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Thanks to Alec and everyone else, we ended up losing.

Oof. Syracuse had the chance to lock down a bowl birth. They played Louisville in the Carrier Dome in front of over 40 thousand, Louisville had their backup quarterback and running back in the game, and Louisville had not won a road game in about three years. Sadly they were able to best Syracuse at their own game. Bowl eligibility has to wait another week as Louisville wins a close one 28 to 20.

Offense
C
When you boil this game down, Syracuse played well offensively in the first half, and just plain poor in the second half. Syracuse was able to move the ball and score, both on the ground and through the air, and most assuredly could not do the same I the second half, especially in the fourth quarter. Oh yeah, and then there were two absolutely horrific, stuff that nightmares are made of, kind of drops from Alec Lemon, one of which was when he was wide open and hit him right in the numbers. Analysis of the statistics will not make you feel better or provide any more answers. However, most of the fault will not lie on Ryan Nassib as overall he did a pretty good job on the day. The major fault of the offense stalling will lie on the offensive line and the wide receivers. They also couldn’t seem to put anything together late in the forth quarter. Give credit to Louisville, but Syracuse didn’t help themselves.

Defense
C
Similar to the offense, Syracuse played some disciplined defense in the first half, but couldn’t seem to stop much of anything in the second half. They held L’ville to around 300 total yards of offense, and while the passing yards were held in check (143), the rushing yards L’ville was able to pick up is fairly astounding (160). Syracuse did cause and recover a fumble, but in the second half Syracuse couldn’t stop L’ville from pounding the football down the field. The safeties gave too much room and made mistakes in leaving too many receivers open, the defensive line and front could not sufficiently stop the run, and no one really got to the quarterback except the one time that resulted in a fumble recovery for Syracuse. Oh yeah, and no one could make a tackle in the second half too. Arm tackles have not, nor will they ever work.

Special Teams
B
Nothing too special, but a solid day. Good returns from Mike Holmes and Dorian Graham to give Syracuse good starting field position. Rob Long was average to brilliant on the day, but did earn a penalty on a kickoff. Ross Krautman was 2/2 on field goals with the long being 42 yards. He also was perfect on extra point attempts.

Coaching
D
Syracuse failed to adjust to Louisville in the second half. I also honestly thought the play calling in this game on offense was not nearly as sharp as it has been in the past few contests. The staff did not take what L’ville was giving them and work with it. Instead it attempted a lot more passes than running. Additionally, specifically addressing the last six or so minutes in the game. Why would you, down by a score with around six minutes remaining and a forth and short not go for it even with the ball on your half of the field? Now a lot of people also ragged on Marrone for the challenging of the spot. I understand the reasoning behind it in that he was going call a TO anyway, therefore the challenge in that situation makes sense. However, why call that timeout if it was such a short distance for the conversion? Why not let the clock run on that play and stop it on the next series if you make them punt, which would make slightly more sense. Either way, they failed to execute a solid coaching plan in this one, compared to the last few games. They earned this grade.

GPA
C (2.0)
When it comes down to it, blame should get spread fairly evening in this loss. Depsite only being one score short, Syracuse made mistakes in this game they could never overcome, they never really felt in control, the defense failed to make plays, and the offense never clicked in the second half. A terrible way to lose, despite the game being as close as it was.

Intangibles

B to the number of people that showed up overall, as well as the noise they put into the game. The Dome was loud on third downs and other critical moments, and when the team requested the noise level rise it did. I heard some criticisms of the crowd after the game, but they just weren’t paying attention. This crowd was good.

D to the student section however. While the kids that did show up were loud and into the game (well done!), the overall number of students that showed up was piss poor. Your team was and is about to clinch a bowl birth for the first time in six years, the team is exciting to watch again, and you decide sleep is more important on a Saturday morning? You can sleep when you’re dead. You can never replace memories of solid home victories when you’re in college. Get to the Dome already.

Finally, in other news, the website Stadium Journey has rated the Carrier Dome. Our good friend Jameson Fleming was the guest reviewer, so it is definitely worth a look. Head over here, check out the site and the review and tell them what you think.

Syracuse now heads down to Rutgers, a team Syracuse put the beat down on at home last season. I think that could easily happen again with Syracuse earning critical win #7 in Piscataway. That is, if the weather isn’t too horrific. But as it stands it should be a solid 61 degrees and sunny for the 3:30 kickoff. More on that in this week’s preview coming on Friday.

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