Published on 10.12.2010 by Brian Harrison
Enjoy the celebrating. You earned it.
Not only has Syracuse won a Big East game, not only was it on the road, but it is the first win Syracuse has had over the South Florida Bulls in program history. A monumental win that shows a shift in the reputation of Syracuse. Despite the fact that the Big East is facing a down year, this is a game Syracuse would have never won two or three years ago. But they have done it. Syracuse is back and they are currently atop the Big East. Syracuse stormed into Tampa and pulls off a nice upset win against the Bulls 13 to nine.
The offense clearly looked its best as it has all season on their 98 yard TD scoring drive, capped off by a touchdown reception by Marcus Sales. The team’s longest drive of the season, Syracuse methodically and brilliantly moved the ball down the field using a mix of Carter, Bailey, and passes from Nassib to several receivers to move the ball down the field. Also impressively, there were no flags that sabotaged their efforts. Nassib had a good day earning 12/22, 129 yards, and one touchdown with no interceptions. Carter did not find the end zone, but he did do the dirty work on the ground, picking up 105 yards in the game on 26 carries, earning 4 yards per carry. Antwon Bailey also had an impressive day with nine carries for 81 yards, with a long of 31 plays. Van Chew continues to impress as a receiver with four receptions for 59 yards. A great effort on the day with 307 total yards, 17 first downs, and a reasonable 5-14 on third down conversions for SU. Syracuse also led in time of possession in the game with 32:47. A very nice day in a defensive, grinding kind of game.
Anytime you win the turnover battle you had a good day on defense. On top of that, Syracuse limited QB BJ Daniels of USF to only 9/23 for 124 yards and no touchdowns. They did intercept him twice on the day though. More importantly, they limited Daniels to -1 rushing yards and no big home run type pass plays. Multiple sacks on the afternoon were also huge. Da’Mon Merkerson had one interception in this game and actually played great coverage on the day, unlike some other games this season (Washington) when he seemed clueless on the field. He may be the defense’s most improved player so far this season. Jeremi Wilkes also had a nice pick, which he seemed to make effortlessly. #SHAMARKO Thomas made some mistakes in this game, but overall the coverage looked good. Syracuse limited USF to only 219 total yards, 13 first downs, and 5-16 on third down conversions. Overall a very solid day.
Stupid, stupid, stupid. On punt returns you need to know at all times where the ball is, where you are, and where you are in relations to the ball. No excuse for allowing a punt to touch you and then give the other team a free possession way further down the field. They also allowed USF to run a kickoff back 94 yards for a touchdown that put USF ahead until Syracuse finally managed a scoring drive again in the fourth quarter. Another bad day for special teams overall. However, Syracuse did block the extra point to keep it a game, which was a bit of redemption. Ross Krautman was a perfect 2/2 on field goals, the long being 41 yards. Rob Long was great as usual with six punts for 243 yards and two inside the 20 and one on the one yard line. Prince-Tyson Gulley was great on kick returns with three returns for 70 yards total. Really, everything was fine except for return coverage on both kicks and punts.
Overall not a bad day as the offensive plan was good, and the defense was pretty solid, pressuring USF’s Daniels to throw two picks. However there were far too many penalties again. As the season goes on these mental mistakes are supposed to decrease and they have not done so yet. That falls on the coaching staff. 12 penalties for 87 yards is too much. Similarly, Special Teams Coordinator Bob Casullo needs to get his act together finally. All these teams cannot simply be superior in special teams. This is a Syracuse problem. And it needs to be fixed.
This is a big win for the program. Syracuse still made some sloppy mental mistakes but played well when they needed to. They executed their best drive of the season to score and go ahead of the Bulls and the defense did not relent on BJ Daniels all day. This was a huge win and a big road win in the Big East. Now Syracuse needs to keep the momentum up, but to earn a first win again USF in program history, and have the best season record of 4-1 since 1999, Syracuse is looking and feeling pretty good right now.
C- to the South Florida Marching Band. Learn more than one song will you?
A- to the Syracuse faithful in the greater Tampa area and beyond who made the trip down. The crowd was audible on the TV and were clearly a lift to the Syracuse players out on the field.
A+ for the team heading immediately to the Varsity and flipping the South Florida banner upon landing. Brilliant.