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Syracuse - Notre Dame Postgame Reactions OR OMFG AHHHHHH!

Do you believe in upsets? YES!
Syracuse entered South Bend to play a Notre Dame team that on paper was clearly superior. Although Notre Dame had only six wins, clearly they were on their way up and should have beaten a Syracuse team that ranks nearly last in almost every statistical category. Yet Syracuse, especially with Greg Robinson knowing his tenure as coach was up either way in a couple of weeks, managed to pull off probably the biggest statement win we will remember about his tenure. While this does not qualify as his biggest upset win in terms of point spread (for entertainment purposes only), it clearly was against a major college program that should have beat Syracuse. Notre Dame loses to the lame duck Greg Robinson and the Orange by one. Syracuse wins 24 to 23.

Offense
B+
Not a great performance, but when you out convert on third downs and have more first downs overall you deserve a pretty good grade. Cameron Dantley had a fine game (13/25, 122 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT), and passed to Donte Davis with 42 seconds remaining for the game winning touchdown. The Syracuse run game was excellent, but not from who you think. Curtis Brinkley only had 44 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown. He performed well. But the real hero of the game was freshman Antwon Bailey (16 carries, 126 yds, 7.9 ypc, 1 TD). That includes the 26 yard touchdown run to bring us within a score of Notre Dame. The receivers stepped up as well, as they continued to make play after play when delivered a ball that was even moderately close to them. The team combined had 14 receptions for a total of 147 receiving yards. Syracuse converted six of 13 on third downs, got a total 18 first downs, and earned 317 total yards on offense. Without a doubt, compared to the last two games Syracuse played, this offense looked geniuses.

Defense
B
While this defense was not the best we have seen all year, they clearly picked the right spots to be outstanding and tough, including several key stops on third down plays. Arthur Jones was simply everywhere he needed to be as he seemed to be right in the middle of every big defensive stop. Max Suter was even in on the defensive action breaking up passes. The defense really worked together, and although the pass defense was not that great at times, they again stepped up when needed to and delivered some big stops. Either way, you could tell that Notre Dame had trouble moving the ball against this Orange defense.

Special Teams
C+
Patrick “Sex Offender Mustache” Shadle was again outstanding for the most part, although he missed a 47 yard field goal attempt that looked absolutely terrible. Rob Long did his part by punting five times for 145 yards, but one of which basically resulted in a five yard punt after the return by Notre Dame. One punt was inside the 20 though. Mike Holmes and Antwon Bailey had six kick returns for 96 total yards. They could have done better, but they were acceptable in the situations. Since the offense was clicking, field position was mostly secondary to sustaining drives. Either way, the day was not great, but it was not bad either.
Coaching
B+
Despite what you think of Greg or the fact he was fired, he and his staff had their team prepared and ready on both offense and defense. They had a clear game plan for Notre Dame and executed it well and competently. The defense, lead by Jones, played superbly and only lapsed for a few fleeting moments. On offense, Syracuse stuck with the fun and it paid off in some long passing gains. Similarly, the defense had clear plans to attack Jimmy Clausen and they mostly did. The Notre Dame rushing attack was snuffed out from the start and that put all the pressure on Clausen, who responded well at times, but came up short, much like the Notre Dame kicker. You simply have to give credit to Robinson and the staff for not giving up or phoning this one in.

GPA
B (3.0)
Syracuse did the unthinkable and managed to beat a Notre Dame team in South Bend among one of the worst seasons in Syracuse history. Although this Notre Dame team has struggled this season, nothing should be taken away from this victory for Syracuse. These kids played hard for their head coach and they earned a well deserved win. Syracuse may not have played for anything worth while, but Syracuse loves to play spoiler and they played the roll well. Syracuse earns a hard fought win and gave Greg a nice parting gift that very well may be the most memorable victory for Syracuse in the Robinson era.

I do have to make a point to complement Greg Robinson. I have always thought Greg was a nice person and everyone backs up this assertion. However, while being interviewed by NBC he stopped the reporter and stated that he will wait until after the Notre Dame Alma Mater before continuing was easily the classiest thing I have seen in college football in a long time. Robinson showed a lot of class and just what a great person he is. He may not be the best coach, nor was he a great coach for Syracuse, but he sure was and is a classy, honorable person and that definitely showed this past weekend.

Syracuse has one game remaining. They travel to Cincinnati to take on a Bearcat team that just beat Pittsburgh for the first time. The game is next Saturday at 12:00pm. We will see if Syracuse responds in the same way. I am completely unsure as to which Syracuse team will show up, but this game leaves me hopeful for the future of the program. You can tell that these players, combined with renewed recruiting, and a brand new talented football coach, will result in a resurrection of the program in the near future at some point. While this game really meant relatively nothing, it left me with a huge hope and allowed me to celebrate and have one hell of a weekend, so thanks to Greg and his team for that. Stay tuned tomorrow for my Oakland recap, as well as a Florida preview. Take this week to harass any Notre Dame fans you know and revel in a rare football win and a win over a big time program.

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4 Responses to “Syracuse - Notre Dame Postgame Reactions OR OMFG AHHHHHH!”

  1. # Anonymous Vito

    While Greg's move during the interview was classy, when was the last time he stopped on the field during the Syracuse alma mater? Notre Dame loses embarrassingly and the team, coaches and fans all stand around to sing the alma mater. Syracuse wins or loses and the team is in the locker room before the clock even hits zero. The whole program has no sense of tradition or respect. Hopefully D.G. brings in a coach who can turn this thing around and make big strides both on and off the field.  

  2. # Blogger Brian Harrison

    I agree with you Vito. And if I recall, Greg at the start of his tenure did in fact do that kind of thing, but after year one scrapped that because more often than not they were receiving boos at the end of the game. Either way, respecting the Alma Mater and bringing about a stronger sense of tradition will go a long way in mending this broken program.  

  3. # Anonymous Anonymous

    Please, Su's alama mater is just another cheap copy of sounding like every other high schools alama mater. ND has a beautiful alma mater and is worth standing and listening to. BTW, sweet victory!  

  4. # Blogger Brian Harrison

    Leave it to a Notre Dame fan to hate on someone's Alma Mater, while Syracuse gave much respect to theirs, and didn't even leave their name. Probably one of the classless fans that threw snow balls at their own team and police.  

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