Syracuse has a pretty important game this Saturday with Cincinnati. Cincinnati has been one of those up and down teams in the league this year (like everyone else) so I thought we better go to the expert. The first Cincinnati blogger out there was Scott King of Bearcats Blog. So he's basically the Orange::44 of Cincinnati blogs. He was nice enough to take some time and answer some questions on the upcoming game and just what the hell is going on with the league this year. Enjoy.
1. Orange::44: Admit it. You're kind of impressed with how Syracuse is playing right now and this season?
Bearcats Blog: Of course. If someone says they aren't impressed with the Orange, they are lying liars who lie. Syracuse stopped WVU after the first quarter, and generally tortured Geno Smith. The running game has been very impressive. I like Antwon Bailey a whole lot, and even with Carter playing, I'm worried about Bailey.
2. Orange::44: Cincinnati went down to the wire, but just couldn't seem to hold off or beat USF. What are the main issues with Cincinnati right now?
BB: The main thing that stands out to me are gigantic lapses in concentration. The defense will play well, but get lost on an assignment that ends up being a TD. It happened on the spectacular Powell run against Louisville, and it happened at least three times on huge pass plays against USF. The offense had a ton of drops against USF, including what could have been a first down at the end of the game. The offensive line is still an issue. The Bearcats couldn't run the ball against Fresno or USF, which is rather odd because they both have SFU in their initials. If Syracuse stuffs the UC run, I'll add an f to make it 3 for 3.
3. Orange::44: Zach Collaros is on crutches. His start appears doubtful versus Syracuse. Your thoughts?
BB: Obviously it's a huge blow the way he's been playing the past few weeks. Chazz Anderson has started a couple of games, and splits with Collaros in practice, but he's obviously not to the level of Collaros. Anderson has talent, but it is an unknown. He can make throws, and Cincinnati has had pretty good success with their back ups the past few years.
4. Orange::44: Give me your best explanation of what the heck is going on in the Big East this year?
BB: The talent levels have become closer. Granted, some of the teams have much better talent, but their players are inexperienced or injured. Everyone has some players. The new coaches have brought something new to the conference as well. Charlie Strong and Doug Marrone have gotten the programs turned around. Butch Jones and Skip Holtz are suffering from a talent/experience drop off in their programs. I still expect WVU and Pitt to battle for the title, just like everyone thought in the preseason. In that way, nothing has changed.
5. Orange::44: What will the key matchups be in the Syracuse / Cincinnati tilt?
BB: The Syracuse OLine v. the Cincinnati DLine. The Bearcats were pushed around by Louisville to the extreme. Syracuse, like Louisville, isn't going to beat Cincinnati throwing the ball, so it's very important to contain the run. If the Orange can use ball control and clock control, they can keep it close. Fresno St did that to UC last year.
6. Orange::44: Finally, how do you see the game going and what is your final score?
BB: I think it's going to be a good game. I don't really see a ton of points being scored. I think the Bearcats will find a way to win however, because I'm a pretty big homer. It's probably the biggest game of the UC season, because they would have to pretty much win out to get a bowl game if they lose. I'll say Cincinnati 24, Syracuse 20.
Thanks to Scott for the insight and the time. You can follow him on twitter right here. It's good stuff. My answers to his questions are posted here, so you should check those out as well. Should be a good one this Saturday folks, with a decent amount riding on it for both teams. Be sure to check out Bearcats Blog for the Cincinnati prospective leading up to the game.
I was wrong. I am completely fine with being wrong. All logic dictated that Syracuse should and would lose in Morgantown this past weekend. Syracuse had not beaten West Virginia since 2001. West Virginia was ranked the 20th best team in the country. By all measures West Virginia had more talent than Syracuse. None of it mattered. The Syracuse defense, and the team as a whole, did just enough to beat West Virginia, get back to second place in the Big East, and beat the #20 team in the nation. They earned respect and a statement win of this program in the Doug Marrone era. West Virginia falls to the Orange 19 to 14.
This really isn’t the offense’s fault. Syracuse was facing one of the toughest defenses in the country. Delone Carter was knocked out in the second quarter with a bruised hip. Syracuse faced a lot of adversity in this one, and still somehow managed to play a smart, grinding football game that really put a premium on field position. Ryan Nassib (5/15, 63yds, 1 TD, 0 INT) did not dazzle anyone with his effort on the day. But he managed to do what Syracuse needed. He held onto the ball and did not give it away to West Virginia. Delone Carter finished with 75 yards on nine carries before he left, and then Antwon Bailey took over nicely, earning 94 yards on 19 carries. Syracuse again needs to improve its third down conversions as they only had four of 14 as well. They only earned 246 yards on the day, which was a problem as well. Syracuse failed to earn seven points on several red zone trips, having to settle for field goals. Granted they were facing a tough defense, but Syracuse needs to find a way to score in those situations. Overall an average day for the offense, but it was enough, which against this tough a team is pretty astounding.
The defense is the reason Syracuse won the game. Syracuse held West Virginia scoreless for the final three quarters of this game. Not only that, but Syracuse intercepted Geno Smith three times, one of which from inside the end zone. Smith was held to only 178 yards and a touchdown as well. The Syracuse secondary, on occasion, would allow a somewhat big or important pass play in this game to allow drives to continue. They also received some costly personal foul penalties, most correct, some not. However, West Virginia only went 6-17 on third down conversions, 1-2 on fourth down conversions, and only gained 284 total yards on the day. For a defense that was essentially outmatched on paper, they sure got to the quarterback, pressured him, and after his second interception, Smith was clearly shaken the rest of the day. This was an excellent effort from Doug Hogue, Chandler Jones, Mikhail Marinovich, and the entire front seven. And the secondary held when they needed too as well.
This grade should be lower. Max Suter gave West Virginia a free possession well into their own territory, which is still unacceptable. However Ross Krautman kicked four field goals (28, 19, 33, 22) and an extra point on the day which gave Syracuse the scoring edge. Additionally, Rob Long finally proved he deserved to be mentioned as the best punter in the league after some marginal games. He kicked six times for a total of 310 yards, two of which were inside the 20, and one that landed on the six yard line that was brilliantly covered by the team. Additionally, the punt coverage, and even kick coverage this game, were excellent.
How perfect was the defensive game plan from Scott Shafer? You saw various coverages in this game that we have not seen before, including showing false blitzes and then dropping back in coverage. And Geno Smith looked bewildered by the coverage on several occasions. You saw this after an adjustment as well. In the first few series Geno Smith and the WVU defense moved the ball with relative ease. After scoring their second touchdown West Virginia failed to score again. That was huge and excellent coaching on the part of Syracuse. While the offense couldn’t really adjust, they still got some key first downs when needed, and the calls were good, they were simply getting beat by an excellent West Virginia defense. A very solid day from the standpoint of the staff though.
“The defense played lights out today. There’s no arguing that.” That quote from QB Ryan Nassib sums up the day perfectly. Football is a team game, and the 11 players on defense deserve a hell of a lot of credit for this win. West Virginia, due to their long, sustained drive at the end of the game ultimately to no avail, gave WVU the time of possession edge. The Syracuse defense held strong, and in four down territory provided the coverage needed to prevent a Geno Smith pass, but also the pressure to get to him and sack him twice in a row to end the WVU drive and assure Syracuse the victory. While there are still some problems with the offense in a game like this, you cannot be too upset by beating the #20 team in the country through field position, physical defense, and being smart with the football.
Syracuse next takes on Cincinnati. The Orange are 2-0 on opponent’s Homecomings. It is Cincinnati’s Homecoming this upcoming weekend. Additionally, Cincinnati is coming off a weeknight loss to USF, a team that looks to have its act together. Cincinnati has been, like every team in the Big East, pretty bi-polar. On occasion looking good, other times looking bad. Either way, it should be an entertaining game and another opportunity for Syracuse to show what they are capable and demonstrate that this is a solid football team and that they simply had a bad game against Pittsburgh. Either way, should be an entertaining one.
Syracuse never seemed to be in a rhythm all day except for their first scoring drive in the first half, including a long pass and catch to Alec Lemon and some solid running by Delone Carter. After that Syracuse appeared to be in shambles on offense. While gaining more first downs than Pittsburgh (21), they were only 4-13 on third down conversions. Similarly, even though Ryan Nassib racked up an reasonable 231 yards in the air, he never looked great only earning one touchdown and two interceptions. While one interception was a tipped ball, the other was totally his fault and he looked dull all day. In 25 total rush attempts, only 77 yards were gained as well, equaling a not great and not bad day on the field.
Pittsburgh may not have been able to run at will, despite gaining 123 rush yards, but they certainly could pass at will. Tino Sunseri is not a great quarterback. He hasn’t looked good all year. But Syracuse made him look like a Heisman hopeful going 17/24, 266 yards, 11.1 yard average, and four touchdowns. Syracuse allowed 389 total yards, but more importantly they allowed 45 points to be put on the board. Syracuse has had stout defense, including not allowing a touchdown to be scored by USF in the previous week. That was not the case this week. Syracuse again did not look sharp and mental lapses contributed to a bad day on defense save for a few awesome sacks.
Pittsburgh did to Syracuse what Syracuse did to Colgate, by reversing the field on a return and gaining a HUGE return. Rob Long also did not have a good day in punting as well. Honestly, this was an average day, thus the C.
Doug Marrone and his staff were outcoached. Plain and simple. The team didn’t come ready to play and that has to fall on Marrone and his staff. That about sums it up.
The bottom line is that Pittsburgh played above their heads and Syracuse did not help themselves by playing below their abilities, both on offense and defense. Syracuse made Sunseri look like a Heisman hopeful. And he is not. Nor is Pittsburgh that great. But they played their game, and Syracuse did not play at their best and what we had seen of them lately. Thus Pittsburgh walks away with a big win, and Syracuse loses a lot of confidence and loses some well earned momentum on the season.
A to the crowd that were in the Dome at kickoff.
B to the crowd in the second quarter.
D to the crowd in the third quarter.
A to my friends that came out and I got to see this past weekend. Always a good time.
A+ to the meal I had at Tully’s. I hadn’t eaten there in many months and it was delicious and outstanding as I watched college football, playoff baseball, and various other sports on large televisions.
Producing a guide to homecoming has become a tradition here at Orange::44. This year will be no exception. Bars and restaurants come and go, but the solid advice on where to eat or drink will remain constant here in this guide. As always, enjoy your time back. It's fleeting, so choose wisely. This guide should help.
Food On The Hill
El Saha – The cheapest pita on Louis Marshall Way. With delicious options to cram in your pita, an entertaining staff, and usually South Park or Family Guy on the television, this is where I usually stop for a Pita, but lately they have been slipping. You might want to go with the always solid Pita Pit.
Pita Pit – For you traditionalists out there, you will probably still want to head to your old favorite. It is slightly more pricy, but they offer a few more toppings, an artsy menu, and everything is amazing with bacon. But really, that is just a good rule for life.
Jimmy John’s – The smells are free, but sadly the subs are not. This sandwich shop is delicious however. Their bread is baked fresh, the staff is bizarre, and now they do not use the till money to buy drugs. I always have a ridiculous conversation with a stranger in here as well. Could be some perfect post-bar entertainment before you head home.
Sliders – A brand new burger joint. The burgers are pretty good, they are made to order, and you can get regular or slider size as well. They have Belgian fries as well, which means they are crispy on the outside and soft and delicious on the inside. I recommend this place if you are hungry for a burger on your nightly journey.
Jreck Subs – This sandwich place is in the place where Konrad’s used to occupy. I think you’re probably better off just going to Jimmy John’s if you are looking for a sub however. This place seems pretty noteworthy for being completely not noteworthy.
Cosmo’s Pizza – A classic joint that has a greasy diner feel. Their pizza is good, but I would go for any number of other choices they offer. Finish the deal with a THB and a scoop of vanilla.
Varsity Pizza – The best cheese steak on the hill. They also have many other tasty choices, plenty of tables, decent pizza, and if we beat the other team come on down after the game and see the band flip the banner over. Beware, you are on the clock if you eat the pizza.
Faegan’s Pub – For something a little more upscale, this is probably the place you should be. With a multitude of salads, burgers, wraps, and sandwiches you have plenty of options. Also, with over 40 beers on tap, you can find something to go with any meal. Just get there during the day, as they close down the kitchen around niner. More on this later.
Aladdin’s – This place offers several natural and organic choices, for the more health conscious. I’ve only ever eaten here a handful of times but it hasn’t really disappointed me. The desserts are also great here.
Insomnia Cookies – Perfect for that late night sweet tooth craving. They have cookies, frozen treats, and other assorted sweets. Not my cup of tea at 2:00am, but feel free as this is a nice place.
Food In Syracuse
Tully’s – Located on Erie Blvd. and in Liverpool this is the ultimate sports bar in Syracuse. With a shit ton of TV’s, excellent food ranging from appetizers to dinners, and the best chicken tenders (Tully’s Tenders) in Syracuse, this will surely cure your hunger, especially if you want to watch a game. Just get there early if you are going on a Sunday.
Spaghetti Warehouse – With a seemingly endless dining room, and a lot of pasta options, this is the place for Italian. The Marsala may cost you, but the bread is free. Especially tasty when dining with friends in the trolley car. Not a bad pick for decent pasta.
Pastabilities – A bit more upscale than the Warehouse, it is a favorite of many folks on the hill. While not my favorite, there are plenty of tasty options on the menu, and it is conveniently located near all of your favorite downtown bars.
Empire Brewing Company – A small underground restaurant that has a small but somewhat fancy menu. They brew their own beer and can pair it with any meal you choose which is also very nice. Try the burgers, or if you are feeling frugal the Chicken Po’ Boy. A little pricy, but fairly worth it.
Syracuse Suds – This bar also makes their own beer and has an extensive sports bar type menu. The appetizers are very good here and they serve some great steaks as well. Finish it off with some homemade root beer.
Zebb’s – Way out in Mattydale just off I-81, it is a hidden gem. I feel like not many SU kids know about this one. It has a diner feel, with most standard American fare. They have a “Build Your Own Burger Bar”, you can get shots of vanilla, cherry, or chocolate flavor in your cola, and they have the definitive appetizer menu in the Syracuse area. In the mood for alcohol? Try the mojito. I don’t think it’s a gay drink. Moooooo-heeeeeeeee-tooooooooo. Also, if you are allergic to nuts, stay away from the cookies. Bastards.
Alto Cinco – Located on Wescott Street, this places offers good, authentic Mexican food. There is usually a hell of a wait, but you can make the time pass with margaritas and Coronas at the bar. Truth be told I’ve never eaten here, but everyone raves that I should have included this on the list years ago, so here you all go.
Dinosaur BBQ – The most famous of all the Syracuse eateries. Without a doubt, the best BBQ you can get in all of Upstate New York. Syracuse is the original location and also the most colorful. Enjoy the “Big Ass Pork Plate” or sample the two best meals with a House Special of a quarter rack of ribs and a quarter chicken. The sides are also especially delicious and if salt potatoes are on the specials it is a must.
Bars On The Hill
Chuck’s – What could best be described as a hole in the wall. Graffiti covers the walls, but the pitchers flow well here. During Friday Happy Hour pitchers are $3/5, and while they do not have an impressive menu, their fries do the trick. This bar gets awfully crowded with bitchy undergrads wearing pink shirts and popped collars. If that is your thing then this is your bar. Also, current and former basketball players like to hang out here, so maybe you could celebrity spot as well.
Lucy’s Retired Surfer Bar – Make my day and e-mail me if you actually go to this bar. How is this place still open?
Darwin’s Pub – RIP.
Faegan’s Pub – The gold standard in Marshall Street Bars. With over 40 beers on tap and bartenders that are skilled in the craft of making drinks and shots, this is where most alumni end up. While there are not many specials on Friday, it is vastly less crowded and a much better atmosphere than Chuck’s. Say hi to Guy for me and tell him Mr. Harrison sent you.
Harry's – This bar has a small place in my heart, as my father's cousin was Harry. However, he long sold the bar before I got to the hill so no free drinks for me. This bar is ideal for MNF watching and eating wings. However, you will not be in town on Monday. Not a bad option for a bar choice though. It is solid with decent food and probably not a big crowd.
The Sheraton Hotel – While I would not stay here all night, they do have free wings and pizza for a couple hours starting at five. If you are a broke alumni with a lot of debt, maybe you should start out here.
Bars In Armory Square
Mully’s – This Irish bar is undistinguishable in every way. They have booze and you don’t. Who’s more Irish?
PJ’s Pub and Grille– It will forever be known as PJ Dorsey's to me. This is a fun little bar with room, dancing, and a favorite of mine as I spent my 21st birthday there. Nothing too remarkable about it, but again, they have drinks and you want some. This could be a really fun place.
The Blue Tusk – This is the most expensive place downtown, but it could be worth it if you enjoy rare brews and an upscale atmosphere. A LOT of beers on tap. Also, the back room is the perfect place to sit down, enjoy the company of friends, and some fine ales.
Bar – This is an upscale place with a dress code and loud music. It is also very dark. Perfect for being sketchy if you are into that sort of thing. The bartenders know what they are doing, so you’ll be good to go. This would not be my first choice though.
Syracuse Suds – This bar is also a micro-brewery. Nowhere else in Syracuse can you get a root beer keg. A lot of older people come here so it will not get out of hand, but it is a nice, chill place to drink some beers and they have a very solid food selection.
Empire Brewing Company – This is also a quite place to enjoy some freshly brewed local beers. This is like an Irish pub, but instead of Guinness try the Blueberry Wheat.
There are plenty of other restaurants and bars I am forgetting about, but really, this is the guide. If it is not on this list, you either should not waste your time or you already know about it because it is not that popular but you like it anyway. Both cases are fine.
Kitty Hoynes – This is a pretty authentic Irish pub and as such as a really great fairly authentic food menu if you are craving some things made with Guinness. They have some great beers on tap as well. Highly recommended if you want a great chill pub experience.
Daisy Dukes / Vinyl – This is a “cowboy” bar and a dance club on the back. It can be fun on occasion and a lot of hot girls like to get crazy here which is a plus. They also have a mechanical bull there for that added level of white trash. Then you can get sketchy in the back dancing the night away. Not my true cup of tea, but a lot of people enjoy this place and it is fun to slum it once in a while.
Now is some advice to carry you through the weekend that I always give:
•It is important to remember that no matter how drunk you get, you do not live off campus anymore. Try not to show up to a former residence and try to break in just because you used to live there.
•This one is for the younger kids; Homecoming is too short for you to deal with drama and people trying to make you feel like crap. Avoid people that you would have a problem with and just hang out with people you enjoy.
•Tailgating is an art. Respect it and it will respect you.
•If you hate Nancy Cantor like my friends do, enjoy a nice pee on Nancy’s $6 million wall. It is the world’s most expensive outdoor urinal.
•Enjoy the sights and sounds of your old campus, but avoid public safety. They still have guns.
•Enjoy some beers on the quad. It is private property after all. Just don’t sneak into Maxwell Hall to shotgun some beers like you did back in the day.
•Bring two pairs of shoes. You never know if your buddy will pee in them.
Everything above is just solid advice. Feel free to ignore it, but you may come to regret it.
For any other non-drinking/official Syracuse events, check out the official Homecoming schedule right here.
Syracuse will take on Pittsburgh at 12:00pm in the Carrier Dome. While tailgating will only be had by the truly dedicated because the game is a nooner, you can still enjoy some debauchery before heading into a full and very orange Carrier Dome. Be sure to enjoy your time if you are making the trip back, enjoy the game win or lose, and as GO ORANGE!
The offense clearly looked its best as it has all season on their 98 yard TD scoring drive, capped off by a touchdown reception by Marcus Sales. The team’s longest drive of the season,
Anytime you win the turnover battle you had a good day on defense. On top of that,
Stupid, stupid, stupid. On punt returns you need to know at all times where the ball is, where you are, and where you are in relations to the ball. No excuse for allowing a punt to touch you and then give the other team a free possession way further down the field. They also allowed USF to run a kickoff back 94 yards for a touchdown that put USF ahead until
Overall not a bad day as the offensive plan was good, and the defense was pretty solid, pressuring USF’s Daniels to throw two picks. However there were far too many penalties again. As the season goes on these mental mistakes are supposed to decrease and they have not done so yet. That falls on the coaching staff. 12 penalties for 87 yards is too much. Similarly, Special Teams Coordinator Bob Casullo needs to get his act together finally. All these teams cannot simply be superior in special teams. This is a
This is a big win for the program.
C- to the
A- to the
A+ for the team heading immediately to the Varsity and flipping the South Florida banner upon landing. Brilliant.
- Harris runs for 6 yards
- Bailey runs for 5 yards
- Carter runs for 2 yards
- Nassib pass complete to Lemon for 6 yards
- Carter runs for 4 yards
- Nassib pass complete to Provo for 6 yards
- Carter runs for 8 yards
- Bailey runs for 31 yards
- Nassib pass complete to Chew for 4 yards
- Nassib pass complete to Bailey for 12 yards
- Carter runs for 8 yards
- Carter runs for 1 yard
- Carter runs for 2 yards
- Nassib pass complete to Sales for 3 yards and a touchdown