In 2007, the Syracuse Orange entered the football season with a truckload of hype and excitement behind them. This was going to be the season...the one where it all turns around. The Orange were going to end the season with a winning record. They were going to go to a bowl game. They were going to cease being the laughingstock of the Big East.
They promptly went out and eliminated all of that hope and promise in one game, losing to Washington 42-17. Apropos then that Washington will be Syracuse's opponent following their 29-3 season-opening win over Akron this Saturday. The Orange fully avenged the 2008 loss to the Zips with the dominating victory. This time, they came through on the promise of a new hope (Episode IV). Now the Orange will have the opportunity to do to Washington what the Huskies did to them back in '07. Take an entire preseason of hope and desire and dreams and crush it. We look forward to the opportunity.
But first, let's take a look back at the last game. It's rare that it's enjoyable experience to do so...
"This is a different team, we’re starting a new tradition and trying to get back to our old tradition." - Delone Carter
That sounds like a lot of traditions. Let's ease into this, please.
"That’s the way we wanted to open the season up, you know what I’m saying?...I expected that, you know what I’m saying?" - Delone Carter
Yes, we do know what you're saying.
"[Floyd Little] gave an unbelievable speech. If you weren’t ready to play after that speech last night I don’t know what can get you ready." - Doug Marrone
"All I know is something hit my elbow...I got it. I know Hogue will tell you he got it. I’m saying I got it." - Chandler Jones
"He said that?...I got it with my forearm. I got it. He said he got it? I’ll tell you what: I’ll give it to him." - Doug Hogue
Plenty more where that came from, fellas.
"I'm bitterly disappointed in the outcome of the game." - Akron coach Rob Ianello
And that's fine by us.
In general, the offense had some moments. Especially in the hurry-up. As my fellow Seattle game-watchers asked, "why don't we just the two-minute drill the entire game?" and there's some kind of strange validity to that. Akron basically shut down the running attack and dared the Orange to beat them in the air. Nassib was mostly up to the task, as were the receivers.
Of the 29 points, the offense accounted for 23 of them. I'll take that but SU is going to need a little more if it wants to beat better opponents. The defense is going to play well but they're not going to keep opponents out of the endzone every game.
All in all, you have to pleased with what you say out of Nassib. 229 yards and 2 TDs on 17-for-27 passing and in his first start. Yes, there were moments I'm sure he'd love to have back. But that'll come. The real key is going to be whether or not his o-line can protect him, especially on the left side. When they don't, he gets rushed and makes mistakes. When he has time, he makes beautiful throws like that 2nd TD pass. Maybe it will teach him not to hold on to the ball for so long, a trait that just comes from experience.
Charley Loeb looked ridiculously good-looking on the sidelines. As usual.
Let's put it this way...Delone Carter and Antwon Bailey didn't do anything wrong. They didn't fumble. They didn't make poor decisions. They just did good. And that was enough on this day. Carter's 91-yard, TD statline sounds little more impressive than it really was (3.5 YPG). We'll need more productivity out of him. Bailey was nice change of pace and Nassib was a helluva surprise with 58 yards on the ground.
First of all, why didn't anyone tell me Aaron Weaver was a beast? When I saw him strolling into the endzone I was trying to figure out which tight end he was. Dude's a big target...look forward to seeing more of him. Especially in the endzone. The big offensive question was answered and the answer is...we're not going to have the home-run threat, but we are going to have capable receivers who can make plays. And that's all we ask for. No offense Marcus Sales but you just become that much more expendable.
When they did give Nassib time, he made plays. But too many times they let him down. Especially on the left side. And a rushed Nassib is a questionable Nassib. Combine that with the fact that they let Akron put a lid on Delone Carter and it looks like the O-line will continue to be the major question mark all season long.
Overall, one of the best defensive performances by a Syracuse team in a long time. Just completely snuffed out the Akron offense, limiting them to 166 total yards. The D will be our anchor...it's just going to be a matter of the offense keeping pace.
Chandler Jones could be anywhere right now. He's probably standing behind you right now. Because during the Akron game, dude was everywhere. Making plays in the middle, near the sidelines...whatever you needed. Arthur who?
Smith & Hogue spent the evening battling for The Bone. Doesn't matter who gets it, both of them were on top form all night. And I don't remember thinking anything about Spruill which, for a freshman, is just fine.
The biggest area of concerned for the SU D was solid on the night. That said, Da'Mon Merkerson, stop worrying about the hits and just tackle people. Please? Pretty sure we teach the whole "tackle with your arms" thing, right? Would like to have seen a couple of those swatted balls turn into INTs but overall a solid showing.
SPECIAL TEAMS (C-)
Different year, same f***ing issue. That would be a solid D if not for Chandler Jones' blocking the Akron FG and Mike Holmes redeeming his otherwise crappy evening with a TD return.
As for Holmes, WTF? That's a senior out there muffing all of those kicks? Holmes looked like it was his first day on the job. I know it was windy but...Jesus. Let's consider that position open, shall we? How bout Prince-Tyson? Gulley went nuts after returning the opening kickoff to the 25. That's the kind of excitement we need...even if the results don't warrant it.
LICHTENSTEIN??? It was Ross Krautman taking all of the kicks with Lichtenstein nowhere to be seen and...things were iffy. The 47-yard field goal was nice but a missed XP? Big no-no, sir. Looks like we were right to be concerned about Lichtenstein...now let's hope it's not too serious. This kicker battle is far from over.
Casullo, come on.
Other links, recaps and postgame news...
- NICELY DONE: SU undefeated for 1st time in seven years, clobbers Zips in season-opener...Daily Orange
- Syracuse University football starts new opening-day streak with 29-3 win at Akron...Nolan Weidner
- Zipping up Akron...The Newshouse
- Weaver, Chew answer questions about uncertainty for now, lead SU receivers in dominating effort...Daily Orange
- No opening night jitters for Ryan Nassib, as Syracuse University quarterback leads team to victory...Nolan Weidner
- Syracuse secondary gives Orange assistant coach reason to smile...Nolan Weidner
- Syracuse's football trip to Akron was all part of a plan, and that plan worked perfectly on Saturday...Bud Poliquin
- Syracuse Postgame Notes...SUAthletics.com
- Hall of Famer Floyd Little inspires Orange football players with Friday evening talk...Nolan Weidner
- Syracuse defense delivers big-time when offense puts it on the ropes with turnovers...Nolan Weidner
- Syracuse Football vs Akron Recap: First Things First...Brent Axe
- Syracuse Football vs Akron Recap: The Dark Side...Brent Axe
- Syracuse Football vs Akron Recap: The Sunny Side...Brent Axe
- Syracuse Football vs Akron Recap: This, That, and the Other Thing...Brent Axe
- Syracuse wears down Akron to spoil debut of Zips coach...Cleveland Plains-Dealer
- Syracuse Orange Week One: What Did We Learn in the Annihilation of Akron?...Dan Kelley
- What we learned in the Big East (Not The Same Old Syracuse)...Brian Bennett
- Big East helmet stickers: Week 1 (Ryan Nassib)...Brian Bennett
- Syracuse - Akron Postgame Reactions OR Great Start...Orange44
- Syracuse Dances Happy Dance...OrangeFizz
- Roadtrip Recap: Tailgate Trailblazers, Cornhole With The Carters, SU Delivers...Otto's Army
|SU wins season opener|