The Downside | Syracusefan.com

The Downside

SWC75

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- Nathaniel Hackett told Chris Gedney before the game that we were “going to see some real Doug Marrone football” in this game. He had been telling Chris that they were determined to establish the run in this game. Doug’s last Saints team passed the ball 636 times and ran it 398 times, (That’s 61.5%-38.5%). This year’s SU has the classic line-up for a passing team. Ryan Nassib has matured into a fine college passer. We are seeing what Alec Lemon and Van Chew can do when healthy. Nick Provo is a Mackey award nominee at tight end. Back-up wide-outs Kyle Foster and Jarrod West are big targets. Dorian Graham is a burner. Antwon Bailey has 69 career catches and Prince Tyson Gulley could be a weapon as well. Neither Bailey nor Gulley is a Delone Carter type runner between the tackles. They have their best success in space. Toledo came in here giving up 278 pass in yards a game- even more than we were. Guys were running open all day. Nassib is a “rhythm” passer who does best in the “no-huddle, pick’em apart” mode we came out in vs. USC.
So what do we do? We pass the ball 25 times and run it 41 times against an “eight in the box” team. Our best runs came after completed passes. When we decided to “establish” the running game, we failed. With game tied at 20 in the fourth quarter, Nassib hits Provo who makes like John Mackey train on a 6 yard ramble to the Toledo 13. We then run Bailey for 3 yards, get a false start, run Bailey again for 3 yards on 2nd and 12, then throw an incomplete pass on third down. Krautman kicks a field goal to get us up 23-20. Toledo then storms down the field, scoring in four plays to take a 23-27 lead. After the kick-off, we run Bailey three straight times for 9 yards and punt. We came back to win in overtime but we should have scored 50-60 points on this team and won easily. We didn’t do that because we were playing “Doug Marrone football”. Or was it Nathaniel Hackett football? Whatever, it isn’t the type of football we should be playing. We’ve spent 30 years wondering what a really good passing team could do in the Dome. It’s about time we found out.

- Why didn’t he throw it? We ran a brilliant play- a fake run to the left, a roll-out to the right. Nassib had plenty of time. Van Chew broke free downfield. I was looking at him and expecting the ball to come floating into the picture. Then I hear groans and look back at Nassib, who decided to run the ball and got three yards. I looked at the replay and Chew was clearly in Nassib’s line of sight. Why didn’t he throw it? Two plays later we punted. To quote Charlie Brown: ARRRUGH!!! Nassib had a good game, not a great one like he’s been having. I think constantly going back to the running game instead of letting him get his rhythm going hurt him. We seemed to wind down vs. USC when we got out of the no-huddle.

- We were lucky as hell. That extra point was a miss and it would have been just like SU in past years to lose this game 29-30 on a play like that. Also, the clip on Page’s long kick-off return was “barely a brush” according to the radio guys, (all I saw was the flag). That was, in effect, a 90 yard penalty.

- Our tackling at times is frighteningly bad. On the play that set up their last field goal, we had two guys right there. They didn’t break up or intercept the pass. They both whiffed on tackles- except one guy managed to get a hand- on the facemask. I’m sure glad we got that extra point.

- We won the toss, and deferred to the second half in a game that was expected to be high scoring. I guess Doug felt it increased our chances of being the last team to have it” but this isn’t’ baseball. We gave up a 10 minute, 21 play scoring drive, then gave it right back to them to surrender a 0-10 lead. We get the ball to open the second half and wind up punting the ball back to Toledo, three and out.

- On William’s 21 yard TD run to make it 0-10, we had all 11 guys between the tackles. 11 in the box. The guy just bounced outside and waltzed into the end zone. What was that about?

- When we throw the quick out to the sideline, it goes for 2 yard- sometimes minus two years. When they do it, they get 5 yards every time without effort. Obviously, we were giving them cushions and they weren’t. But both teams have strong passing attacks and lousy pass defenses. Why can they get away with tight coverage and we can’t?

- How many more of these can I take? (Maybe eight of them- or nine.)
 

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