This is the fanpost where I blatantly ignore the really really really big story regarding Syracuse and selfishly focus on my own adventures for the weekend, in case you're interested.
Honestly I've been trying to be as positive as possible going into our game yesterday. In truth, objectively I believed that we had as much a chance at coming out victorious as we did during our trip out West LAST season. Might sound like cheap words now, but I didn't post this anytime before the game because I thought people would take it as negativity. There was/is no reason to be negative about this team or this game, all this loss means is that we won't be playing for a BCS championship. The opportunity to win was there last night too. IMO, we let USC off the hook. Maybe this is just more of my optimism speaking, but from a guy who was there this didn't have the feeling of a 3 TD beat-down, and I've witnessed my chare of beat-downs. Without further adieu:
- "Team bloodyyank44" had a blast at the game, even though we lost by a wide margin. My wife and I were invited to partake in a game of flipcup with some random, yet REALLY friendly/drunk out of their minds Syracuse fans as we walked into the stadium. I got in a couple rounds in before we had to politely make our
escape way into the coliseum. Sat next to a Dean at SU who claimed to be good friends with HCDM, had an AWESOME pre-game conversation with him. Also sat next to parents of a current SU Lax player, so it was cool talking with them too. The group in front were late 90's alumni, asked if I knew some character named The Glaude. CLASSY bunch. SU was tremendously well respresented at this game.
- Ok now to the game. My God, we have a QB. I know the final score wasn't close, but I thought Nassib had himself a fine/decent afternoon given the task he had to accomplish. I can't say I feel the same about the rest of the offense (more on that later). The only play I question his decision making on was that run he fumbled on the last drive. We all wanted another TD, but mostly to make ourselves feel better about the inevitable outcome. No reason to put yourself at risk of an injury to only get a few more yards up the middle during garbage time. We need you healthy all season, Ryan.
- Great job by the offense to put up points on the opening drive. That Dean I was sitting next to mentioned that HCDM had been preaching all week about how USC likes to psyche other teams out, so it was good to move the ball and come away with a score right out the gate. Glad Kraut also had a chance to shake the rust off and connect.
- Speaking of QBs, who knew the 2nd best arm on the team belonged to ALEC LEMON. Holy s**t that got the SU section going. Nice catch by Chew in the end zone too. All of this took place right in front of the USC student section and band.
- After the TD, nice response by the D to shut down USC on their next drive. The momentum was all SU at that point...
- Saw lots of Deon Goggins jerseys in the SU section. Glad he got his named called a few times. Seemed like he had an ok day. Nice to see Mikhail pick up that fumble late too.
- Plenty of nice hits by the defense yesterday. Woods may have had a nice day, but seeing him lose his lid was NICE. Forgive the term, but I've seen flashes of that defense we had last season. I think they'll be ready once conference play begins.
- It was tough to tell from where I was sitting, but I thought the O-line did a better job of protecting Nassib, and though he didn't get as many opportunities, Bailey looked better running the ball than he did vs. Rhode Island. Liked that we got more passes Bailey's way, I think that's what makes him a special back.
- I also thought Provo had a good game. I know there's some Provo haters out there, but the guy is a solid TE. We WILL miss his contributions to the offense next year, IMO.
- I never got the feeling that SU let up on USC no matter how far down they got. Proof to me is that sack of Barkley at the end of the game, when USC should have been taking a knee. The D could have let them walk right into the end zone, and instead said F**K NO, ASSHOLES right back to the Trojans. That play, and this game, should serve as good locker room/motivation material for when we face USC on the east coast.
- I really don't like seeing players getting hurt, but I wouldn't have minded it if Barkley got dinged on that play. Not enough to KO his season, but enough to make Kiffin s**t his pants.
- Speaking of Mr. Barkley, no doubt he is a phenominal QB with an NFL career ahead of him. But, for arguements sake, if Nassib had Barkley's supporting cast, would Nassib really look a whole lot worse? I wouldn't trade our team for anything, but it's an interesting point to ponder.
- Offense did a good job hanging onto the ball. USC's D might not be a bunch of ball hawks, that deserves credit.
- Obviously, 38-17 is not the outcome we hope for. This loss is to this team what the UW was to last years team. Sucks to wake up the next day knowing your team had lost the day prior.
- USC's band is as annoying as advertised and then some.
- Our secondary looked God-awful, but they were not help by the D-line one bit. You can't let Barkley have all day and throw with the WR's he's got; you've got to find a way to get in his face early and often or else he'll put the bal wherever he wants to, and everywhere we aren't. Didn't happen, and we missed Chandler. Needed him to give the D a chance.
- Need the defense to get healthy. I was happy with how our bye weeks laid out this year, and will still be happy if we can win the next 3 games. But our D needs a week off to lick its wounds. Guess we'll need those bye weeks even more during Big East play, I s'pose.
- Before the game I said the offense needed to pick up 1st downs, move the ball effectively into Trojan territory whether the drive ended in a TD or not. They did that. But I counted several times this offense beat itself. Penalty here, dropped pass there, players tripping over their own feet. Needed a few more of those drives to end in points to have a chance. Especially that drive after the Lemon TD pass in the 3rd Q. The momentum was there. Put points on the board there, and we're right back in it.
- Defense also beat itself. I'll get to the refs in a minute, but some of those penalties were just DUMB and set up scoring drives for USC that should have ended in a punt. The opening TD drive, especially. That set the tone for the defense for the rest of the game. I'm not going to pick on the secondary. Last night bas bad enough. - Tough game for Raupers. Why is Fisher not the starter again?
- Where oh where are these talented WR's and RB's I've been hearing about? Glad Dorian and Prince got a chance, but where's Moore? Smith? Fleming? West? Buehler?
- I would rather have had the ball first in the 2nd half. But being what it was, opening drive didn't necessarily NEED to be a TD in a game like this. Except I'm of the opinion that when you get the ball inside the opponents 5 going in...yeah, that needs to be a TD every time. We played ourselves back to a FG try. Wasn't happy with the play calls either.
- Speaking of which, I keep hearing that this is a run-first offense. I don't buy that. We play with mainly one back the whole game. Our strengths are with the passing game...for now. Lets play to our strengths. Get Bailey the ball out in space early and often, then let him take it up the gut.
- Oh yeah, the refs. May sound like sour grapes, but dammit, in a game like this you need a few breaks. Not saying we need most definitely needed MORE breaks than USC got, but yeah, it was all USC this game.
- Speaking of USC, is their a more classless school/program/fanbase in all of America? They definitely we're afraid to mix it up with some SU fans.
- The Coliseum is a simply phenominal venue. It's easy to see why USC has no trouble recruiting, based upon being inside that stadium. It still feels like a pro venue. Getting to see Nassibs melon blown up on that jumbotron was a nice touch. Looked cool as the other side of the pillow, as they say.
- That being said, I know some people were questioning the need to play this game/series. I personally am all for it for this reason alone: I believe (some) of these players will be playing in a BCS bowl game at some point in their college careers. When they do, it won't be the first time they've taken the field on one of the biggest stages in all of college football against a top-tier opponent. And in all liklihood, when that happens, the opponent will be packing in more fans than we will.
- I know this was said already, but it was too great not to say it again. Towards the end of the game a ref called USC South Carolina not once, but twice in a row on separate play stoppages! Also, I dunno if it was audible on TV, but one ref clearly got in the huddle/on the sideline with USC on their last possession and (with his mic still on) said "you've got a big lead, let's not have any bulls**t". Obviously Kiffin didn't listen.
- Last years D averaged 30.3 pts vs (non-BE) AQ teams, the worst being 41 to Washington. This year they are averaging about a FG worse at 33.5. Last nights 38 pts obviously being the worst so far. So not a tremendous difference. The 29 given up to Wake Forest is the least they've scored so far. The Deacs are now 2-1. Maybe I'm reaching for that silver lining, but I think with the combination of speed, youth and Scott Shafer we have, we'll get there.
- Glad SU made this trip, if only for selfish reasons. This will likely be the last SU sporting even for me in awhile. I'll fanshot some photos later, when I get the chance to upload.
If you were there, what did you see that I missed? For those watching at home, how'd we look on a non-ESPN broadcast?
I also got soome good photos, I'll fanshot later when I get the chance to upload.