One for the record books
After the first quarter of the game Saturday night against Maine, I was bordering somewhere between miserable and furious. The Syracuse offense was virtually non-existent. They showed some signs of life in the second quarter, but really woke up in the second half, ultimately posting a 38-14 victory.
The big story of the day was that Ryan Nassib threw for a new school record 5 touchdowns. Pretty impressive. Nassib's stat line: 19 completions on 28 attempts (67.9%) for 260 yards, no interceptions, and of course, the previously mentioned 5 TDs. To have put up stats like that really surprised me, since I was really anticipating Syracuse to run the ball all day. I think the continued issues with the offensive line limited the Syracuse run game. Despite that, Ryan Nassib was able to get his job done, and done well. With Aaron Weaver gone for the season, he found his receiver choices diminished, completing passes to five different receivers.
It wasn't all happy, fun times, though. I didn't count, but there were several passes thrown by Nassib in this game that hit the receivers, and the receivers didn't catch. Dropsies. Awful. It's very clear to me that Nassib has a very strong, accurate arm. So why can't these guys catch passes? Luckily, I believe most of these drops happened earlier in the game, so they finally got their act together as the game progressed, and, well, 5 TDs later, we were celebrating a victory.
Back to the Aaron Weaver situation. With him tearing his ACL in practice last week, he leaves a huge hole in this receiving corps. To say he was missed is an understatement. It's a shame for the group, because I think he was developing into their leader, and the guy Nassib could count on to be open (and catch the ball) when called on. The big question now, for the offense, is who will step up and fill those shoes.
Van Chew had the most catches with 7, but Nick Provo and Alec Lemon were right behind him with 5 each. Obviously having the tight end play adds another dimension to the offense and gives Nassib another option out there. Chew and Lemon need to keep up that good work out there. Except for the Lemon drop. Those should only be seen in bars, not on football fields.
So where does this leave us? Well, ultimately, Ryan Nassib can only be as good as his receivers allow. There's no doubt he has the talent, the skills, and the knowledge to be a great quarterback. I see it as a blessing that Colgate is the next game. This will give the offense another chance to showcase itself and hone its skills before heading into what looks to be a daunting October.
Against Colgate, I don't expect Nassib to match or break his new school record for touchdown passes, but 4 isn't out of the question. He should easily reach 300+ yards in this game. But, as is usually my luck, this Colgate game will probably be the game Syracuse decides to rush for 300 yards instead. At the end of the day, of course, I don't care. A W is a W.