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If there was a SkyCam, I'd be pointing at it right now... a winner.
Syracuse faced their third Big (11) Ten opponent in as many weeks. The first two outings were reputable, as you know, but still came up short in the one statistic that truly matters; wins. The third was much more successful in every aspect. Syracuse came out with guns blazing, and although there were some stumbles, Syracuse ended in exciting and winning fashion. Syracuse earns the first win of the Doug Marrone era over Northwestern 37 to 34.

Offense
A-
There were many things to be impressed by in this game. The first was the sixth best single game performance by an SU quarterback ever. Greg Paulus (24/35, 346yds, 2 TD, 1 INT) had the best game of his short career by finding Mike Williams (11rec, 209yds, 19.0avg, 1 TD) again and again. Williams also had a career day with 11 receptions and 209 yards. He currently ranks #8 nationally in both receptions per game and receiving yards per game. Delone Carter (18car, 84yds, 4.7avg, 1 TD) also had a nice day, and would have had a better day save for a holding penalty. Syracuse had 471 total yards, and more than Northwestern. Where the offense ruined their grade was ball security and third down conversions. Syracuse fumbled the ball several times, and luckily only lost it once. Additionally, although Syracuse earned 23 first downs, they only converted two of 12 third down opportunities. This is too low, and the ball needs to be more secure. However, you have to be impressed with the offensive performance overall last Saturday.

Defense
B-
Syracuse allowed Northwestern to earn 25 first downs, convert six of 14 third downs, and 466 total yards. QB Mike Kafka seemingly had his way with the Syracuse secondary a lot of the game, easily converting those six third downs, and earning three passing touchdowns, one rushing, and one receiving. Yes receiving. Syracuse fell right into the Northwestern trickery and could do nothing to stop it, including missing several tackles. But it is not all bad news. As expected, Syracuse run defense was outstanding, limiting Northwestern to 52 rush yards. Additionally, Syracuse was able to get to Kafka several times early on to cause two fumble turnovers. Also Max Suter had the interception to set up the game winning field goal. Overall though, Kafka had a career night passing, and the secondary still needs to get better.

Special Teams
B
For the first time in a long time the offense far outshines the special teams. In general there were many things that the special teams has been doing better than they executed in this game. Mike Jones dropped several punts that he elected to fair catch, and luckily recovered. This had not been a problem before though. Rob Long had a fairly good day punting, with five total for 236 yards and two inside the 20. However, he did shank a kickoff that caused Northwestern to start on the 40 yard line. Then there was Ryan Lichtenstein, who had a field goal blocked. However, the saving grace of the special team’s grade is the fact that Lichtenstein made three of four field goals, the longest of which was 43 yards. He also hit a 41 yard attempt with the time winding down to win the game. That saves a far worse grade for this unit this week.

Coaching
A
A solid effort from the coaches in this game. The offense utilized different packages that found obvious success in both passing and running the ball. The “Stallion” formation earned the yardage it was supposed to. Generally, the play calling kept Northwestern off their toes enough. The defense was excellent in stopping the run, and continued to find success in pressuring the quarterback. The timing of the ending field goal and the sequence to set up the kick from the middle of the hash marks was perfectly executed. I was skeptical about Marrone taking SU’s last time out early after the Suter interception, but he was smart to plan what to happen depending on the situation, and obviously it worked out for Syracuse. Kudos to the staff in this one.

GPA
B+ (3.35)
Syracuse entered the Carrier Dome with expectations of winning their first game, and they did it. While several people picked the Orange in this game, I simply thought that Northwestern was too talented for Syracuse to beat. I was glad to be wrong, and there was no way I could have predicted the welcomed emergence of Mike Williams and Greg Paulus connecting, as well as the ice water veins of Ryan LICHTENSTEIN. Syracuse played a great game, and were well rewarded with their first win.

Syracuse now turns their attention to FCS (1-AA) Maine, who should be a win for Syracuse if Syracuse does not look past this capable opponent. To prepare for this game we will have a very special guest joining me later today to discuss the upcoming match. Stay tuned later today for that, and some information on where you can hear a great interview with Delone Carter. Good stuff on tap today so stick around.

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