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UConn 28 - Syracuse 21: Orange Defeat Orange Again

One team in the game between the Syracuse Orange and the Connecticut Huskies had five turnovers, 113 passing yards in the entire game, got out-gained on total offense and only threw three passes in the second half.

The other team lost the game.

After the Louisville loss, I felt like a lot of people were using their Jump To Conclusions mat to make it out like this wasn't a very good team who just happened to get lucky against West Virginia. After the 28-21 UConn loss, it's hard to stand up and defend the squad, especially as West Virginia continues to cheapen our win over them.

There's a good football team in there somewhere. We've seen them emerge from time to time. Sometimes we see the offense do it, like the early 2nd half on Saturday. Sometimes we see the defense do it. Rarely do we see them do it together. And in the past two weeks, we haven't seen much of either.

Before we talk about the game itself, we need to ask the question on every Syracuse fan's mind right now...

Are we going to lose-out, finish 5-7, miss a bowl game and end the year on a soul-crushing five-game losing streak?

I honestly don't know. It would be unfair to anyone to say otherwise. This Syracuse team could come out next week and decimate South Florida like we did West Virginia. We could beat South Florida on a last-second field goal (or an incorrectly-called missed field goal). We could lose to South Florida in double-overtime. We could lose to South Florida by three touchdowns. No situation is off the table at this point.

Back to the UConn game for now. Let's start with what was good. Alec Lemon had disappeared in recent weeks, seemingly replaced by Dorian Graham as Option No. 3 behind Nick Provo and Van Chew. Then, he blew up for 9 catches, 157 yards, and a TD. Nice to see you again, Sir Alec. Stick around, will you?

Speaking of Graham, he continues to make an impact. Unfortunately, Syracuse is using him a little too much and defenses are picking up his tricks a lot easier. Less is more with Dorian when it comes to the fancy stuff.

Nick Provo continues to prove himself one of the best TEs in the nation and make his case as the best in SU history. 7 catches, 53 yards and a TD. He's going to blow the door off of Chris Gedney's record for most catches in a season by a tight end. Gedney had 34, Provo already has 39.

Defensively, Philip Thomas grabbed two more INTs and scored a 9.7 from the East German judge on that fancy spin-for-no-reason on one of them,

Chandler Jones reminds us what we were missing with six tackles, a sack, and two forced fumbles. Marquis Spruill was a madman all over the field as well.

And how bout that hit Dan Vaughan put on McCummings to force a fumble? Why is that not on YouTube?

As for the negatives...there's so many it's hard to pinpoint. So many missed opportunities. How do you lose to a team with five turnovers? Giving the ball up three times yourself is a good start.

Another slow start. Another quick deficit. This team loves to make things hard, even when they're playing well.

Nassib started rough, over-throwing everything. Then, he settled down and got into that patented rhythm of his. Eventually, either of his own accord or due to the breakdown in play-caling, he fell off again.

Antwon Bailey's so-so, not-so-amazing, very mediocre time continues for the second-straight game. 51 yards on 16 carries isn't what this team needs.

The kicking team had a rough day, to say the least. A missed field goal by Das Boot and some really meh punts fron Jonathan Fisher. We did ourselves no favors on special teams all day long.

And the tackling. MY GOD. The tackling. Or lack thereof, I suppose. It was just...staggering. I wish to never speak of it again.

Most of all, however, there's Nate Hackett's play-calling. It's been under fire for some time now but it was beyond reproach in this game. When I "leaked" his entire playbook, I feel like i was only half-kidding. If you can prove to me that Syracuse ran more than ten different plays in the entire game, I will buy you a pack of bologna. Pretty sure we saw the Dorian Graham reverse at least three times. The play-action bootleg? Five, six times. No wonder UConn had us so figured out in the 4th quarter. They'd seen everything multiple times already.

And so, the Orange have moved from an extremely good-looking 5-2 to an extremely-nerve-wracking 5-4. None of the three remaining games seem completely winnable, though South Florida and Pittsburgh look a lot easier than Cincinnati. That said, it's Syracuse that Syracuse has to defeat. If they get out of their own way and play good football, this team will win its sixth game and go to another bowl. They might even win seven games again.

Then again, they might lose all three and send us hurtling into an off-season of doubts, disappointment and despair.

Let's try not to think about that...yet.

  • Syracuse Football vs Connecticut Recap: The Sunny Side...Brent Axe
  • Syracuse Football vs Connecticut Recap: The Dark Side...Brent Axe
  • Syracuse Football vs Connecticut Recap: This, That, and the Other Thing...Brent Axe
  • Syracuse prepared for Connecticut's wildcat offense, but couldn't stop it...Dave Rahme
  • Stat sheet looks OK for Syracuse, but scoreboard tells a different story...Nolan Weidner
  • Unchanging Paul Pasqualoni insists big game 'was about these players . . . and that's it'...Bud Poliquin
  • OPPORTUNITY LOST: Syracuse fails to capitalize on forced turnovers in loss to Connecticut...Daily Orange
  • Syracuse defense worn down by physical Connecticut running game in loss...Daily Orange
  • Coach P Solves Syracuse, Doug Marrone Out-Coached in Another Stinker...Orange Fizz
  • Pasqualoni defeats his former team, Syracuse...The Juice

Doug Marrone's answers questions after The Orange 28-21 loss to Uconn. Video by Frank Ordonez / The Post-Standard.