Some will say that the story ended out of order. That Syracuse's win over Notre Dame should have been the way to end the season as Greg Robinson rode off into the sunset with his head held high. I say that today's 30-10 loss to Cincinnati is EXACTLY how the Greg Robinson Era should have ended. As a bleak experience devoid of excitement or fanfare and with a finality that was never really in doubt. The Greg Robinson Era ended exactly how it was supposed to.
Say this about Cincy, they earned their spot as the BCS representative today in the eyes of Orange fans. The Bearcats thoroughly dominated SU, which is more than other BCS Bowl-candidates West Virginia or Pittsburgh could have said. Not that decimating Syracuse is a requirement nor is it anything to brag about, but it's the least we ask of our Big East Champions these days.
Cincy fans threw oranges on the field intermittenly, not so much as an ironic taunt but to mark the Bearcats likely-Orange Bowl berth with the win. It's Cincy's 10th win and with a bonus game against Hawai'i next week, they have the chance to win 12 games this year. From the get-go they played like a team that deserved to be as such. QB Tony Pike tore the Syracuse secondary apart, throwing for 2 TDs and 272 yards on 28-44 passing.
The SU offense was, well, it was on the field. But aside from a couple of Greg Robinson's patented flashes, it didn't accomplish a whole hell of a lot. Throwing out the TD scored in garbage time, the Orange did nothing through the air. Cam Dantley completed only one pass in the first half and ended the game 6-23 for 59 yards. Oof.
SU gained 153 yards rushing but even that came with a bit of an asterik. Take away the crazy 58-yard scamper by Tony Fiammetta, which was indeed a fantastic run, and the Orange basically didn't get anything else done all day. Curtis Brinkley was held to 60 yards on 16 carries and confirmed the unfortunate truth that, although he has had a fantastic season, he broke down as it went on and just didn't have the same steam at the end. Last week's hero, Antwon Bailey, looked fresher with 29 yards on 4 carries.
Aside from a really nice intrerception by Mike Holmes when the outcome was still somewhat in doubt, the SU defense just couldn't contain Tony Pike the way they did with Jimmy Clausen a week earlier. The Orange can thank the ten Cincy penalities for ensuring that the score wasn't more out-of-hand than anything they did.
Greg Robinson, as you would expect, sprinted off the field and disappeared into the tunnel without making any noise or drawing any attention to himself. And I think for once we can all appreciate Greg's desire to be low key. There's much more to say about the end of the GRE, especially as we await his post-game comments and especially his first comments once he's finally shackled loose from the program.
For now, I think I can safely speak for all SU football fans in saying we're just glad it's over. We can hope again. And I know, this is the part where you mention Red told us that "hope is a dangerous thing." But don't forget, Red ended up in Zihuatanejo with his hetero-lifemate Andy Dufresne. We'd like to end up in a Mexican Resort town with a hetero-lifemate sanding fishing boats with our pantlegs rolled up too. Make it happen, DOCTOR Gross.
(AP Photo/Al Behrman)