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Doug Marrone attempting to get the officials to make basic calls.

Syracuse had high hopes and its best team in six years. But it wasn’t enough to overcome a terrible offensive day. Syracuse fell to Connecticut in an ugly affair 23 to six.

Offense
D
This was the worst the Syracuse offense has been all season. Ryan Nassib (20/36, 171yds, 0 TD, 1 INT) looked dreadful for the majority of the game. And every time he seemed to look like he was finding a rhythm someone on his team would commit a penalty and instead of having ten yards to gain it would be 15. Delone Carter was mostly ineffective in only earning 67 yards on 19 carries. The majority of the time he was either stopped at the line or ran east/west instead of north/south. Overall the wide receivers played really well in this game, but at key moments they had big drops yet again. This was a nightmarish day for the offense, and despite trying several plays from the shotgun, they actually managed no points. Only 235 yards and going 4-15 on third down is not good. Connecticut’s defense is pretty good, but mistakes, penalties, and failures to execute were the true causes of Syracuse’s woes.

Defense
B+
The defense was literally the only bright spot on Syracuse’s day. Syracuse held Connecticut to only 254 yards and under 100 yards through the air. They also held Connecticut to a stingy 2-12 on third downs. But that being said UConn was 2-2 on fourth down and were allowed to make big plays as the defense again used soft zone coverage against the wide receivers of the Huskies so they converted without it being too hard. However, overall it was another pretty good day for the defense. After all, the majority of UConn’s scores were due to mistakes and turnovers by the offense. They even did a similar feat as at Rutgers by sacking the quarterback which led to a field goal miss by Connecticut. A good day overall.

Special Teams
C-
Shankapotomus reared his ugly head for Rob Long, who had maybe the worst game of his career with a pretty hideous shank when punting. Also, Mike Holmes had a similar problem to Delone Carter, not running down the field. Ross Krautman was a perfect 2/2 on the day and continues to be rock solid. Dorian Graham was also average to great on kick returns as well. A middle of the road day. Thanks for your service Bob.

Coaching
B-
There were no major gaffes or objectionable calls. But two questions remain on the day. First, why would you not perhaps challenge the fumble by Ryan Nassib on the four yard line. With three time outs, despite it being early in the third quarter why would you not try to get that ball back? Additionally, why was the offensive game plan still so conservative? After Syracuse took a shot on their first play on offense, despite the ball being thrown out of bounds, would you not take another now and then to keep the defense honest? There were literally only two deep balls thrown on the day. Too conservative again, and hopefully Marrone will expand the playbook and really use the extra month of practice to rest up, get their top talent ready, and really open the playbook up.

GPA
C (1.925)
This game was a nightmare, not only because of the offense, but because this was against Connecticut. On top of that, Syracuse is better than this and they have not been able to play well at home in the league. Hopefully Syracuse will rebound for next week, but at the very least they have an extra month of practice to open up the playbook, rest up, and be fully prepared to execute an offensive game plan that is balanced and can keep defenses off balance.

Intangibles

C- to the referee crew. While certainly far from the worst crew we have seen this season (See Pittsburgh, Rutgers [same crew]), they missed a blatant delay of game call on Connecticut after the play clock was on 00 for about two seconds. Doug Marrone was livid and I was too. The back judge is suppose to be watching that, and no one was. Connecticut went on to score on that drive and that was a third down play that they converted on. While it didn’t matter in the final score that is an inexcusable miss for a division 1 crew.

A- to the crowd in the Carrier Dome who were loud, into the game when prompted by the players, and never gave Connecticut a free play on third down by being quiet. Despite them leaving early which I addressed above, they were a great crowd and the year’s largest.

A+ to all the Syracuse internet famous hanging out in the back room at Faegan’s and in the various parking lots all weekend in Syracuse. I completely enjoyed meeting you all at various points and it was a great weekend. Sadly you couldn’t see a better game.

Syracuse is still going to a bowl, but beating Connecticut would have been nice. Either way we now turn our attention to turkey and then a renewed rivalry with Boston College, a team that Syracuse sent to the ACC with a pair of losses from the Dome and in Chestnut Hill. This game means a lot for many alumni and long time Syracuse football fans. I’m sure it won’t be lost on Doug Marrone as well. This game is a noon affair, but this time on the flagship station ESPN. For Boston, for Boston… the outhouse on the hill. A better bowl is at stake, along with pride and the legacy of Diamond Ferri.

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