After a nice win over the UConn Huskies, it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see a Syracuse Orange player or two among today’s ACC player of the week honors. Lo and behold, we get one. It’s just not the one we thought...
Obviously, congratulations to Zaire Franklin first and foremost. An SU defender being recognized for the second straight week -- Daivon Ellison was honored after the USF game — is a good sign of improvement for the group (and one we discussed a bit after the win on Saturday). Franklin was a key part of that defensive effort against the Huskies, which the ACC summarizes in their release:
“Franklin made a career-high 14 tackles, including a season-best 2.5 tackles for loss, in Syracuse’s 31-24 victory at Connecticut. He also had one pass breakup. Franklin was involved in two of the game’s most pivotal plays. With the scored tied at 17 late in the third quarter, Franklin tipped UConn quarterback Bryant Shirreffs’ pass into the waiting arms of cornerback Cordell Hudson, who returned the ball 22 yards for a touchdown to give Syracuse a 24-17 lead. Then, midway through the fourth quarter and Huskies down seven, Franklin stopped Shirreffs for a gain of just one yard on fourth-and-goal from the SU 2-yard line. The Orange offense took over after the defensive stand and put together a 99-yard scoring drive to put the game out of reach. “
Now to the other side of this conversation: Where the hell is Amba Etta-Tawo’s name? You know, the guy who caught 12 passes for 270 yards (an SU record), plus two scores. That guy.
It ends up the nation’s leading receiver was surpassed by North Carolina’s Ryan Switzer. Switzer, who entered the season with plenty of acclaim, had 16 catches for 208 yards and a touchdown. A nice stat line, clearly. But yardage and points-wise, certainly doesn’t LOOK more impressive than Etta-Tawo’s day.
Call it Carolina bias, spreading the love or whatever else you need to. Just a weird development to see a name other than Amba’s there. We move on, however. And congratulate Zaire once again for a job well done vs. UConn.