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Syracuse had yet another conference road game in the month of October. This time it was visiting back to back Big East Conference Champions the Cincinnati Bearcats. After the last big road win Syracuse played a stinker of a game against Pitt at home. This next big road win would be different. Syracuse remained disciplined and Syracuse played a great game in front of another hostile Homecoming crowd. Syracuse defeated the Bearcats for another big road win 31 to seven.

Offense
B

This was a fairly typical game from what we have seen of Syracuse on the road in terms of what they tried to do on offense. Syracuse relied on its one-two punch of Delone Carter (19car, 109yds, 5.7avg, 0 TD) and Antwon Bailey (14car, 44yds, 1 TD, 4rec, 24yds, 1 TD) to grind out yards and control the clock, and Ryan Nassib (16/26, 125yds, 2 TD, 1 INT) to make good throws when called upon. Despite throwing one pick and having one lost fumble, he played well, including hitting TE Nick Provo for a game changing conversion on fourth down in the second quarter to keep a drive alive that lead to Syracuse’s first touchdown. And it was one of those days that everything seemed to be in Syracuse’s favor. Both the interception and the lost fumble never hurt Syracuse as Cincinnati went three and out on each recovery. And even when the fullback fumbled the ball at the goal line, Ryan Bartholomew pounced on it and earned Syracuse another touchdown. Conversely, the Syracuse offense was able to capitalize on Cincinnati mistakes by not only gaining good field position, but also scoring in the form of 17 points of turnovers. The red zone scoring also improved as Syracuse earned four touchdowns and only had to settle for a field goal once. They also did better on third down conversions, earning 7-15. Only 262 total yards of offense, but the time of possession for Syracuse was 35:20, good enough for a very solid victory. The lack of yardage is also a result of great field position on several drives and defensive turnovers created.

Defense
A

Another solid day for what should be considered the one of the toughest defenses in the league. Syracuse held another Big East team scoreless in the second half, and Syracuse held Cincinnati scoreless in three quarters. Derrell Smith had a massive play at the start of the second half to stop Cincinnati’s potential scoring drive by earning another goal line interception with a 60 yard return for Syracuse. Would the defense have faired less well if Zach Collaros was behind center? Probably, but it seems likely that the game would have been closer but Syracuse would have still led because of the way they played and the way the offense worked against the Cincy defense. But overall it was another top notch day in causing three turnovers that Syracuse scored off of.

Special Teams
B

Nothing too notable in the special teams game for this contest. But they did what they needed to do, they did not turn the ball over giving a free possession to the other team, and they prevented any returns for touchdowns. Rob Long punted four times for a total of 167 yards, one of which was behind the 20. Ross Krautman hit one field goal attempt for 26 yards, and was 4/4 on extra points. A solid day and a big improvement over last week.

Coaching
B+

Scott Shafer again had a solid defensive game plan. The offensive plan was a little more conservative than what I thought it should be on the road, but you can’t complain about a 24 point victory. Either way, a solid day, and another second half adjustment prevented the other team from scoring. So far so good for this staff.

GPA
B+ (3.325)

Syracuse played a great game. Chances are this would have been closer as I stated of Collaros had played, but he didn’t. Syracuse took what the other teams gave them. That included three turnovers with favorable field position. The offense kept scoring and the defense kept stopping Cincinnati. Syracuse never trailed and were in complete control after the second quarter. The weekend could not have gone better for Syracuse on the day.

Intangibles
A for the reaction of all the players and Doug Marrone. This game was a nice win on the road against a team that has killed us the last several years, but this was the sixth win in a year where only seven or more matter. They are keeping a humble, healthy attitude and that’s refreshing so they stay focused.

C- to the ESPN U crew on this game. It’s Alec Lemon, not Alex. It helps when you pronounce our QB’s name right. Don’t you people have meetings before games for this kind of thing?

A to Syracuse for going 3-0 on the road in October ruining other team’s Homecoming games. Hey Big East, you might not want to pick Syracuse for your Homecoming next year. Just a thought.

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