0 Comments Published on 11.30.2010 by Brian Harrison
In this picture clearly Syracuse is Charlie Brown.There were high hopes for the last game of the season. Unfortunately Syracuse played their worst game of the season against an old rival, and of course it was in the Carrier Dome. Let us just go straight to the analysis.
Ryan Nassib (15/24, 147yds, 0 TD, 1 INT) was dreadful. Even worse than the last game. It was a fitting end to his day to get intercepted. He repeatedly overthrew or underthrew his receivers and continues to show little skill in evading defenders closing in on his pocket by stepping forward like he did in earlier games. Delone Carter was banged up for most of the second half, so the majority of runs rested on Antwon Bailey. While he stepped in nicely (18car, 72yds, 4.0avg, 1 TD), he was unable to consistently gain 2 yards on command, which was a problem when trying to convert on third and short. The bright spot in the offense was the wide receivers who were fairly consistent in catching fairly well thrown balls. Marcus Sales was again the MVP for the receiving corps, earning 73yds on five receptions. The offensive line did pretty well, but I’m definitely on board with thinking a division 1 center should be able to do a shotgun snap. Honestly, had it not been for the touchdown drive to start the second half this unit would have received an F. 2-9 on third downs and 238 total yards is pathetic after some of the games Syracuse played earlier in the season. And for this to continually happen at home is odd and ridiculous. The offense has regressed and it was pretty hard to watch them struggle. It looked like 2007 all over again.
Not one of the proudest days for this tough defense. To allow another team to simply continue to run the ball (with yet another backup running back I might add, again) was another regression for this team. BC’s running back carried 42 times, earned 185 yards, and a touchdown. And he earned it on basic runs to the outside, through holes, and moving the chains on third and short. BC converted 11-18 third downs. That is embarrassing honestly.
A week after firing their special teams coordinator and I suppose this game was evidence that that move was a correct one. The special teams were very special in earning around four penalties to bring the team back to a more difficult starting field position, negating any real good special team plays. Rob Long, once and for all, derailed his Heisman bid after shanking one punt real bad, and moderately shanking another. Ross Krautman never had to attempt a field goal but he was perfect on his extra point. He’s clearly the MVP of the special teams on the season. But a bad Saturday for everyone on this game.
The fact that Syracuse lost this game was not that of the coaches or their plans. But to have taken virtually no shots down the field, including any in the final drive before the interception, to extend the vertical passing game seems foolish. Especially when the wide receivers have had a couple good games recently. Then there was not going for it on fourth down with just over five minutes to go. I’ve heard his explanation about playing percentages, and what makes sense in terms of a rational argument. However, when you are down two scores you have to score either way, and with time ticking down it seems that scoring earlier has to be the priority and the most likely percentage for success. Not going for it at that point is still pretty mind boggling to me.
This game was pretty terrible to see, especially in the second half. Syracuse looked like a shell of it’s former self and I can only assume it has to be due to the players being mentally and physically banged up, along with the pressure and motivation meeting their goal of a bowl game being nonexistent because it was met. Either way, it’s a good thing Syracuse can take a week or two off and then have a bunch of extra practices in preparation for a bowl game. They will need it. But hey, the Bronx will be fun right?
B+ to the crowd, the biggest of the season. Syracuse didn’t really gain any benefits from the extra loud crowd except BC burning a time out or two, but it was fun in the first half, and good to see.
Football is done for now, but not done for the year. Stay tuned later this week for some reactions on how the Big East could shake out, the TCU business, and possible bowls for the Big East. We’ll find out the official bowl list on the 4th, but it seems all but certain Syracuse will be bowling in the Bronx. Either way, it’s pretty good to see us bowling and earning a winning season. I guess it’s even better that we’re really disappointed with how we played at home and the end of the season as it shows just how far we’ve come.