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Monday Morning Quarterback 12/27/10

Final stop? Concrete jungle where dreams are made of

The Syracuse Orange return to the bowl scene this Thursday as they will play the Kansas State Wildcats in the inaugural New Era Pinstripe Bowl at the new Yankee Stadium. Neither team has played in a month, so they both will be fresh, knowledgeable about the other team, and will leave it all out on the field.

Ryan Nassib will no doubt be taking the snaps for Syracuse. The young redshirt sophomore we saw grow up during the season had a very rough second half to the season, particularly November. But that was a month ago. That was with the grueling week-to-week schedule. He’s now had all this time to focus on the Wildcats, to find their vulnerabilities, to study film to his heart’s content, and to be ready to give it his all.

Important to Nassib’s success will be whether his receivers can play well. All season long we’ve seen a receiving corps struggle with drops, with errant routes, with not getting open. Really, though, I think the key to whether the passing game opens up rests on how successful Delone Carter and/or Antwon Bailey are at running the ball. It looks like the Kansas State defense is vulnerable to giving up a lot of yards on the ground, so hopefully Syracuse can exploit that.

Lastly, I sure hope Doug Marrone has been working these linemen hard during these extra practices. If the line can open up lanes for the running backs, the ground game will excel. If the running game takes off, Nassib will have the opportunity to mix things up and pass the ball more. I’m predicting an offensive explosion from Syracuse, with Nassib throwing for over 200 yards, and the two-headed running monsters racking up 200+ yards on the ground. I’ll be watching from Section 236, so I hope the Orangemen deliver for me!

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