We learned three things thanks to Saturday's 28-20 loss to Louisville:
1. While the Orange can beat any of the three teams left on their schedule, any of the three teams left on their schedule can also beat them.
2. Syracuse plays in the Big East, which is currently operating on an almost pre-programmed destiny to make sure all its teams finish between 7-5 and 5-7.
3. This week's game against Rutgers might be Syracuse's best chance to get that seventh win because it's our final road game.
Between the penalties, the dropsies, the sacks and the seemingly unstoppable ground attack by Louisville in the second half, this game just never felt good. You never said to yourself, "we've got good football karma today." It was quite evident the opposite was happening, actually. And that's saying something considering we only lost by eight.
By the time we got deep into the fourth quarter and the Orange simply could do nothing to get moving on offense, it became clear they never would. When Louisville was faced with a make-it-or-break-it fourth down late in the game, you knew they'd get it. Every time Louisville needed a big break, you knew they were gonna get it. When the Orange needed one, you knew they wouldn't. And by the time we got to the final drive, it was clear that SU just wasn't meant to come back and win.
That's not to say a lot of these things weren't avoidable. Lots of questions linger. How come Ryan Nassib can't play out of the shotgun? Especially when he's just spent an entire game getting hit and pushed around and flushed out by an unrelenting defense? Seems to me those extra 2 seconds could have made a difference.
And when he does throw the ball, that brings up another issue. When Syracuse's deep threats are taken away, they're left with...very little. Those dump passes to Nick Provo and Beckett Wales can only do so much. And since you know half the balls throw at Van Chew and Alec Lemon are getting dropped anyway...it's no surprise that frustration sets in for Nassib and Marrone.
Defensively, I mean, what can you say? We got pushed around. A lot. Often. Again and again. That last Louisville TD drive was just painful to watch. I don't know if our defense got a little ahead of itself or perhaps just met its match from an offensive lines that had it's way with them, but either way they got beat up.
It was good to see Delone get going, and kudos to him for moving up to fifth on the all-time SU rushing chart. Though I would have loved to have seen Antwon Bailey get more involved, especially on the passing side. If you're gonna dump it, might as well dump it to the guy who can make something happen.
So what's the deal with the Dome? The Orange are now 4-1 on the road and 2-2 at home. Those two home wins are over FCS teams and the losses are both against Big East squads. Doug Marrone said a few weeks back that being at home means more distractions but that doesn't really explain it. I'm not quite sure how to fix that issue (other than to start winning). The attendance was 40K again, still almost 10K short of capacity. That final 10K is waiting for the Orange to prove they're going to win at home more often than they lose...that's going to be the difference.
SU-Louisville Recap: The Dark Side...Brent Axe
SU-Louisville Recap: The Sunny Side...Brent Axe
SU-Louisville Recap: This, That, and The Other Thing...Brent Axe
Dropped pass by Syracuse receiver was answered prayer for Louisville...Dave Rahme
On the spot, SU coach Doug Marrone says late-game challenge was moot point...Nolan Weidner
Bowl representative watches Syracuse loss to Louisville...Nolan Weidner
Louisville takes 28-20 win home from Dome to keep Syracuse University from seventh victory...Nolan Weidner
Louisville backup quarterback plays the part of experienced veteran almost flawlessly...Dave Rahme
Syracuse University defense gets run over by Louisville's 'stubborn' ground game in second half...Dave Rahme
NOT IN THE CARDS: Orange fails to sew up bowl bid in loss to Louisville...Daily Orange
Syracuse penalties, timely mishaps spur Cardinals upset...Daily Orange
SU better get used to high expectations...AuburnPub.com
Syracuse falls short against Louisville...NY Post
Louisville 28, Syracuse 20: Orange Miss Chance To Become Bowl-Eligible...SB Nation NY
Louisville keeps Syracuse bowl hungry...Brian Bennett
As the Orange got squeezed by Louisville, not only was a game lost . . . but a nice opportunity, too...Bud Poliquin
|Syracuse vs. Louisville Football: Coach Marrone Post-Game|
|Syracuse vs. Louisville Football: Bud and NolanÃƒÂ¢Ã‚Â€Ã‚Â™s Take|