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This look says it all.
Hey, at this point a win is a win right? When it was all said and done, Syracuse did what they were supposed to do. They beat Maine, and they beat them by a good number of points. Was the first half ugly? Yeah. Congratulations to Maine for earning the biggest Moral Victory of the Week; leading at the half. Syracuse came out and finished the job, beating Maine (#BeatMaine) 41 to 24. If you are a longtime reader, you know that for any FCS (1-AA) opponent Syracuse faces, rather than using the standard grading rubric of A, B, C, D, and F, we use a simple Pass/Fail system, as beating an FCS opponent, much like that tennis class you took at Drumlins, should not count to boost your GPA. Let us proceed.

Syracuse had 20 first downs, converted twice on two forth down attempts, earned 385 total yards (270 passing, 115 rushing), and put up 41 points. Not a bad day against any team. Greg Paulus (21/28, 270yds, 2 TD, 0 INT) had an excellent day by the numbers, but really he just went out there and did his job. Delone Carter didn’t have the yardage he should have (72yds), but he did have four total touchdowns, which is a big day for him. What the offense did not do was convert on third downs, only doing so once out of eight third down opportunities. Really, this is the only troublesome thing about this offense currently though. The offensive line deserves some kudos for protecting Greg Paulus enough to throw some fakes in and hit Marcus Sales in stride for a big touchdown in the second half. Additionally they opened a huge hole for Delone Carter to score a big touchdown in the third as well. The biggest interesting statistic is that 11 different receivers got the ball in this game. Overall, a fine day for the offense.

I honestly wanted to give this team a fail here. Allowing a team from 1-AA to get as many first downs as your team is frankly unacceptable. However, if this was a normal team they would have only gotten a C or something like that. Therefore, they don’t quite deserve a fail. After all, they did end up winning the game. Because of that, they get a pass from me on this one. However, if they allow 430 total yards next week, we are looking at an awful long afternoon. Two interceptions help though, from Doug Hogue and Kevyn Scott.

Special Teams
When you let Maine recover two onside kicks and convert a couple of fake punts you have not done your job. Rob Long punted well, Ryan LICHTENSTEIN hit two field goals and all the extra points. You’ll only remember seeing the Syracuse special teams running helpless as Maine converted a fourth down. That is a fail.

This is barely a fail, but this is Maine. The stakes are low and we got a win, but being real for a moment, how do you not prepare your team for all the trickery that you should have known a team with nothing to lose that is inferior would use? Coach Bob Casullo, the special teams coach, should have prepared his team, and should have known the Maine personal enough to at least spot the second fake punt and other such things. Also, how do you not get your team to give the intensity they needed to in the first half. Also, am I the only one that felt that the play calling in the first half was too conservative? There is a difference between playing safe and playing effective. When you know Mike Williams is faster than any defensive player Maine has, take some shots. Too conservative for mine, and apparently the game’s taste, as Syracuse was down at the half.

Final Grade
Look, this was a win. I take a lot of grief from my friends for being too easy on the team in my grades, but I just handed out two fails here. Maine should not have had this game at the half, nor should they have been allowed to gain that many yards or put up that many points. I give credit to Maine. Clearly they are one of the better teams in 1-AA, but clearly Syracuse did fall into the mentality of looking past this team, and Syracuse cannot take a half of football off like that. This is a pass, just because it was a win.

Syracuse now looks to open conference play versus South Florida this coming Saturday at high noon for a Homecoming affair. This will be a true test to see how good this Syracuse, and to an extent South Florida, really is. It will not be an easy game, so we will find out what this team is made of and if they can respond when they are down, or conversely if they can hold a lead against a very good team. For now, they can rejoice, along with us fans, in the fact that this is a .500 team. And with a win, comes time to flip a banner.


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