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This is about as close as you're gonna get to seeing 44 on a field.
Syracuse entered MetLife Stadium with a reasonable expectation of playing well. I think they accomplished that. This game was actually pretty close for most of it. But USC's talent ruled the day, and Syracuse came up short. But they did not embarrass themselves (save for that first offensive series) against #2, and so that deserves some credit. Syracuse falls to USC 42 to 29 but this was close for a long time.
In the end, Syracuse earned more yards (455), first downs (27), and converted 2-2 on fourth down attempts than USC. But, this is statistics deceiving you. USC had a higher time of possession and scored more. That means they had bigger plays, not needing as many first downs to move down the field. Either way, Syracuse's offense played pretty well against a tough USC team. Ryan Nassib (30/46, 322, 2 TD, 2 INT) had the day most people thought he would, falling back to earth after a ridiculous effort against Northwestern. Marcus Sales (8rec, 104yds, 13avg, 2 TD) again proved the best target. This guys will probably make it to the next level. The running was again spread out, but got the job done as the team rushed for 133 yards. All in all a solid, but not spectacular effort.
They were asked to stop Heisman front runner Matt Barkley. They did for a while, keeping USC scoreless in the first quarter, and stopping USC on 4th down twice in the game. But They just proved too much for the Orange. While they put in a good effort, failing to actually wrap and tackle people is a problem for this Orange team, despite some pretty great open field tackles from #SHAMARKO Thomas, among others. Either way, yards after contact for opponents need to be minimized in the future. But a solid effort from the defense considering they were playing #2.
Special Teams
No major calamities I would say.Kick returns, punting, and kicking all were fine. Punt returns could use some work, and the coverage, as always, could be better, but this was a better outing than against Northwestern.
Penalties were minimized this week, which was a welcomed breath of fresh air. Especially playing this team on this stage. First week jitters may have been to blame against Northwestern, but this team locked it down much more this week. Again there was the puzzling move of Doug Marrone not going for it on 4th down with about eight minutes to go down by only 13 points. He explained his rational in the Post-Standard but Conservative Doug reared his ugly head again. It's against USC. You're not supposed to win. Might as well go for it buddy, right?
C+/B- (2.56)
Overall, they played a tough team and fared pretty well. This was not an embarrassing loss by any means. You only lost to #2 by 13 and beat the spread. There is something to be said for moral victories.
No intangibles this week. We look ahead to 1-AA Stony Brook coming into the Carrier Dome this weekend  for what should be an easy win. They are a pretty good 1-AA team, but Syracuse is not Pittsburgh. We'll have full previews tomorrow, as always. Until then, take comfort that Syracuse played against USC and actually did well.


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