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Doug is looking much grayer after that game.
Sadly I was right about the scouting of this game. The winner would be the one that won the turnover battle. Correct. The winner also won by three points. Correct. But I was not correct in that it was Rutgers, winning a Big East opener for only the second time ever. Syracuse loses in double overtime to Rutgers 19 to 16.
The offense was just awful. Ryan Nassib continued to connect with receivers, however he just connected with more Rutgers defenders than his own men in the end zone. He earned 169 yards and 3 picks. Granted one at the goal line was more a tipped ball, but the other two were clearly his fault. Antwon Bailey bookended his day by fumble losses, one of which ended the game. He gained 124 yards on the ground and a score at least. Nick Provo and Alec Lemon also had good days, and Dorian Graham continues to impress, but Van Chew only managed one catch. Most of which was Nassib misfiring. Additionally, there were tons of times where Nassib should have thrown the ball away instead of taking a sack but instead hit the turf. He took a major step back this last week. He came out flat, and did not improve throughout the day. The game was not lost exclusively because of him, but he certainly was a major contributor. Five turnovers is unacceptable. And when you get three from your QB and two from your RB, you're lucky you even make it to overtime.
The reason Syracuse lost this game had nothing to do with the defense. They played extremely well in this game, save for a few instances. On Rutgers final regulation possession, you may want to try to keep the players inbounds and away from the sideline. Just a though. Either way, while Harrison and Sanu did earn yardage and catches, Syracuse limited Rutgers to just 7-21 on third downs and only allowed five total rush yards in the game. Additionally they were able to pressure the quarterback more and sack him a few times, something Syracuse has needed to do but failed to achieve the last few games. All in all, a solid effort from the defense as they held their end of the bargain, especially since they were on the field a lot longer than their offensive counterparts.
Special Teams
A missed extra point and two missed field goals are bad enough, but to have terrible coverage on kick and punt returns, as well as allowing big returns after a block is failure for the week. Not much more you need to say about that. Krautman was bad and everyone but the holder seemed to fail at what they were doing. Shane Raupers had a good game in punting, but that is about it. Special teams were very special. For both teams, but definitely Syracuse.
Conservative Doug Marrone came back after a couple games of opening up playbooks and taking chances. Doug failed to go for it with fourth and 1 at the 2 yard line in the first overtime. I would have gone for it in a second as you either win the game there, or you lose it. Worth taking the chance there I think. Additionally, there were some bad play call stretches in this game, and some curious uses of time outs early and often. Not one of Doug's best games, that's for sure.
D (1.2)
Syracuse lost the turnover battle and failed to move the ball consistently on offense. Like I said it is a wonder Rutgers couldn't win it in Regulation. They would have if they didn't have a terrible kicker, who's always been terrible against Syracuse. Either way, this game was very winnable for Syracuse as they had a 14 point swing with the goal line INT, and left seven on the board with two missed field goals and one missed extra point. Just an awful performance, and one Syracuse needs to move past quickly. Nassib should bounce back, but Bailey's ball security is now becoming a huge issue.
B- to the Student Section. Free tickets couldn't draw the masses, but there was a respectable amount of students in the student section by the middle of the first quarter. Thanks for showing up even though the offense didn't.
F---- to the crowd that participated in the Wave. We've gone over this before.
F to Greg Schiano. You didn't need to be on the field as much as you were and frankly he continued after a sideline warning. I would have flagged him.
Syracuse travels south to New Orleans and the site of the 2003 National Championship in basketball to take on Tulane this coming Saturday at 8:00pm. TV coverage is not finalized yet, so we'll be on top of that this coming weekend to keep you posted. Meanwhile, try to forget this ever happened.

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