Are we at the point where we can be displeased with a win? I mean, we've had so few in the last half-decade, it seems a little obnoxious to complain anytime we get one. Still, you can't help but be left with a bad taste in your mouth after SU's win over Maine on Saturday. It was sloppy, a little manic and a little scary for a while there as the Black Bears made a game of it. The Orange pulled away in the 2nd half but even then it was more of a relief than an exciting feeling.
Comes with the territory, I suppose, when you play a 1-AA team. Win big and, well, you were supposed to. Whatchuwant, a cookie? Win tough and...what's wrong with you?
Kudos to the announced Dome crowd of 35,632 for sticking through this one and seeing it through. It felt like a long game to watch, let alone play, and at four hours it was just that. The refs played a large part in that of course, calling 27 penalties. It got to the point where you were surprised if three consecutive plays passed and no flags were thrown.
Of course, remembering to maintain that perspective we talked about, Coach Marrone has no regrets with an outcome that's in his favor:
"We haven’t won a lot of games, so I’m going to enjoy this," Big Doug told the gathered media afterwards. "Hey, we won a game. It’s hard to win a football game. You guys should know that. You’ve seen what’s gone on here the past four years."
Special golf-clap to Bud Poliquin for not only including "chutzpah" and "modus operandi" in that column, but putting them both in the same paragraph.
Maine, for their part, brought their bag of trickeration with them. Two onside kicks. Two fake punts. But to just reward them for their trickery would be falling short of their total effort. The Bears amassed 340 yards through the air, garnered 20 first downs and were 3-3 on 4th down. They played well in more than just special teams.
Speaking of special teams, if the Black Bears played well in that area, the Orange did not. And special teams coach Bob Casullo was...less than pleased with the effort.
"We didn't play well. We've got to play better," Casullo said. "I told them all week they were going to do that, and they did it. We were poor. I was a bad coach. They were bad players. That's what happens, when you've got bad coaching and bad plans. Move on."
Now that we've gotten the bad out of the way, let's talk about what went right. Offensively, it was the Greg Paulus and Delone Carter show. DC3 scored four touchdowns - three rushing, one receiving and gained 72 yards on 19 carries. Meanwhile, Greg Paulus completed 21-of-28 passes for 270 yards and two touchdowns. Some extremely solid stats from SU's two most important offensive players.
Delone also provided some halftime adjustments of his own in the form of an emotional speech to rally the troops. Clearly, it worked.
Mike Williams was shut out of the endzone for the 2nd time in 3 games but he did manage to snag five catches for 80 yards. Marcus Sales hauled in the other TD pass from Paulus, his only catch on the day. Nick Provo and Donte Davis also made some decent contributions at receiver.
There were a few notable injuries to make note of. None more-so than Arthur Jones, wwho sustained what the school said was an upper leg injury. He spent the entire 2nd half watching from the sidelines and his status will be evaluated for this week.
And of course there was the scariest moment of the day. Maine defensive back Trevor Coston collided with Delone Carter during the fourth quarter and would not rise from the turf. Motionless, medical personnel rushed to his aid and an ambulance drove onto the field to take him to the hospital. Thankfully, according to an SU spokeswoman, Coston was treated and released from a city hospital and rejoined Maine shortly after the game.
At the end of the day, lots to be happy about here. It's the most points SU has scored since 2004. The Orange are .500 for the first time in three seasons. And the Orange at least proved they can put away a lesser opponent when it matters most. Take that with you, rather than all of the negative.
Alright, I'm begging you people now. PLEASE STOP WITH THE WAVE!!! Especially when Syracuse has the ball. I'm all for fans getting into the game, but "the wave"? Come on, people. Can you just cheer louder when the other team has a 3rd down or something?I don't get the appeal of "the wave" to start with, but I really don't get it when fans try to start the wave when the offense has the ball.