0 Comments Published on 12.01.2011 by Brian Harrison
Doug and Nate were losers last Saturday. Like all of us.
I'm out of the home office the rest of the weekend at Pittsburgh, to maybe see if Syracuse could get a bowl berth. WVU did their part tonight. Cincy could help tomorrow. But really Syracuse needs to beat Pitt. So before we head down there, let's analyze what happened last Saturday. Crap, but lets press on.
Ryan Nassib (19/38, 203yds, 1 TD, 1 INT) had a mediocre day with field performance. While he did the job late in the game past the point when it would have mattered, he didn't convert third downs and despite one obligatory shot down the field that missed, no pass was really thrown for more than ten yards. Antwon Bailey did everything but score and ran hard, which was a bright spot overall. But was caught behind the line on too many occasions. 373 total yards isn't bad, and 22 first downs is good, but 4-15 on third downs is just bad.
I never played football in high school. I barely dabbled with it on Friday afternoons back in college. I'm convinced I could lead a touchdown drive against the Syracuse defense by passing on the secondary. Cincinnati sure did. And they had a backup QB in. They scored only 3 points the week before against Rutgers. Syracuse went to 2 OT's against Rutgers. Syracuse's defense allowed 30 points. Regression is awesome. Injuries don't help either.
While the kicking and punting and field goal units were solid, coverage is still a joke. No further analysis needed.
You would think with OC Nathaniel Hackett now on the sideline that the offensive play calling would not only be better and sharper, but more smoothly delivered. While there were no issues in the players knowing what plays to run (except for some of the receiver routes), the play calling was probably the most conservative of the season. You see the results. As for Scott Shaffer and the secondary, this was one of their worst games.
Syracuse managed more first downs, more overall yards, and equal amount of possession time, and still managed to lost badly. This game was within 2 scores with plenty of time in the 4th quarter but the defense couldn't stop anyone. And even after causing Cincy to punt, they could never capitalize and had empty possessions. You can't win a game that way.
Syracuse plays this Saturday for the possibility to play one more game this season. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN 2 at 12pm. Syracuse would become bowl eligible with a win. I'm not holding my breath sadly. But an upset is always possible. We're gonna skip the recap of the Eastern Michigan game, with apologies to Coach Murphy. We'll preview the big basketball game later today, along with the football Saturday and be back next week to wrap it all up.