was tricked by Maine
to allow a lowly 1-AA team to have a halftime lead for Maine
in the Carrier Dome last season. This season, after a very lackluster opening quarter and allowing Maine
to both run and pass the ball a significant amount, it was almost the case. But Syracuse
earned a big touchdown after recovering a forced fumble. Syracuse
then rolled from there. The Orange
put away Maine
38 to 14.
Ryan Nassib threw for five touchdowns and 260 yards. While he struggled early, he ended up having a really nice day, picking apart the Maine secondary. Similarly, Alec Lemon started dreadfully, dropping two balls in the first series, but he stepped up his game and scored two touchdowns on five receptions for the day. Delone Carter had a stinker with only 65 yards on 15 carries and no touchdowns. Really, had it not been for Carter, the offense would probably have gotten an A. However, it was a nice day overall as the Orange earned 338 total yards and 17 first downs. The only true issue is they were 4-11 on third downs. That is abysmal against a team that Syracuse should have destroyed by late in the 2nd quarter.
Syracuse held Maine to only 14 points, neither of which came in the 2nd half. They held Maine to 125 yards and only 66 rushing yards. Maine was also held to only 4-14 on third down conversions and 3-5 on fourth down conversions. The defensive line was excellent in this game, earning a couple sacks and really played hard on every play, despite playing well over ten minutes over the first two Maine series. The secondary is still not as solid as they should be however. It was Phillip Thomas that was the big offender in this game for leaving his man too much room and allowing Maine to pass freely. However, overall they managed to force two turnovers in Maine territory, and that certainly helped give Syracuse the lead and then allowed them to get the final nail in the coffin in the fourth quarter. Thanks to my boy Chandler Jones, who had a great day on the line.
Syracuse got some great field position thanks to Mike Holmes who ran a country mile to put Syracuse into great field position in the second quarter after receiving a punt. For his hard work he earned some Big East love this week. Max Suter and Prince-Tyson Gulley were good in their kick return duties, especially considering their protection was compromised a bit to protect against onside kicks. Ross Krautman was asked to hit one field goal and he did from 32 yards out. He also made 5/5 extra points. Rob Long continues his Heisman campaign by punting five times for a total of 222 yards with a long of 56 yards and two inside the 20. A nice day overall.
Not too many difficult decisions for Doug Marrone and his staff. However, this season, as compared to last year, Marrone seems to be far more conservative with their offensive calls. Nothing to be concerned about just yet, but something interesting to note. Solid B effort on the day.
Syracuse did what they were supposed to do. After a suspicious start, and really a bad first quarter overall, Syracuse put the pedal to the metal right before the end of the first half to take the lead, and never looked back. Syracuse defense was solid in the second half, and Nassib proceeded to find every single open Syracuse receiver. A solid day, and the final result is exactly what was supposed to happen against a FCS team. Hopefully it will be an even bigger win margin against Syracuse’s next opponent on Saturday. For now, Syracuse wins their first hope opener since 2004.
A+ to Mike Veley who either headed my letter, or was smart enough to take it upon himself to step up his announcing game. He was excellent in calling the Maine contest, relaying information in a clear manner, used great inflection when something exciting happened on the field, and didn’t use any of those gimmicky phrases he has the past few years. Excellent job Mike.
A- to the Carrier Dome crowd. It was a loud and active crowd early in the game and it generally continued. Special shout out to the students in the student section who had that section packed at the start of the game. That’s how it should be all game every game.
A+ to Floyd Little, one of the all time greats of the game. He was back to be honored by his alma mater for being inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame this past summer. A class act and a true and loyal supporter of the Orange.
F to Verizon, and probably every other cell phone carrier, who cannot get a solid and consistent signal in the Carrier Dome no matter how many people are in there. I don’t need to be able to use my phone during a game, but you can be sure I’d like to.
D to my liver on the weekend. Normally you’re better than that.