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If Doug had his hands buried in his face he would be the fans.
What year is this? Where am I? Why does my football team have to continue to absolutely insist on being terrible. We used to have people like Donovan McNabb and Marvin Harrison and Dwight Freeney not that long ago. I’m overreacting, but if you were in the Carrier Dome this past Saturday you would feel like I did; terrible. That game was awful to watch, painful to see, and unpleasant at best. West Virginia beats Syracuse High School 34 to 13.

Offense
F
I’ve finally given an actual failing grade for one of these, I was that upset with their performance. Ryan Nassib deserves some credit. He got thrown into the game in the second half and played like he was a starter. He was calm and cool in the pocket, made good decisions, and his arm was dead on accurate. That cannot be said for Greg Paulus who played terrible in the first half. He ran all around, failed to see open receivers, under threw the ball, and just looked like a third rate QB. The horrific number of drops was also outrageous. Donte Davis had one of the absolute worst drops I have seen in a game in a few years. Mike Williams was about the only receiver in this game that didn’t have some sort of horrific drop it seems. The offensive line was about the only good unit for the offense, and that is saying something. They only finish with 222 total yards (150 passing, 72 rush), but the big statistic is Syracuse 0-11 on third down conversions. Just a terrible day for the offense, and easily the worst game we have seen out of the offense all year.

Defense
C+
Nothing special here, but nothing too egregious like the offense’s ineptitude. The secondary was predictably burned several times, but other times they managed to hold their ground. They were helped out in the second half by several WVU drops, but sometimes they did have good coverage and made receivers miss. They allowed 385 total yards from WVU however, and let Syracuse get down 27-0 at the half. They did manage to force and recover a WVU fumble though, and limited Jarrett Brown’s rushing as they were supposed to. Either way, we knew WVU was a better team, so this defensive effort was probably expected and they managed to not give up any horrifically huge plays like in the USF game. So a better job, but still much to improve.

Special Teams
C+
Ryan LICHTENSTEIN did not attempt any field goals, but he did have two extra point attempts. One of which was missed. A fitting way to end SU’s first scoring drive in the second half. Rob Long punted very well though. He booted nine times for a total of 381 yards, and four were pinned behind the 20. Unfortunately WVU could almost move the ball at will. Mike Jones and Averin Collier did a nice job on kick returns though, putting Syracuse in good field position several times. Nothing special here either, and missing an extra point is NEVER good.

Coaching
D-
When you know that West Virginia has a shaky secondary like Syracuse, and you have Mike Williams as a receiver, why would you not throw the ball more. Also, after getting a ten yard holding penalty on first down, would you call a run up the middle? Coach P would have. This staff did as well. Either way, Marrone’s obsession with having a balanced attack of 50/50 run and pass is a pipe dream. Syracuse should go to the air early and often until other teams prove they can stop the attack. Of course I say this assuming that our QB’s will not throw directly at the opposing defenders, and that is a big assumption. Either way you get my point about the play calling. If you fail to exploit the weaknesses of the opposing teams, it is basically handing the game over. Unacceptable, and Marrone should know this.

GPA
D+ (1.23)
This game was a huge step back for the team. It was miserable to watch in the Dome, miserable to see on television I’m guessing, and miserable execution on the field. Again, I called this game a loss, but I also thought this Syracuse team would make some plays. Instead they seemed unprepared and not ready to play. Syracuse looked like a last place team again, and that is not going to help the program at all.

Other
We start a new section on the postgame reactions this week, in which I discuss various odds and ends to the game day.

First, A+ to the Syracuse University Marching Band, the Pride of the Orange, for their work on Saturday. They were scheduled to play their usual half time but had to call the audible because of course Syracuse’s marketing people cannot plan anything out correctly so of course the halftime dedication of the field took too long. Instead they played a postgame show, and it was outstanding. Easily one of the best performances I have seen from a college band. As a former member and staff member I am once again very proud to be associated with the SUMB. This may sound like I’m just blowing sunshine, but I am usually overly critical of them, and this time they delivered.

D to the Carrier Dome for playing “We’re Not Gonna Take It” after every single WVU score, and “Start Me Up” when Syracuse started every drive. Carrier Dome, it doesn’t work, sounds stupid, and we already have a band.

B+ to the Carrier Dome staff that made the switch from the four slotted beer carriers to the two slotted ones. At least the environment will be slightly saved by the efforts. I blame our video for the change.

B+ to the Syracuse Twitterati who by the end of the game was just changing Ben Folds lyrics to fit Syracuse. It made me smile at the end of a horrific game.

B+ to the WVU fans in the Dome. Usually they are rowdy or obnoxious, but I think they were generally reasonable and under control for once. Good for you guys.
C to the people that put down "Ernie Davis Legends Field" on the turf. "Legends Field" looks fine, but the font for Ernie Davis was a poor choice. Frankly, it should have probably all been the same in the standard Syracuse block font.
F to the people that put down the "44" in the coaching box. It should be on the field and very prominent, not hidden under Doug Marrone's feet.
B to the female Mountaineer on hand for West Virginia. She actually did a nice job, and dare I say, seemed to be fairly attractive. Damn, I just punched my ticket straight to hell didn't I? I'm still pissed I can't yell "your mascot is just a dude with a gun" now though.

D to the first down thing that WVU does on every single first down. It is just stupid, and I’m surprised more WVU fans don’t think so as well.

F to the Student Section. I know it is a nooner, but give me a break. There were more kids at the Maine game and I’m sure they were mostly drinking all day and they still showed up. Shame on the students this week, who I guess are more fair weather than the Syracuse community.

Syracuse now heads into a much needed bye week. Maybe they will regroup against the much easier Akron team they will face in two weeks. They should, as even DOCTOR Gross knows Syracuse should beat Akron 100 out of 100 times. If not, you will see an even further drop in bodies in the seats. Marrone has a lot of work to do in the short run.
Also of interest, I'll be on Matt Mc's Sports Fix to discuss this game with him at around 4:25, or catch the podcast of the show on the right side here.

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1 Responses to “West Virginia - Syracuse Postgame Reactions OR That Old Familiar Feeling”

  1. # Blogger Sammy

    I'd much rather play to that crowd any day, as opposed to thousands of people that don't give a damn. That postgame show was probably the most fun "halftime" I've ever been a part of.  

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