0 Comments Published on 11.01.2012 by Brian Harrison
This scene occurred several times on Saturday night.
Syracuse went down to Tampa to be apparent Homecoming Fodder to the Bulls looking to earn their first conference win of the season. Syracuse had some big momentum after a home drubbing of Connecticut, but USF was apparently a better team despite their conference shortcomings. And they were fairly dominating for the first half. Then things got interesting. Syracuse pulls off it's biggest 4th quarter comeback since the 1940's. Syracuse wins on the final drive 37 to 36.
The first half was terrible, finishing with only three points thanks to a field goal. But then the offense came out and drove down the field to start. Then the defense got the ball back and the offense capitalized on a short field. Five second half touchdowns are pretty good (read: great). Syracuse had 33 first downs, 520 total yards, went 6-13 on first downs, and converted on their one fourth down attempt. Nassib had 328 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions.Jerome Smith racked up 127 yards on 28 carries. The trio of Sales, Lemon, and West were also great in the game. The offense absolutely was on fire in the second half.
USF had two rushers go over 100 yards in the same game for the first time since 2007. Not good, especially when the team knows that BJ Daniels will run to bail his team out. Syracuse allowed 369 rushing yards from the Bulls. However, USF definitely had trouble passing the ball, and the defense forced a turnover (or at least capitalized on a bad handoff). While Syracuse let the Bulls earn more yards and let them go 8-15 on third downs, they did get stops when they needed to, including keeping the out of the end one on their final drive to allow Syracuse to win with a touchdown.
Despite missing a 22 yard field goal in the first half, they punted well, earned good field position, blocked a punt, and in general had much better field position to start then the Bulls. A blocked punt makes up for a missed field goal, but in general they had a good game.
The play calling on the second scoring drive of the second half (starting with a short field to go down) was masterfully put together. Easily the best play calling series of the year. Additionally, the final drive was put together well and the plays were exactly what Syracuse needed to march down the field in that amount of time. A lot of to do was made about Syracuse going for two after the final drive. I had a small debate on Twitter about it. While USF did intercept the ball, it was deep in the end zone. They were not going to run the ball back on that play call. Should they have gone for two? They would have been up three so the only way to beat them would have been a touchdown. It was the right call based on the math. However, running up the middle probably would have been the safter option. However, due to the recent woes of being able to hammer home a touchdown run, I had about as much faith as the coaching staff had in the run. Either way, no harm, no foul. Syracuse wins. And like I said, the second and final scoring drives of the second half were masterful.
Not as dominating a performance as the UConn game, but the fact that Syracuse managed to get back into this game after being down 23-3 at the half and win was just special. Syracuse managed to play well enough in all three phases in the second half that Syracuse pulled out another conference win, keeping bowl hopes alive. While it is a fact that USF choked a bit, the Syracuse offense just outplayed the USF defense in the second half, and you saw one hell of an ending.
C+ to this Big East officiating crew. The last series was hectic, and they did not have great command of the game, but they did get the calls right so for that we're all grateful After all, that was the same crew that botched the extra point last season in the Toledo game in Syracuse.
F to ESPN for making us all watch this fantastic game on our phones / laptops. At least we could watch. If you missed it, highly recommend watching the replay of it online.
Syracuse not travels to Cincinnati to take on Munchie and the Bearcats. With four games left this is one, like the last few, is critical. Syracuse can put themselves in a good position and earn back to back to back 1-A wins for the first time since 2001.You know, when the question was which Bowl Game, not if.