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Syracuse-Cincinnati Postmortem

Gonna have to speed through this since this suddenly became a crazy day for SU football.

Once again the Orange had opportunities and once again those opportunities were wasted.  A more talented opponent can only be kept at bay for so long when you don't take advantage of your chances.

The Syracuse University football team gave away any chance of pulling a substantial upset Saturday when in threw one interception on a first-and-goal and fumbled away another on a first-and-goal, allowing No. 5 Cincinnati to win 28-7 in a game that for three quarters was more closely contested than the final score.

Plain and simple, the Orange aren't good enough NOT to score when it's in the endzone.  They don't have the ability to make up for it elsewhere.  Even Doug Marrone knows that.

"At the end of the day we’re not a good enough football team to not execute at a very high level and stay in a game or be able to win a game against the No. 5 team in the country," SU head coach Doug Marrone said.

Zach Colloros had a great day statistically for Cincinnati.  He also made good on a couple broken plays and scrambles, which seems to be his specialty.  He even turned a busted field goal attempt into a well orchestrated touchdown despite Syracuse applying pressure.

The eye of the storm from both sides came on the field goal attempt turned touchdown 49 seconds into the second. With the game tied 7-7 and looking like a potential close contest for 60 minutes, Cincinnati lined up for a for a 33-yard field goal bid. Center Mike Windt’s snap was a little low, and Collaros, the holder, dropped the ball, gathered it up and rolled to his right.

"For that to be executed, you have to have a guy like Zach (holding),’’ Kelly said. "You have a punter in there, or somebody who is not used to it, he’s not going to make that play.’’

Collaros skirted some initial pressure, waited, waited some more and then threw back to his left, to Alli wide open in the end zone.

The two big stories on the day however had to the crowd, or lackthereof, and the reaction Greg Paulus and Ryan Nassib got throughout the day.  We'll go into more detail in another post but suffice to say, Greg Paulus is regressing.  And Brent Axe agrees that it's Ryan Nassib's time.

I don't think there is any question that Greg's game has regressed. His confidence level is low, his passes lack zip, and he has happy feet in the pocket at the first sign of trouble.

Paulus' game limits what you can do, where as Nassib's game has more upside. I can break down pocket awareness, size, mechanics, and x's and o's all day here, but the simple fact is Nassib is more of a play maker at this point than Paulus is.

Paulus can still help this team. He can be used in certain situations and formations and all the qualities he is praised for (leadership, etc) can still be used to help prepare this team every week. But it is time to give the job full time to Nassib to give him some serious reps to not only help this team right now, but help him transition into the full-time starter for next season.  

Cincinnati was nice enough to say that Syracuse "played harder" this year than they have in year's past.  Unfortunately we're starting to turn into the special-needs child of Big East football.  "He tried really hard, good for him!"  The pleasantries are over, I think.  We know that this team plays harder.  We appreciate it.  But we need wins now.  Even if those wins don't lead to a bowl game, that's almost besides the point.  We need wins to validate the work these guys are doing and to prove these errors are temporary.