Brennan. Thanks to Jayme Rubinstein for making the game so bearable. Finally, thanks to Collin Long for putting together another great section for the game. Hope you had a great homecoming, and if you couldn’t make it out I hope you had fun celebrating wherever you were.

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