My Take | Syracusefan.com

My Take

sutomcat

No recent Cali or Iggy awards; Mr Irrelevant
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I vacation in Orlando just about every year, so this was a nice bowl destination for me. Syracuse football and warm weather golf. How can you beat that?
One new thing this visit was the presence of direct discount flights from Syracuse.

Was able to secure a spot on Allegiant for Thursday night out and Sunday afternoon back home. Allegiant flies to the Sanford airport, maybe 20 or 25 miles north of Orlando, which was new for me.

The Sanford airport is a lot smaller and older than the main Orlando airport and more inconvenient too. My first impression was negative. The carpets were filthy and it seemed to me that they smelled. The access roads are narrow single lane roads that look more like country roads in the middle of nowhere, but i guess this makes sense, as that is where this airport is.

Still, Allegiant has low fares and i only had a carry on bag, so the price was right. You get nothing during the flights; not even a beverage. But even in the middle of the holiday season, i paid about $450 round trip. Not bad.
While down here, I played two rounds of golf. One was at a resort course called Hawk’s Landing that was really nice, but pricey at $95. It was at a Marriott property across I4 from Disney Springs. Good service, great pro shop, but one of the attendants was a Penn State fan. How unfortunate.
The other was at a course off the beaten tracks in Clermont called King’s Ridge. This course is in a hilly area and had a lot of elevated tees and raised greens. Nice layout. But the greens were in poor condition, with lots of bare spots. The grass that was living was long and the greens were very slow and furry. Cost was $35. Sometimes you get what you pay for. This was one of those times.

Restaurants of note i ate at include Miller’s Ale House and a BBQ place on Colonial that i think was called 4 Rivers Something, where Something is not the word Something. Miller’s is a sports bar with good food. Great place to watch a football game. There are a bunch of them around town. When in Orlando, i usually stop at Sonny’s BBQ for some ribs (highly recommended), but this time my group went to this 4 Rivers place. I had the St Louis ribs and they were very good. The green beans, served with bacon bits, were also tasty and they have some offbeat cool sodas there, including Radar’s favorite brand (this is something told to me; i think the brand had 4 letters), and a nice cherry coke type product made by Cherrywine? Anyway, this is a cool place, quite informal and there are lots of other BBQ options and some great looking desserts too. If you like BBQ, you might want to check it out.

We arrived at the board tailgate around 12:30 and secured an excellent spot near the epicenter of the group, and soon established a grilled area on the perimeter. Orangello stepped up to man the grill we brought and was soon doing dual grilling, cooking up whatever was put in front of him. TexanMark and Orangello did all the grilling and their efforts were heroic and are duly noted here. Also of note was the great job @MrsCrusty (don’t think that is her handle but I can’t check as I am typing this while flying back; Allegiant has not wifi period). @MrsCrusty took on the task of distribution and communications and did a great job getting the newly cooked food out from the grills and into grateful tailgatee’s mouths. Teeter was solid pushing for a board tailgate. And props to the many people who contributed food and helped make the tailgate a major success. It is so nice to have these things happen. It made the Iives of many a lot better. We estimated there were 100 people there at the peak of the tailgate and a lot more than that stopped by and participated for some period of time.
As always, it was great to see many old friends, and to meet some new ones at the tailgate. If you are a lurker and are thinking about possibly attending the next board event, i impeach you to do so. I can almost guarantee you will have a great time and really enjoy putting faces to names. It is funny. Almost no one ends up as you imagine them to look.
My group headed to the stadium about 1 hour before kickoff. It was 2 or 3 blocks away. Some entrepreneurs were sellling T-shirt’s and hats for both teams. The area surrounding the stadium isn’t upscale. Think small ugly building with bars on the windows, and fences with barbed wire on them. Pawn shops and bail bondsmen places. But it felt pretty safe with the hordes of Syracuse fans converging to the venue from all directions. It looked to me as though we had a 3:1 or perhaps 4:1 advantage walking in but once in the stadium, maybe it was only 3:1. Or maybe not. One thing is certain: Syracuse fans made 10 times the noise the sad and downtrodden WVU fans made. It was hard to see that fanbase look so depressed and hopeless. I am sorry they got relegated to the B12. Sometimes.

The area we had tickets for (open air) had individual seats made of plastic. They were relatively comfortable; definitely better than hard aluminum benches, but there wasn’t a ton of leg room (I am only 6’0 tall and whenever the large guy in the seat in front of me leaned back, his seat hit my knees in a less than pleasant way). I remain very concerned about SU trying to install individual seats in the upper deck at the Dome. Looks like there is barely enough room in the lower deck. Not so above. If patron comfort is of concern, I would rather sit on a bench and have my knees relatively free and unsmashed than to have to endure the Camping World experience for every home game.

The replay scoreboards were nice. There was a big one behind one end zone and two smaller ones in the corners of the other end zone. They offered a good vantage point to review the many controversial calls made by the troubled refs assigned to the game.
They didn’t have a ribbon scoreboard and offered minimal info about the game. You could see the down and distance, the time remaining, the score and the timeouts remaining for both teams. If you wanted stats or out of town scores, you were in the wrong place. The sound system was very good.
Really enjoyed the pregame ceremony where 3 paratroopers sky dove into the stadium and on to the field. That was cool. The fireworks at halftime were nice too. There were repeated tributes to servicemen and women and that was cool as well.

By my count, the WVU band was about twice the size of the SUMB, and the tuba count was a highly disturbing 20 to 10. Glad the band was allowed to come and I hope the coming string of bowl appearances will convince more students to join the SUMB. That said, props to the kids for putting on a good show and doing a fine job with the small numbers they had to work with.
The first half was kind of strange. Both teams struggled greatly to get into the end zone and a barrage of field goals were kicked. WVU got the ball to start the second half, scored to take the lead and looked poised to take control of the game. But Dino and Mike Lynch made some adjustments on offense and the ball started to move a lot better as the second half played out.
The play where Dungey scrambled like a mad man to both sides, running for his life, then found and hit Mo with that pass on the run was a big turning point. It was clear WVU was not going to score many points and could not let Syracuse get into the end zone. Great job by Neal in the open field, where he showed great vision, cutting ability and some power to get near the goal line.
Thought it was nice to get a sneak preview of what Trishton and Abdul could do in the bowl game. Trishton didn’t get many snaps and I think the play he scored might have been the first time he got on the field. Abdul got a lot more playing time. Didn’t get great numbers but I think that was largely due to the WVU run defense, as he didn’t get much daylight. But I thought he showed a nice blend of quickness and power we haven’t had in a while.

Wow, WVU ran a ton of blitzes in the first half. They had a short kid with a beer gut at linebacker, #34, who blitzed up the middle on seemingly every play and he got a lot of tackles and disrupted our offense a lot. In the second half, we started throwing to the area he abandoned when he blitzed, got some big gains and put an end to that fun. Good adjustment by our staff.
WVU played a lot of press coverage, and had a smallish corner on Custis most of the game. We tried to take advantage a lot here and had only some success. Jamel had some sloppy penalties and continues to extend his arms to his defender when the pass is thrown his way, which is bad technique and invites offensive PI calls. Still, he made some big plays and ended up with a big game his time time playing as an Orangeman.

We had a lot of success targeting Taj, who again seemed open every time the ball came his way. He had great success making the hapless WVU corners miss him to get yards after the catch for much needed first downs. Hope he is okay after than cheap shot. They also went after Eric and got caught. Not cool Mountaineers.

Thought Eric got off to a shaky start and made a really bad decision turning away from pressure and throwing without really looking the opposite direction. That said, WVU was all over him on every passing play in the first half and given the intense pressure they brought, he did pretty well to escape from pressure a few times and get what he could given what was there. It seemed to me that our early use of a power package was a big failure. We couldn’t run from it and couldn’t pass either. Thought it wasn’t until we went with 4 WR sets that things started to open up and that porous pass coverage the Mountaineers are known for finally emerged.
I thought Dana saw the film of Clemson and Pitt and came to the conclusion our defense could be worn down by repeated runs up the middle. He didn’t understand that all happened against a 4-2-5 defense and the SU run defense had gotten far better once a third linebacker was added to the mix in running situations (thanks Shy). He kept trying to run the ball almost to the end of the game. Bad strategy, lazy scouting. I see rumors he is going to become the next HC at Houston (possibly replacing former SU OC Major Applewhite). If so, it is probably for the best for WVU, That guy is not going to take them to a NC. Ever,
Props to Riley for another great KO return and some good decisions returning punts. He ended up becoming a really good return guy for us and also quietly become our leading WR. He will be missed.


Thought the defense was terrific. Fredrick had an outstanding game, saw him break up several plays that went his way. Thought Slayton was dominant inside and was largely responsible for taking away the Mountaineer running game. Thought Guthrie was terrific also. Most times when I saw a nice tackle on defense and wondered who made the play the second half of the season, it was Ryan. He impressed leaps and bounds as the season played out.
Coleman was dominant rushing the passer and looked to have a number of sacks. Young Richards did a nice job pass rushing as well.
Everyone else played well. Whitner doesn’t make big hits or have great physical gifts but he seems to be in the right place very consistently and I think he is one of our smartest players. I will miss him too.
I will remember this team for it’s grittiness and tenacity. They played hard every game and never gave up. Ever. I have to mention Eric Dungey here. There were great leaders on the defense and this program has had a ton of great captains and leaders come though over the years. But I think this team adopted the personality of its quarterback on offense and defense, and I think his impact on the program has been pretty profound. No question the staff has played a big role here as well but I think Eric’s leadership has accelerated the turnaround and dragged the team to a place it probably shouldn’t have gotten to for another year or two. I am going to miss all the senior leI vacation in Orlando just about every year, so this was a nice bowl destination for me. One new thing this visit was the presence of direct discount flights from Syracuse.
Was able to secure a spot on Allegiant for Thursday night out and Sunday afternoon back home. Allegiant flies Sanford airport, maybe 20 or 25 miles north of Orlando, which was new for me.


The Sanford airport is a lot smaller and older than the main Orlando airport and more inconvenient too. My first impression was negative. The carpets were filthy and it smelled. The access roads are narrow single lane roads that look more like country roads in the middle of nowhere, but that is where this airport is.
Still, Allegiant has low fares and i only had a carry on bag, so the price was right. You get nothing during the flights; not even a beverage. But even in the middle of the holiday season, i paid about $450 round trip. Not bad.

I played two rounds of golf. One was at a resort course called Hawk’s Landing that was really nice, but pricey at $95. It was at a Marriott property across I4 from Disney Springs. Good service, great pro shop, but one of the attendants was a Penn State fan.
The other was at a course off the beaten tracks in Clermont called King’s Ridge. This course is in a hilly area and had a lot of elevate tees and raised greens. Nice layout. But the greens were in poor conditions, with lots of bare spots. The grass that was living was long and the greens were very slow and furry. Cost was $35. Sometimes you get what you pay for. This was one of those times.
We arrived at the board tailgate around 12:30 and secured an excellent spot near the epicenter of the group, and soon established a grilled area on the perimeter. Orangello stepped up to man the grill we brought and was soon doing dual grilling, cooking up whatever was put in front of him. TexanMark and Orangello did all the grilling and their efforts were heroic and are duly noted here. Also of note was the great job @MrsCrusty (don’t think that is her handle but I can’t check as I am typing this while flying back; Allegiant has not wifi period). @MrsCrusty took on the task of distribution and communications and did a great job getting the newly cooked food out from the grills and into grateful tailgatee’s mouths. Teeter was solid pushing for a board tailgate. And props to the many people who contributed food and helped make the tailgate a major success. It is so nice to have these things happen. It made the Iives of many a lot better. We estimated there were 100 people there at the peak of the tailgate and a lot more than that stopped by and participated for some period of time.

My group headed to the stadium about 1 hour before kickoff. It was 2 or 3 blocks away. Some entrepreneurs were sellling T-shirt’s and hats for both teams. The area surrounding the stadium isn’t upscale. Think small ugly building with bars on the windows, and fences with barbed wire on them. Pawn shops and bail bondsmen places. But it felt pretty safe with the hordes of Syracuse fans converging to the venue from all directions. It looked to me as though we had a 3:1 or perhaps 4:1 advantage walking in but once in the stadium, maybe it was only 3:1. Or maybe not. One thing is certain: Syracuse fans made 10 times the noise the sad and downtrodden WVU fans made. It was hard to see that fanbase look so depressed and hopeless. I am sorry they got relegated to the B12. Sometimes.
The area we had tickets for (open air) had individual seats made of plastic. They were relatively comfortable; definitely better than hard aluminum benches, but there wasn’t a ton of leg room (I am only 6’0 tall and whenever the large guy in the seat in front of me leaned back, his seat hit my knees in a less than pleasant way). I remain very concerned about SU trying to install individual seats in the upper deck at the Dome. Looks like there is barely enough room in the lower deck. Not so above. If patron comfort is of concern, I would rather sit on a bench and have my knees relatively free and unsmashed than to have to endure the Camping World experience for every home game.
The replay scoreboards were nice. There was a big one behind one end zone and two smaller ones in the corners of the other end zone. They offered a good vantage point to review the many controversial calls made by the troubled refs assigned to the game.
They didn’t have a ribbon scoreboard and offered minimal info about the game. You could see the down and distance, the time remaining, the score and the timeouts remaining for both teams. If you wanted stats or out of town scores, you were in the wrong place. The sound system was very good.
Really enjoyed the pregame ceremony where 3 paratroopers sky dove into the stadium and on to the field. That was cool. The fireworks at halftime were nice too. There were repeated tributes to servicemen and women and that was cool as well.

By my count, the WVU band was about twice the size of the SUMB, and the tuba count was a highly disturbing 20 to 10. Glad the band was allowed to come and I hope the coming string of bowl appearances will convince more students to join the SUMB. That said, props to the kids for putting on a good show and doing a fine job with the small numbers they had to work with.
The first half was kind of strange. Both teams struggled greatly to get into the end zone and a barrage of field goals were kicked. WVU got the ball to start the second half, scored to take the lead and looked poised to take control of the game. But Dino and Mike Lynch made some adjustments on offense and the ball started to move a lot better as the second half played out.
The play where Dungey scrambled like a mad man to both sides, running for his life, then found and hit Mo with that pass on the run was a big turning point. It was clear WVU was not going to score many points and could not let Syracuse get into the end zone. Great job by Neal in the open field, where he showed great vision, cutting ability and some power to get near the goal line.

Thought it was nice to get a sneak preview of what Trishton and Abdul could do in the bowl game. Trishton didn’t get many snaps and I think the play he scored might have been the first time he got on the field. Abdul got a lot more playing time. Didn’t get great numbers but I think that was largely due to the WVU run defense, as he didn’t get much daylight. But I thought he showed a nice blend of quickness and power we haven’t had in a while.

Wow, WVU ran a ton of blitzes in the first half. They had a short kid with a beer gut at linebacker, #34, who blitzed up the middle on seemingly every play and he got a lot of tackles and disrupted our offense a lot. In the second half, we started throwing to the area he abandoned when he blitzed, got some big gains and put an end to that fun. Good adjustment by our staff.

WVU played a lot of press coverage, and had a smallish corner on Custis most of the game. We tried to take advantage a lot here and had only some success. Jamel had some sloppy penalties and continues to extend his arms to his defender when the pass is thrown his way, which is bad technique and invites offensive PI calls. Still, he made some big plays and ended up with a big game his time time playing as an Orangeman.

We had a lot of success targeting Taj, who again seemed open every time the ball came his way. He had great success making the hapless WVU corners miss him to get yards after the catch for much needed first downs. Hope he is okay after than cheap shot. They also went after Eric and got caught. Not cool Mountaineers.

Thought Eric got off to a shaky start and made a really bad decision turning away from pressure and throwing without really looking the opposite direction. That said, WVU was all over him on every passing play in the first half and given the intense pressure they brought, he did pretty well to escape from pressure a few times and get what he could given what was there. It seemed to me that our early use of a power package was a big failure. We couldn’t run from it and couldn’t pass either. Thought it wasn’t until we went with 4 WR sets that things started to open up and that porous pass coverage the Mountaineers are known for finally emerged.

I thought Dana saw the film of Clemson and Pitt and came to the conclusion our defense could be worn down by repeated runs up the middle. He didn’t understand that all happened against a 4-2-5 defense and the SU run defense had gotten far better once a third linebacker was added to the mix in running situations (thanks Shy). He kept trying to run the ball almost to the end of the game. Bad strategy, lazy scouting. I see rumors he is going to become the next HC at Houston (possibly replacing former SU OC Major Applewhite). If so, it is probably for the best for WVU, That guy is not going to take them to a NC. Ever,
Props to Riley for another great KO return and some good decisions returning punts. He ended up becoming a really good return guy for us and also quietly become our leading WR. He will be missed.

Thought the defense was terrific. Fredrick had an outstanding game, saw him break up several plays that went his way. Thought Slayton was dominant inside and was largely responsible for taking away the Mountaineer running game. Thought Guthrie was terrific also. Most times when I saw a nice tackle on defense and wondered who made the play the second half of the season, it was Ryan. He impressed leaps and bounds as the season played out.

Coleman was dominant rushing the passer and looked to have a number of sacks. Young Richards did a nice job pass rushing as well.
Everyone else played well. Whitner doesn’t make big hits or have great physical gifts but he seems to be in the right place very consistently and I think he is one of our smartest players. I will miss him too.

I will remember this team for it’s grittiness and tenacity. They played hard every game and never gave up. Ever. I have to mention Eric Dungey here. There were great leaders on the defense and this program has had a ton of great captains and leaders come though over the years. But I think this team adopted the personality of its quarterback on offense and defense, and I think his impact on the program has been pretty profound. No question the staff has played a big role here as well but I think Eric’s leadership has accelerated the turnaround and dragged the team to a place it probably shouldn’t have gotten to for another year or two. I am going to miss all the senior leaders on this team but Eric most of all. I hope he knows how much of an impact he has had and I hope he knows that ‘tall tales’ will be told of his doings for Syracuse for many years to come. No bologna cheese.

I like the players who are returning and I greatly look forward to seeing what they can do next season. But for a while, I am going to remember this bunch of seniors and smile. They did what we have been waiting for. For a long time. They turned the corner. And guess what? I don’t think we re going back anytime soon.
aders on this team but Eric most of all. I hope he knows how much of an impact he has had and I hope he knows that ‘tall tales’ will be told of his doings for Syracuse for many years to come. No bologna cheese.

I like the players who are returning and I greatly look forward to seeing what they can do next season. But for a while, I am going to remember this bunch of seniors and smile. They did what we have been waiting for. For a long time. They turned the corner. And guess what? I don’t think we re going back anytime soon.
 
Q - how does one know which tailgate is the Fine Mess?

And where was it located?
You mentioned something about “several blocks away from the stadium”.

The crew we ended up hanging with had a spot in Lot G, which was on the map, but not really marked at all in the real world.
But it ended up being directly behind the live band that was playing at the Fanfest, so it was about ideal.

Riley is only a Junior.
I’m very much looking forward to his excellent Dino impersonation after next year’s bowl win. :cool:
 
Q - how does one know which tailgate is the Fine Mess?

And where was it located?
You mentioned something about “several blocks away from the stadium”.

The crew we ended up hanging with had a spot in Lot G, which was on the map, but not really marked at all in the real world.
But it ended up being directly behind the live band that was playing at the Fanfest, so it was about ideal.

Riley is only a Junior.
I’m very much looking forward to his excellent Dino impersonation after next year’s bowl win. :cool:[/QUOTE

The Fine Mess Tailgate was in lot 1. There was a thread on the tailgate and ticket exchange forum.
 
Nice write up and thanks. I had a great time at the tailgate (my first) and met a bunch of awesome fellow fans from far away places including Alaska and Arizona. I missed meeting sutomcat but maybe next season. Thanks again for the morning news and all the work you and the staff put in.
 
I vacation in Orlando just about every year, so this was a nice bowl destination for me. Syracuse football and warm weather golf. How can you beat that?
One new thing this visit was the presence of direct discount flights from Syracuse.

Was able to secure a spot on Allegiant for Thursday night out and Sunday afternoon back home. Allegiant flies to the Sanford airport, maybe 20 or 25 miles north of Orlando, which was new for me.

The Sanford airport is a lot smaller and older than the main Orlando airport and more inconvenient too. My first impression was negative. The carpets were filthy and it seemed to me that they smelled. The access roads are narrow single lane roads that look more like country roads in the middle of nowhere, but i guess this makes sense, as that is where this airport is.

Still, Allegiant has low fares and i only had a carry on bag, so the price was right. You get nothing during the flights; not even a beverage. But even in the middle of the holiday season, i paid about $450 round trip. Not bad.
While down here, I played two rounds of golf. One was at a resort course called Hawk’s Landing that was really nice, but pricey at $95. It was at a Marriott property across I4 from Disney Springs. Good service, great pro shop, but one of the attendants was a Penn State fan. How unfortunate.
The other was at a course off the beaten tracks in Clermont called King’s Ridge. This course is in a hilly area and had a lot of elevated tees and raised greens. Nice layout. But the greens were in poor condition, with lots of bare spots. The grass that was living was long and the greens were very slow and furry. Cost was $35. Sometimes you get what you pay for. This was one of those times.

Restaurants of note i ate at include Miller’s Ale House and a BBQ place on Colonial that i think was called 4 Rivers Something, where Something is not the word Something. Miller’s is a sports bar with good food. Great place to watch a football game. There are a bunch of them around town. When in Orlando, i usually stop at Sonny’s BBQ for some ribs (highly recommended), but this time my group went to this 4 Rivers place. I had the St Louis ribs and they were very good. The green beans, served with bacon bits, were also tasty and they have some offbeat cool sodas there, including Radar’s favorite brand (this is something told to me; i think the brand had 4 letters), and a nice cherry coke type product made by Cherrywine? Anyway, this is a cool place, quite informal and there are lots of other BBQ options and some great looking desserts too. If you like BBQ, you might want to check it out.

We arrived at the board tailgate around 12:30 and secured an excellent spot near the epicenter of the group, and soon established a grilled area on the perimeter. Orangello stepped up to man the grill we brought and was soon doing dual grilling, cooking up whatever was put in front of him. TexanMark and Orangello did all the grilling and their efforts were heroic and are duly noted here. Also of note was the great job @MrsCrusty (don’t think that is her handle but I can’t check as I am typing this while flying back; Allegiant has not wifi period). @MrsCrusty took on the task of distribution and communications and did a great job getting the newly cooked food out from the grills and into grateful tailgatee’s mouths. Teeter was solid pushing for a board tailgate. And props to the many people who contributed food and helped make the tailgate a major success. It is so nice to have these things happen. It made the Iives of many a lot better. We estimated there were 100 people there at the peak of the tailgate and a lot more than that stopped by and participated for some period of time.
As always, it was great to see many old friends, and to meet some new ones at the tailgate. If you are a lurker and are thinking about possibly attending the next board event, i impeach you to do so. I can almost guarantee you will have a great time and really enjoy putting faces to names. It is funny. Almost no one ends up as you imagine them to look.
My group headed to the stadium about 1 hour before kickoff. It was 2 or 3 blocks away. Some entrepreneurs were sellling T-shirt’s and hats for both teams. The area surrounding the stadium isn’t upscale. Think small ugly building with bars on the windows, and fences with barbed wire on them. Pawn shops and bail bondsmen places. But it felt pretty safe with the hordes of Syracuse fans converging to the venue from all directions. It looked to me as though we had a 3:1 or perhaps 4:1 advantage walking in but once in the stadium, maybe it was only 3:1. Or maybe not. One thing is certain: Syracuse fans made 10 times the noise the sad and downtrodden WVU fans made. It was hard to see that fanbase look so depressed and hopeless. I am sorry they got relegated to the B12. Sometimes.

The area we had tickets for (open air) had individual seats made of plastic. They were relatively comfortable; definitely better than hard aluminum benches, but there wasn’t a ton of leg room (I am only 6’0 tall and whenever the large guy in the seat in front of me leaned back, his seat hit my knees in a less than pleasant way). I remain very concerned about SU trying to install individual seats in the upper deck at the Dome. Looks like there is barely enough room in the lower deck. Not so above. If patron comfort is of concern, I would rather sit on a bench and have my knees relatively free and unsmashed than to have to endure the Camping World experience for every home game.

The replay scoreboards were nice. There was a big one behind one end zone and two smaller ones in the corners of the other end zone. They offered a good vantage point to review the many controversial calls made by the troubled refs assigned to the game.
They didn’t have a ribbon scoreboard and offered minimal info about the game. You could see the down and distance, the time remaining, the score and the timeouts remaining for both teams. If you wanted stats or out of town scores, you were in the wrong place. The sound system was very good.
Really enjoyed the pregame ceremony where 3 paratroopers sky dove into the stadium and on to the field. That was cool. The fireworks at halftime were nice too. There were repeated tributes to servicemen and women and that was cool as well.

By my count, the WVU band was about twice the size of the SUMB, and the tuba count was a highly disturbing 20 to 10. Glad the band was allowed to come and I hope the coming string of bowl appearances will convince more students to join the SUMB. That said, props to the kids for putting on a good show and doing a fine job with the small numbers they had to work with.
The first half was kind of strange. Both teams struggled greatly to get into the end zone and a barrage of field goals were kicked. WVU got the ball to start the second half, scored to take the lead and looked poised to take control of the game. But Dino and Mike Lynch made some adjustments on offense and the ball started to move a lot better as the second half played out.
The play where Dungey scrambled like a mad man to both sides, running for his life, then found and hit Mo with that pass on the run was a big turning point. It was clear WVU was not going to score many points and could not let Syracuse get into the end zone. Great job by Neal in the open field, where he showed great vision, cutting ability and some power to get near the goal line.
Thought it was nice to get a sneak preview of what Trishton and Abdul could do in the bowl game. Trishton didn’t get many snaps and I think the play he scored might have been the first time he got on the field. Abdul got a lot more playing time. Didn’t get great numbers but I think that was largely due to the WVU run defense, as he didn’t get much daylight. But I thought he showed a nice blend of quickness and power we haven’t had in a while.

Wow, WVU ran a ton of blitzes in the first half. They had a short kid with a beer gut at linebacker, #34, who blitzed up the middle on seemingly every play and he got a lot of tackles and disrupted our offense a lot. In the second half, we started throwing to the area he abandoned when he blitzed, got some big gains and put an end to that fun. Good adjustment by our staff.
WVU played a lot of press coverage, and had a smallish corner on Custis most of the game. We tried to take advantage a lot here and had only some success. Jamel had some sloppy penalties and continues to extend his arms to his defender when the pass is thrown his way, which is bad technique and invites offensive PI calls. Still, he made some big plays and ended up with a big game his time time playing as an Orangeman.

We had a lot of success targeting Taj, who again seemed open every time the ball came his way. He had great success making the hapless WVU corners miss him to get yards after the catch for much needed first downs. Hope he is okay after than cheap shot. They also went after Eric and got caught. Not cool Mountaineers.

Thought Eric got off to a shaky start and made a really bad decision turning away from pressure and throwing without really looking the opposite direction. That said, WVU was all over him on every passing play in the first half and given the intense pressure they brought, he did pretty well to escape from pressure a few times and get what he could given what was there. It seemed to me that our early use of a power package was a big failure. We couldn’t run from it and couldn’t pass either. Thought it wasn’t until we went with 4 WR sets that things started to open up and that porous pass coverage the Mountaineers are known for finally emerged.
I thought Dana saw the film of Clemson and Pitt and came to the conclusion our defense could be worn down by repeated runs up the middle. He didn’t understand that all happened against a 4-2-5 defense and the SU run defense had gotten far better once a third linebacker was added to the mix in running situations (thanks Shy). He kept trying to run the ball almost to the end of the game. Bad strategy, lazy scouting. I see rumors he is going to become the next HC at Houston (possibly replacing former SU OC Major Applewhite). If so, it is probably for the best for WVU, That guy is not going to take them to a NC. Ever,
Props to Riley for another great KO return and some good decisions returning punts. He ended up becoming a really good return guy for us and also quietly become our leading WR. He will be missed.


Thought the defense was terrific. Fredrick had an outstanding game, saw him break up several plays that went his way. Thought Slayton was dominant inside and was largely responsible for taking away the Mountaineer running game. Thought Guthrie was terrific also. Most times when I saw a nice tackle on defense and wondered who made the play the second half of the season, it was Ryan. He impressed leaps and bounds as the season played out.
Coleman was dominant rushing the passer and looked to have a number of sacks. Young Richards did a nice job pass rushing as well.
Everyone else played well. Whitner doesn’t make big hits or have great physical gifts but he seems to be in the right place very consistently and I think he is one of our smartest players. I will miss him too.
I will remember this team for it’s grittiness and tenacity. They played hard every game and never gave up. Ever. I have to mention Eric Dungey here. There were great leaders on the defense and this program has had a ton of great captains and leaders come though over the years. But I think this team adopted the personality of its quarterback on offense and defense, and I think his impact on the program has been pretty profound. No question the staff has played a big role here as well but I think Eric’s leadership has accelerated the turnaround and dragged the team to a place it probably shouldn’t have gotten to for another year or two. I am going to miss all the senior leI vacation in Orlando just about every year, so this was a nice bowl destination for me. One new thing this visit was the presence of direct discount flights from Syracuse.
Was able to secure a spot on Allegiant for Thursday night out and Sunday afternoon back home. Allegiant flies Sanford airport, maybe 20 or 25 miles north of Orlando, which was new for me.


The Sanford airport is a lot smaller and older than the main Orlando airport and more inconvenient too. My first impression was negative. The carpets were filthy and it smelled. The access roads are narrow single lane roads that look more like country roads in the middle of nowhere, but that is where this airport is.
Still, Allegiant has low fares and i only had a carry on bag, so the price was right. You get nothing during the flights; not even a beverage. But even in the middle of the holiday season, i paid about $450 round trip. Not bad.

I played two rounds of golf. One was at a resort course called Hawk’s Landing that was really nice, but pricey at $95. It was at a Marriott property across I4 from Disney Springs. Good service, great pro shop, but one of the attendants was a Penn State fan.
The other was at a course off the beaten tracks in Clermont called King’s Ridge. This course is in a hilly area and had a lot of elevate tees and raised greens. Nice layout. But the greens were in poor conditions, with lots of bare spots. The grass that was living was long and the greens were very slow and furry. Cost was $35. Sometimes you get what you pay for. This was one of those times.
We arrived at the board tailgate around 12:30 and secured an excellent spot near the epicenter of the group, and soon established a grilled area on the perimeter. Orangello stepped up to man the grill we brought and was soon doing dual grilling, cooking up whatever was put in front of him. TexanMark and Orangello did all the grilling and their efforts were heroic and are duly noted here. Also of note was the great job @MrsCrusty (don’t think that is her handle but I can’t check as I am typing this while flying back; Allegiant has not wifi period). @MrsCrusty took on the task of distribution and communications and did a great job getting the newly cooked food out from the grills and into grateful tailgatee’s mouths. Teeter was solid pushing for a board tailgate. And props to the many people who contributed food and helped make the tailgate a major success. It is so nice to have these things happen. It made the Iives of many a lot better. We estimated there were 100 people there at the peak of the tailgate and a lot more than that stopped by and participated for some period of time.

My group headed to the stadium about 1 hour before kickoff. It was 2 or 3 blocks away. Some entrepreneurs were sellling T-shirt’s and hats for both teams. The area surrounding the stadium isn’t upscale. Think small ugly building with bars on the windows, and fences with barbed wire on them. Pawn shops and bail bondsmen places. But it felt pretty safe with the hordes of Syracuse fans converging to the venue from all directions. It looked to me as though we had a 3:1 or perhaps 4:1 advantage walking in but once in the stadium, maybe it was only 3:1. Or maybe not. One thing is certain: Syracuse fans made 10 times the noise the sad and downtrodden WVU fans made. It was hard to see that fanbase look so depressed and hopeless. I am sorry they got relegated to the B12. Sometimes.
The area we had tickets for (open air) had individual seats made of plastic. They were relatively comfortable; definitely better than hard aluminum benches, but there wasn’t a ton of leg room (I am only 6’0 tall and whenever the large guy in the seat in front of me leaned back, his seat hit my knees in a less than pleasant way). I remain very concerned about SU trying to install individual seats in the upper deck at the Dome. Looks like there is barely enough room in the lower deck. Not so above. If patron comfort is of concern, I would rather sit on a bench and have my knees relatively free and unsmashed than to have to endure the Camping World experience for every home game.
The replay scoreboards were nice. There was a big one behind one end zone and two smaller ones in the corners of the other end zone. They offered a good vantage point to review the many controversial calls made by the troubled refs assigned to the game.
They didn’t have a ribbon scoreboard and offered minimal info about the game. You could see the down and distance, the time remaining, the score and the timeouts remaining for both teams. If you wanted stats or out of town scores, you were in the wrong place. The sound system was very good.
Really enjoyed the pregame ceremony where 3 paratroopers sky dove into the stadium and on to the field. That was cool. The fireworks at halftime were nice too. There were repeated tributes to servicemen and women and that was cool as well.

By my count, the WVU band was about twice the size of the SUMB, and the tuba count was a highly disturbing 20 to 10. Glad the band was allowed to come and I hope the coming string of bowl appearances will convince more students to join the SUMB. That said, props to the kids for putting on a good show and doing a fine job with the small numbers they had to work with.
The first half was kind of strange. Both teams struggled greatly to get into the end zone and a barrage of field goals were kicked. WVU got the ball to start the second half, scored to take the lead and looked poised to take control of the game. But Dino and Mike Lynch made some adjustments on offense and the ball started to move a lot better as the second half played out.
The play where Dungey scrambled like a mad man to both sides, running for his life, then found and hit Mo with that pass on the run was a big turning point. It was clear WVU was not going to score many points and could not let Syracuse get into the end zone. Great job by Neal in the open field, where he showed great vision, cutting ability and some power to get near the goal line.

Thought it was nice to get a sneak preview of what Trishton and Abdul could do in the bowl game. Trishton didn’t get many snaps and I think the play he scored might have been the first time he got on the field. Abdul got a lot more playing time. Didn’t get great numbers but I think that was largely due to the WVU run defense, as he didn’t get much daylight. But I thought he showed a nice blend of quickness and power we haven’t had in a while.

Wow, WVU ran a ton of blitzes in the first half. They had a short kid with a beer gut at linebacker, #34, who blitzed up the middle on seemingly every play and he got a lot of tackles and disrupted our offense a lot. In the second half, we started throwing to the area he abandoned when he blitzed, got some big gains and put an end to that fun. Good adjustment by our staff.

WVU played a lot of press coverage, and had a smallish corner on Custis most of the game. We tried to take advantage a lot here and had only some success. Jamel had some sloppy penalties and continues to extend his arms to his defender when the pass is thrown his way, which is bad technique and invites offensive PI calls. Still, he made some big plays and ended up with a big game his time time playing as an Orangeman.

We had a lot of success targeting Taj, who again seemed open every time the ball came his way. He had great success making the hapless WVU corners miss him to get yards after the catch for much needed first downs. Hope he is okay after than cheap shot. They also went after Eric and got caught. Not cool Mountaineers.

Thought Eric got off to a shaky start and made a really bad decision turning away from pressure and throwing without really looking the opposite direction. That said, WVU was all over him on every passing play in the first half and given the intense pressure they brought, he did pretty well to escape from pressure a few times and get what he could given what was there. It seemed to me that our early use of a power package was a big failure. We couldn’t run from it and couldn’t pass either. Thought it wasn’t until we went with 4 WR sets that things started to open up and that porous pass coverage the Mountaineers are known for finally emerged.

I thought Dana saw the film of Clemson and Pitt and came to the conclusion our defense could be worn down by repeated runs up the middle. He didn’t understand that all happened against a 4-2-5 defense and the SU run defense had gotten far better once a third linebacker was added to the mix in running situations (thanks Shy). He kept trying to run the ball almost to the end of the game. Bad strategy, lazy scouting. I see rumors he is going to become the next HC at Houston (possibly replacing former SU OC Major Applewhite). If so, it is probably for the best for WVU, That guy is not going to take them to a NC. Ever,
Props to Riley for another great KO return and some good decisions returning punts. He ended up becoming a really good return guy for us and also quietly become our leading WR. He will be missed.

Thought the defense was terrific. Fredrick had an outstanding game, saw him break up several plays that went his way. Thought Slayton was dominant inside and was largely responsible for taking away the Mountaineer running game. Thought Guthrie was terrific also. Most times when I saw a nice tackle on defense and wondered who made the play the second half of the season, it was Ryan. He impressed leaps and bounds as the season played out.

Coleman was dominant rushing the passer and looked to have a number of sacks. Young Richards did a nice job pass rushing as well.
Everyone else played well. Whitner doesn’t make big hits or have great physical gifts but he seems to be in the right place very consistently and I think he is one of our smartest players. I will miss him too.

I will remember this team for it’s grittiness and tenacity. They played hard every game and never gave up. Ever. I have to mention Eric Dungey here. There were great leaders on the defense and this program has had a ton of great captains and leaders come though over the years. But I think this team adopted the personality of its quarterback on offense and defense, and I think his impact on the program has been pretty profound. No question the staff has played a big role here as well but I think Eric’s leadership has accelerated the turnaround and dragged the team to a place it probably shouldn’t have gotten to for another year or two. I am going to miss all the senior leaders on this team but Eric most of all. I hope he knows how much of an impact he has had and I hope he knows that ‘tall tales’ will be told of his doings for Syracuse for many years to come. No bologna cheese.

I like the players who are returning and I greatly look forward to seeing what they can do next season. But for a while, I am going to remember this bunch of seniors and smile. They did what we have been waiting for. For a long time. They turned the corner. And guess what? I don’t think we re going back anytime soon.
aders on this team but Eric most of all. I hope he knows how much of an impact he has had and I hope he knows that ‘tall tales’ will be told of his doings for Syracuse for many years to come. No bologna cheese.

I like the players who are returning and I greatly look forward to seeing what they can do next season. But for a while, I am going to remember this bunch of seniors and smile. They did what we have been waiting for. For a long time. They turned the corner. And guess what? I don’t think we re going back anytime soon.
Ssorry we missed Hawks Landing Tee time after you gave us 3 minutes to get there ,had great time seeing the boys at the tailgate. ( Side note, Frontier lost my clubs on the way back, or is someone up there trying to tell me something)
 
Tom-
4 Rivers smokehouse has many locations in central Florida and is my favorite of all the barbq places. I try to go there every time I’m in Orlando or Gainesville. Next time try the sweet potato casserole, it’s outstanding.

Florange44
 
Great write up as always and wonderful to see and meet many of you at the tailgate. The fire ants in Lt 1 got me twice. They must have moved there from WV. Happy New Year to all and lets keep this thing going.
 
I vacation in Orlando just about every year, so this was a nice bowl destination for me. Syracuse football and warm weather golf. How can you beat that?
One new thing this visit was the presence of direct discount flights from Syracuse.

Was able to secure a spot on Allegiant for Thursday night out and Sunday afternoon back home. Allegiant flies to the Sanford airport, maybe 20 or 25 miles north of Orlando, which was new for me.

The Sanford airport is a lot smaller and older than the main Orlando airport and more inconvenient too. My first impression was negative. The carpets were filthy and it seemed to me that they smelled. The access roads are narrow single lane roads that look more like country roads in the middle of nowhere, but i guess this makes sense, as that is where this airport is.

Still, Allegiant has low fares and i only had a carry on bag, so the price was right. You get nothing during the flights; not even a beverage. But even in the middle of the holiday season, i paid about $450 round trip. Not bad.
While down here, I played two rounds of golf. One was at a resort course called Hawk’s Landing that was really nice, but pricey at $95. It was at a Marriott property across I4 from Disney Springs. Good service, great pro shop, but one of the attendants was a Penn State fan. How unfortunate.
The other was at a course off the beaten tracks in Clermont called King’s Ridge. This course is in a hilly area and had a lot of elevated tees and raised greens. Nice layout. But the greens were in poor condition, with lots of bare spots. The grass that was living was long and the greens were very slow and furry. Cost was $35. Sometimes you get what you pay for. This was one of those times.

Restaurants of note i ate at include Miller’s Ale House and a BBQ place on Colonial that i think was called 4 Rivers Something, where Something is not the word Something. Miller’s is a sports bar with good food. Great place to watch a football game. There are a bunch of them around town. When in Orlando, i usually stop at Sonny’s BBQ for some ribs (highly recommended), but this time my group went to this 4 Rivers place. I had the St Louis ribs and they were very good. The green beans, served with bacon bits, were also tasty and they have some offbeat cool sodas there, including Radar’s favorite brand (this is something told to me; i think the brand had 4 letters), and a nice cherry coke type product made by Cherrywine? Anyway, this is a cool place, quite informal and there are lots of other BBQ options and some great looking desserts too. If you like BBQ, you might want to check it out.

We arrived at the board tailgate around 12:30 and secured an excellent spot near the epicenter of the group, and soon established a grilled area on the perimeter. Orangello stepped up to man the grill we brought and was soon doing dual grilling, cooking up whatever was put in front of him. TexanMark and Orangello did all the grilling and their efforts were heroic and are duly noted here. Also of note was the great job @MrsCrusty (don’t think that is her handle but I can’t check as I am typing this while flying back; Allegiant has not wifi period). @MrsCrusty took on the task of distribution and communications and did a great job getting the newly cooked food out from the grills and into grateful tailgatee’s mouths. Teeter was solid pushing for a board tailgate. And props to the many people who contributed food and helped make the tailgate a major success. It is so nice to have these things happen. It made the Iives of many a lot better. We estimated there were 100 people there at the peak of the tailgate and a lot more than that stopped by and participated for some period of time.
As always, it was great to see many old friends, and to meet some new ones at the tailgate. If you are a lurker and are thinking about possibly attending the next board event, i impeach you to do so. I can almost guarantee you will have a great time and really enjoy putting faces to names. It is funny. Almost no one ends up as you imagine them to look.
My group headed to the stadium about 1 hour before kickoff. It was 2 or 3 blocks away. Some entrepreneurs were sellling T-shirt’s and hats for both teams. The area surrounding the stadium isn’t upscale. Think small ugly building with bars on the windows, and fences with barbed wire on them. Pawn shops and bail bondsmen places. But it felt pretty safe with the hordes of Syracuse fans converging to the venue from all directions. It looked to me as though we had a 3:1 or perhaps 4:1 advantage walking in but once in the stadium, maybe it was only 3:1. Or maybe not. One thing is certain: Syracuse fans made 10 times the noise the sad and downtrodden WVU fans made. It was hard to see that fanbase look so depressed and hopeless. I am sorry they got relegated to the B12. Sometimes.

The area we had tickets for (open air) had individual seats made of plastic. They were relatively comfortable; definitely better than hard aluminum benches, but there wasn’t a ton of leg room (I am only 6’0 tall and whenever the large guy in the seat in front of me leaned back, his seat hit my knees in a less than pleasant way). I remain very concerned about SU trying to install individual seats in the upper deck at the Dome. Looks like there is barely enough room in the lower deck. Not so above. If patron comfort is of concern, I would rather sit on a bench and have my knees relatively free and unsmashed than to have to endure the Camping World experience for every home game.

The replay scoreboards were nice. There was a big one behind one end zone and two smaller ones in the corners of the other end zone. They offered a good vantage point to review the many controversial calls made by the troubled refs assigned to the game.
They didn’t have a ribbon scoreboard and offered minimal info about the game. You could see the down and distance, the time remaining, the score and the timeouts remaining for both teams. If you wanted stats or out of town scores, you were in the wrong place. The sound system was very good.
Really enjoyed the pregame ceremony where 3 paratroopers sky dove into the stadium and on to the field. That was cool. The fireworks at halftime were nice too. There were repeated tributes to servicemen and women and that was cool as well.

By my count, the WVU band was about twice the size of the SUMB, and the tuba count was a highly disturbing 20 to 10. Glad the band was allowed to come and I hope the coming string of bowl appearances will convince more students to join the SUMB. That said, props to the kids for putting on a good show and doing a fine job with the small numbers they had to work with.
The first half was kind of strange. Both teams struggled greatly to get into the end zone and a barrage of field goals were kicked. WVU got the ball to start the second half, scored to take the lead and looked poised to take control of the game. But Dino and Mike Lynch made some adjustments on offense and the ball started to move a lot better as the second half played out.
The play where Dungey scrambled like a mad man to both sides, running for his life, then found and hit Mo with that pass on the run was a big turning point. It was clear WVU was not going to score many points and could not let Syracuse get into the end zone. Great job by Neal in the open field, where he showed great vision, cutting ability and some power to get near the goal line.
Thought it was nice to get a sneak preview of what Trishton and Abdul could do in the bowl game. Trishton didn’t get many snaps and I think the play he scored might have been the first time he got on the field. Abdul got a lot more playing time. Didn’t get great numbers but I think that was largely due to the WVU run defense, as he didn’t get much daylight. But I thought he showed a nice blend of quickness and power we haven’t had in a while.

Wow, WVU ran a ton of blitzes in the first half. They had a short kid with a beer gut at linebacker, #34, who blitzed up the middle on seemingly every play and he got a lot of tackles and disrupted our offense a lot. In the second half, we started throwing to the area he abandoned when he blitzed, got some big gains and put an end to that fun. Good adjustment by our staff.
WVU played a lot of press coverage, and had a smallish corner on Custis most of the game. We tried to take advantage a lot here and had only some success. Jamel had some sloppy penalties and continues to extend his arms to his defender when the pass is thrown his way, which is bad technique and invites offensive PI calls. Still, he made some big plays and ended up with a big game his time time playing as an Orangeman.

We had a lot of success targeting Taj, who again seemed open every time the ball came his way. He had great success making the hapless WVU corners miss him to get yards after the catch for much needed first downs. Hope he is okay after than cheap shot. They also went after Eric and got caught. Not cool Mountaineers.

Thought Eric got off to a shaky start and made a really bad decision turning away from pressure and throwing without really looking the opposite direction. That said, WVU was all over him on every passing play in the first half and given the intense pressure they brought, he did pretty well to escape from pressure a few times and get what he could given what was there. It seemed to me that our early use of a power package was a big failure. We couldn’t run from it and couldn’t pass either. Thought it wasn’t until we went with 4 WR sets that things started to open up and that porous pass coverage the Mountaineers are known for finally emerged.
I thought Dana saw the film of Clemson and Pitt and came to the conclusion our defense could be worn down by repeated runs up the middle. He didn’t understand that all happened against a 4-2-5 defense and the SU run defense had gotten far better once a third linebacker was added to the mix in running situations (thanks Shy). He kept trying to run the ball almost to the end of the game. Bad strategy, lazy scouting. I see rumors he is going to become the next HC at Houston (possibly replacing former SU OC Major Applewhite). If so, it is probably for the best for WVU, That guy is not going to take them to a NC. Ever,
Props to Riley for another great KO return and some good decisions returning punts. He ended up becoming a really good return guy for us and also quietly become our leading WR. He will be missed.


Thought the defense was terrific. Fredrick had an outstanding game, saw him break up several plays that went his way. Thought Slayton was dominant inside and was largely responsible for taking away the Mountaineer running game. Thought Guthrie was terrific also. Most times when I saw a nice tackle on defense and wondered who made the play the second half of the season, it was Ryan. He impressed leaps and bounds as the season played out.
Coleman was dominant rushing the passer and looked to have a number of sacks. Young Richards did a nice job pass rushing as well.
Everyone else played well. Whitner doesn’t make big hits or have great physical gifts but he seems to be in the right place very consistently and I think he is one of our smartest players. I will miss him too.
I will remember this team for it’s grittiness and tenacity. They played hard every game and never gave up. Ever. I have to mention Eric Dungey here. There were great leaders on the defense and this program has had a ton of great captains and leaders come though over the years. But I think this team adopted the personality of its quarterback on offense and defense, and I think his impact on the program has been pretty profound. No question the staff has played a big role here as well but I think Eric’s leadership has accelerated the turnaround and dragged the team to a place it probably shouldn’t have gotten to for another year or two. I am going to miss all the senior leI vacation in Orlando just about every year, so this was a nice bowl destination for me. One new thing this visit was the presence of direct discount flights from Syracuse.
Was able to secure a spot on Allegiant for Thursday night out and Sunday afternoon back home. Allegiant flies Sanford airport, maybe 20 or 25 miles north of Orlando, which was new for me.


The Sanford airport is a lot smaller and older than the main Orlando airport and more inconvenient too. My first impression was negative. The carpets were filthy and it smelled. The access roads are narrow single lane roads that look more like country roads in the middle of nowhere, but that is where this airport is.
Still, Allegiant has low fares and i only had a carry on bag, so the price was right. You get nothing during the flights; not even a beverage. But even in the middle of the holiday season, i paid about $450 round trip. Not bad.

I played two rounds of golf. One was at a resort course called Hawk’s Landing that was really nice, but pricey at $95. It was at a Marriott property across I4 from Disney Springs. Good service, great pro shop, but one of the attendants was a Penn State fan.
The other was at a course off the beaten tracks in Clermont called King’s Ridge. This course is in a hilly area and had a lot of elevate tees and raised greens. Nice layout. But the greens were in poor conditions, with lots of bare spots. The grass that was living was long and the greens were very slow and furry. Cost was $35. Sometimes you get what you pay for. This was one of those times.
We arrived at the board tailgate around 12:30 and secured an excellent spot near the epicenter of the group, and soon established a grilled area on the perimeter. Orangello stepped up to man the grill we brought and was soon doing dual grilling, cooking up whatever was put in front of him. TexanMark and Orangello did all the grilling and their efforts were heroic and are duly noted here. Also of note was the great job @MrsCrusty (don’t think that is her handle but I can’t check as I am typing this while flying back; Allegiant has not wifi period). @MrsCrusty took on the task of distribution and communications and did a great job getting the newly cooked food out from the grills and into grateful tailgatee’s mouths. Teeter was solid pushing for a board tailgate. And props to the many people who contributed food and helped make the tailgate a major success. It is so nice to have these things happen. It made the Iives of many a lot better. We estimated there were 100 people there at the peak of the tailgate and a lot more than that stopped by and participated for some period of time.

My group headed to the stadium about 1 hour before kickoff. It was 2 or 3 blocks away. Some entrepreneurs were sellling T-shirt’s and hats for both teams. The area surrounding the stadium isn’t upscale. Think small ugly building with bars on the windows, and fences with barbed wire on them. Pawn shops and bail bondsmen places. But it felt pretty safe with the hordes of Syracuse fans converging to the venue from all directions. It looked to me as though we had a 3:1 or perhaps 4:1 advantage walking in but once in the stadium, maybe it was only 3:1. Or maybe not. One thing is certain: Syracuse fans made 10 times the noise the sad and downtrodden WVU fans made. It was hard to see that fanbase look so depressed and hopeless. I am sorry they got relegated to the B12. Sometimes.
The area we had tickets for (open air) had individual seats made of plastic. They were relatively comfortable; definitely better than hard aluminum benches, but there wasn’t a ton of leg room (I am only 6’0 tall and whenever the large guy in the seat in front of me leaned back, his seat hit my knees in a less than pleasant way). I remain very concerned about SU trying to install individual seats in the upper deck at the Dome. Looks like there is barely enough room in the lower deck. Not so above. If patron comfort is of concern, I would rather sit on a bench and have my knees relatively free and unsmashed than to have to endure the Camping World experience for every home game.
The replay scoreboards were nice. There was a big one behind one end zone and two smaller ones in the corners of the other end zone. They offered a good vantage point to review the many controversial calls made by the troubled refs assigned to the game.
They didn’t have a ribbon scoreboard and offered minimal info about the game. You could see the down and distance, the time remaining, the score and the timeouts remaining for both teams. If you wanted stats or out of town scores, you were in the wrong place. The sound system was very good.
Really enjoyed the pregame ceremony where 3 paratroopers sky dove into the stadium and on to the field. That was cool. The fireworks at halftime were nice too. There were repeated tributes to servicemen and women and that was cool as well.

By my count, the WVU band was about twice the size of the SUMB, and the tuba count was a highly disturbing 20 to 10. Glad the band was allowed to come and I hope the coming string of bowl appearances will convince more students to join the SUMB. That said, props to the kids for putting on a good show and doing a fine job with the small numbers they had to work with.
The first half was kind of strange. Both teams struggled greatly to get into the end zone and a barrage of field goals were kicked. WVU got the ball to start the second half, scored to take the lead and looked poised to take control of the game. But Dino and Mike Lynch made some adjustments on offense and the ball started to move a lot better as the second half played out.
The play where Dungey scrambled like a mad man to both sides, running for his life, then found and hit Mo with that pass on the run was a big turning point. It was clear WVU was not going to score many points and could not let Syracuse get into the end zone. Great job by Neal in the open field, where he showed great vision, cutting ability and some power to get near the goal line.

Thought it was nice to get a sneak preview of what Trishton and Abdul could do in the bowl game. Trishton didn’t get many snaps and I think the play he scored might have been the first time he got on the field. Abdul got a lot more playing time. Didn’t get great numbers but I think that was largely due to the WVU run defense, as he didn’t get much daylight. But I thought he showed a nice blend of quickness and power we haven’t had in a while.

Wow, WVU ran a ton of blitzes in the first half. They had a short kid with a beer gut at linebacker, #34, who blitzed up the middle on seemingly every play and he got a lot of tackles and disrupted our offense a lot. In the second half, we started throwing to the area he abandoned when he blitzed, got some big gains and put an end to that fun. Good adjustment by our staff.

WVU played a lot of press coverage, and had a smallish corner on Custis most of the game. We tried to take advantage a lot here and had only some success. Jamel had some sloppy penalties and continues to extend his arms to his defender when the pass is thrown his way, which is bad technique and invites offensive PI calls. Still, he made some big plays and ended up with a big game his time time playing as an Orangeman.

We had a lot of success targeting Taj, who again seemed open every time the ball came his way. He had great success making the hapless WVU corners miss him to get yards after the catch for much needed first downs. Hope he is okay after than cheap shot. They also went after Eric and got caught. Not cool Mountaineers.

Thought Eric got off to a shaky start and made a really bad decision turning away from pressure and throwing without really looking the opposite direction. That said, WVU was all over him on every passing play in the first half and given the intense pressure they brought, he did pretty well to escape from pressure a few times and get what he could given what was there. It seemed to me that our early use of a power package was a big failure. We couldn’t run from it and couldn’t pass either. Thought it wasn’t until we went with 4 WR sets that things started to open up and that porous pass coverage the Mountaineers are known for finally emerged.

I thought Dana saw the film of Clemson and Pitt and came to the conclusion our defense could be worn down by repeated runs up the middle. He didn’t understand that all happened against a 4-2-5 defense and the SU run defense had gotten far better once a third linebacker was added to the mix in running situations (thanks Shy). He kept trying to run the ball almost to the end of the game. Bad strategy, lazy scouting. I see rumors he is going to become the next HC at Houston (possibly replacing former SU OC Major Applewhite). If so, it is probably for the best for WVU, That guy is not going to take them to a NC. Ever,
Props to Riley for another great KO return and some good decisions returning punts. He ended up becoming a really good return guy for us and also quietly become our leading WR. He will be missed.

Thought the defense was terrific. Fredrick had an outstanding game, saw him break up several plays that went his way. Thought Slayton was dominant inside and was largely responsible for taking away the Mountaineer running game. Thought Guthrie was terrific also. Most times when I saw a nice tackle on defense and wondered who made the play the second half of the season, it was Ryan. He impressed leaps and bounds as the season played out.

Coleman was dominant rushing the passer and looked to have a number of sacks. Young Richards did a nice job pass rushing as well.
Everyone else played well. Whitner doesn’t make big hits or have great physical gifts but he seems to be in the right place very consistently and I think he is one of our smartest players. I will miss him too.

I will remember this team for it’s grittiness and tenacity. They played hard every game and never gave up. Ever. I have to mention Eric Dungey here. There were great leaders on the defense and this program has had a ton of great captains and leaders come though over the years. But I think this team adopted the personality of its quarterback on offense and defense, and I think his impact on the program has been pretty profound. No question the staff has played a big role here as well but I think Eric’s leadership has accelerated the turnaround and dragged the team to a place it probably shouldn’t have gotten to for another year or two. I am going to miss all the senior leaders on this team but Eric most of all. I hope he knows how much of an impact he has had and I hope he knows that ‘tall tales’ will be told of his doings for Syracuse for many years to come. No bologna cheese.

I like the players who are returning and I greatly look forward to seeing what they can do next season. But for a while, I am going to remember this bunch of seniors and smile. They did what we have been waiting for. For a long time. They turned the corner. And guess what? I don’t think we re going back anytime soon.
aders on this team but Eric most of all. I hope he knows how much of an impact he has had and I hope he knows that ‘tall tales’ will be told of his doings for Syracuse for many years to come. No bologna cheese.

I like the players who are returning and I greatly look forward to seeing what they can do next season. But for a while, I am going to remember this bunch of seniors and smile. They did what we have been waiting for. For a long time. They turned the corner. And guess what? I don’t think we re going back anytime soon.
Great write up as always. It’s the next best thing to actually being there. Have you ever played the renovated Winter Park 9? The reviews have been very positive.

Winter Park Golf Course: Municipal Golf of the Future
 

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