Dear DOCTOR Daryl Gross:
Hi Doc. How are you? How was your Tom Collins in Club 44 tonight? Listen, I just wanted to bend your ear for a second. See, last year, the Syracuse Orange dominated the West Virginia Mountaineers in the Dome on Friday night. Two weeks ago, we beat the Pittsburgh Panthers in the Dome on Friday night. Tonight, we obliterated Coach P and the Connecticut Huskies . I mean, did you see it from your luxury box? It was insane. It was everything we fans have been waiting to see all season.
So I have a request.
Please do what you can to make all of our remaining home games on Friday from now on. And from now on, please schedule all home games for Friday nights.
Obviously, this is the only thing holding us back from greatness. Make it happen.
I mean, ARE YOU SERIOUS, GUYS? Look, I think we can all agree that UConn is terrrrrible. But, we're also talking about a Syracuse team that showed what it's capable of doing when it gets out of its own way.
When it eliminates turnovers.
When it eliminates special teams mistakes.
When it eliminates mental miscues.
I don't know if this team can do this against Louisville or Cincy or Missouri. But it can compete and it can put points on the board. The potential can be realized. That's exciting.
It was a little scary when the Orange started the game with their usual, "look great, can't finish" system. Their 6-0 lead should have been a 10-0 lead and you just got the familiar sense that they were going to let UConn back in and eventually give up their advantage.
Thankfully, they got their groove back, the defense really stifled UConn and the offense woke up in time to go hog wild in the second half.
Ryan Nassib had a couple hiccups but overall managed the game well-enough until the Orange were able to open things up. A 14-of-20 for 251 yard night might not be among his best of the season but the 2 TD/0 INT ratio is where you realize how well he played.
Of course, it didn't hurt that
Sir Alec Lemon Alex Lemon had a breakout game, grabbing eight balls for 166 yards and a TD. Lord Beckett of Wales was Nassib's TE of choice today, grabbing four passes for 69 yards and a touchdown. No catches for Marcus Sales on the day, but, he wasn't needed.
Jerome Smith might wear #45 but he played like a #44 on the day, rumbling his way to 133 yards on 19 carries. He really showcased his bruising size and running style. Prince-Tyson Gulley was used as a solid compliment for 38 yards and a touchdown on eight carries.
The Tank package had a rough start but, eventually, Hackett figured out how to run it. Adonis Ameen-Moore ran for a TD (3 carries, -1 yards, TD) and then a later play-action pass to Wales led to a second TD. Finally, eventually, Syracuse realizes how to work the Tank to it's full potential.
Ashton Broyld grabbed 58 yards on eleven carries, mostly in garbage time. Still, nice to see the guy back on the field, making some good moves.
Big, big day for Das Boot, Ross Krautman. Coming off a rough game and in the midst of a rough season, the All-Big East kicker had an All-Big East day. 4-for-4 on field goals, including a 47 and 42-yarder, as well as 4-for-4 on XPs. Good for Das Boot.
Another really solid game for the defense, especially the Front 7. They completely shut down the UConn run game and really blew up UConn's offensive line all day long. The secondary got lucky a lot thanks to a poor day by UConn's passing attack. Shamarko Thomas nabbed an interception in garbage time, only the fourth all season for the Orange.
A fantastic win. The best one since the West Virginia win. It doesn't save the season and it doesn't confirm that we're "back" or anything like that. But going into a winnable road game against USF, the Orange proved they have the ability to get back to 4-4. And then...who knows? The Quest For Beef lives...