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Northwestern - Syracuse Postgame Reactions OR Derp!

After all that, we were also left asking "wha happened?"
Syracuse Football opens every season with excitement and optimism. This year was no exception. I, more than a decent chunk of fans, have realistic expectations when looking at this football team. I called this as a loss. That's not why this game was so soul crushing. It was the mental mistakes, bizarre penalties, and moments of truly astounding ineptness. And then falling short by only one point. To the first report card of 2012.
Offense
B+
Ryan Nassib (44/65, 470yds, 4 TD, 1 INT) had a career day and set a school record for completions in a single game. While he was overall impressive, he definitely had some opening game jitters in underthrowing and overthrowing the ball several times. He was 50% responsible for Marcus Sales tipping up the ball for his only interception of the day as well for throwing low. But that being said, he played his heart out and did his best to try and win the game. Not his fault that didn't happen. Marcus Sales (11rec, 117yds, 10.6avg, 1 TD) announced his presence with authority as he returned from a year off due to legal troubles. Jerome Smith and Prince-Tyson Gulley combined for 84yds on 17 carries and 1 TD so not too bad in the running department either. Really, the offense put up 28 unanswered points in the third and fourth quarters to take the lead before Northwestern scored the go ahead touchdown. Not too shabby, but again, receivers have to know when they are running past the first down line or just drifting in the middle of the field. 12 -20 on third down conversions and 33 first downs, with 596 total yards is pretty spectacular all things considered however.
Defense
C
The defense played pretty well overall, especially in the first half. Poor field position thanks to Special Teams is not their fault and really the defense only allowed Northwestern to score 28 of the 42 points essentially. They played better than expected and even managed to break up a few passes. #SHAMARKO Thomas continues to be a very good player for Syracuse and surprisingly the run defense was fairly stingy. Syracuse only allowed Northwestern to convert 5 of 14 third down attempts and stopped them twice on fourth down attempts. It was a passable day for the Orange, despite allowing Northwestern to score in their final drive.
Special Teams
C
Oh boy. They started out well, capitalizing on Northwestern's equally dumb special teams mistakes. But then Syracuse tried to outdo them by allowing a punt return for a touchdown and giving away the majority of the field on field position after punts. Syracuse missed a field goal, which would have not made the final TD by Northwestern the game winner as well, although it was a 43yd attempt. Either way, special teams had an average day, but those mistakes directly led to points on the board for the Wildcats.
Coaching
C
Let me be clear here. Most of the stupid mistakes that occurred on the field were not the fault of the coaches, but the players failing to execute or failing to use their brain. Just unbelievable stupidity. But some of the play calling, especially in the first half was ineffective and they continued to result in punts for Syracuse. However (and this is a first), Marrone was too aggressive on Syracuse's final scoring drive, leaving over two minutes for Northwestern to drive down the field and score. They needed to take a little more time before heading to the end zone, and also tell your players to use the entirety of the play clock. 
GPA
C+ (2.33)
While I am encouraged by the fact that the Syracuse offense performed as well as they did, they will not be so lucky in the future I'm guessing. Additionally, mental mistakes and costly special teams plays doomed this team, despite the fact that the offense managed to come back. Hey! Offense wasn't the problem! Yaaaaaaay!. Special teams needs to have a lot of practice time this week however.
Intangibles
Let me address the late hit out of bounds penalty. I was sitting in the second tier with the same viewing angle as the referee, who threw the flag (not the line judge on the sideline). As an official myself I would have also thrown that flag if in the same position. Because Lyn had his hands on the player as he went out, despite a probable acting job from Northwestern, officials will throw that flag ten out of ten times. As a player you have to take your hands off the guy once he steps out. Period. Lyn didn't. You can argue that the rule should be clarified on the NCAA's end, but exactly what happened will be called every time, whether you think that is bullshit or not.

A+ to the new video boards and LEDs that line the Dome.

A to the students that showed up and filled the lower sections and a pretty considerable overflow section in the 3rd tier.

D- to the fact it was about 95 degrees inside the Dome during the game. I know there is absolutely nothing they can do about that, but it still sucked.

A+ to the fact you can use your credit card anywhere in the Dome now.

A+ to the fact that beer stands now have several verities on tap at every stand, instead of designated stands for specific beers.

The first game is in the books. Losing by 1 is ROUGH. I'd rather lose by a few touchdowns than by one. Either way, Syracuse starts 0-1. And there is a 99.9% chance they start 0-2. And so it goes. USC is next. The season rolls on.

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