Syracuse football is going to a bowl game in 2010. I'm sure you've heard by now, we haven't been to one since 2004. It's kindof our thing. Well, it WAS our thing. In Year Two of the Doug Marrone Era, slightly ahead of schedule, the Syracuse Orange football team will finish the season with more wins than losses and will play a football game in mid-to-late December.
Take a step for a second and think about it. Wow.
As not only a fan of Syracuse football but as a proponent of the Syracuse-Rutgers rivalry, I can think of no better way to do it than how it happened on Saturday. Not only did the Orange beat the Knights in their own house to officially remake the program as a winner, they did it in a fashion that broke the heart of Scarlet Nation, chopped those hearts up into tiny strips, rendered the fat, dipped them in panko bread crumbs, placed them on top of a sandwich that also included mozzarella sticks, french fries, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise and called it The Fat Orange.
First off, let's appreciate how the game ended, courtesy of former Rutgers recruit and New Jersey's own Ross "Das Boot" Krautman:
Ironically, the 11-play, 66-yard march that ended with a 24-yard field goal by freshman Ross Krautman, a New Jersey native, started at the Orange 27-yard line following a missed field goal try by Rutgers junior San San Te.
Krautman’s kick, with 1:07 left to play, gave SU a 13-10 victory over its neighboring-state rival, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in front of 49,911 fans.
Second, let's not go any further until we flip that ish...
By no means was this a pretty win. In fact, it was downright ugly and had the Orange lost, we would be bemoaning dozens of things that didn't work all day. But we did win, so we'll let a lot of it slide. The defense has their hands full and were unable to put their hands on Rutgers' running backs all day. The pesky Scarletcat formation wreaked havoc against the Orange line that was already reeling from the mysterious absence of Bud Tribbey. That they gave up tons of yards (190) to running backs that aren't even starters is cause for concern. Still, concern is something for Mondays.
And besides, look at what the defense did in the final minutes when it mattered most. The Orange D clamped down and pushed the Rutgers offense back just far enough that their last-gasp field goal attempt fell short. Had they been ten yards closer...who knows...
One of the crazier parts of the Syracuse football story this season...their road dominance. The Orange clinched their fourth Big East win on Saturday and it was also their fifth road win on the season. It's the first time since all the way back in 1991 that they've accomplished that in conference. I don't know if Doug Marrone's "we play better away from all the distractions" theory is what its about, but, whatever it is, it's working.
This win was so crucial for so many reasons...
- It clears away that ominous "one more win for bowl eligibility" cloud hanging over the team's head until they did it.
- It's SU's second-straight win over Rutgers and it's the series' first fantastic finish in years, strengthening the budding rivalry.
- It's a massive signal to all NYC/NJ recruits deciding between Syracuse and Rutgers to recognize the direction the Orange are moving in.
- It basically means that, at worst, the Orange will play in the Pinstripe Bowl.
And so, when the Orange host the UConn Huskies this Saturday, the game will have implications that were previously unheard-of. Both teams still have a possible shot in the ever-changing Big East title picture. The Orange are playing for bowl placement and the Huskies are playing for bowl eligibility. With the way last season's game finished and the emergence of another rivalry here, expect this game to be Billy Fucillo HUGE for both squads.
It's nice to be playing football in late November with purpose again. Good work, Coach Marrone. You have earned whatever national praise is coming your way. More importantly, you have earned the praise and respect of every Orange fan out there. Great f**king job, bro.
SU-Rutgers Recap: The Sunny Side...Brent Axe
SU-Rutgers Recap: The Dark Side...Brent Axe
SU-Rutgers Recap: This, That, and The Other Thing...Brent Axe
GOING BOWLING: SU becomes bowl eligible thanks to Krautman's game-winning kick in win over Rutgers...Daily Orange
FizzCast: Rutgers Win Makes Syracuse Bowl-Bound...Orange Fizz
Start spreadin' the news...Three Idiots on Sports
YES WE CAN!! (Syracuse Is Going Bowling!)...Cuse Connection
Bowl Eligible And It Feels So Good...Otto's Army
Bowl hopes dim for Rutgers after 13-10 loss...On The Banks
What we learned in the Big East: Week 11: Hello, Orange bowl...Brian Bennett
Morning Coffee! Syracuse Can Go Bowling...SB Nation NY