Saturday, September 12, 2009
Syracuse - Penn State Observations
Syracuse went into Happy Valley today and came out with a 28-7 loss to the number 5 ranked Nittany Lions. While the Penn State victory was described by some as uninspired, I felt like Penn State gave a good effort. Here are my post game observations.
This was not a game anyone expected Syracuse to win, so the loss wasn't surprising.
Vegas had Penn State as 28.5 point favorite, which means the Orange covered. Not that we encourage gambling, but SU is 2-0 against the spread this year.
The Big 10 network had Charrisa Thompson working the sideline. I'd never heard of her before, but I must say, I'm now a fan. I agree that she stacks up favorably against Erin Andrews.
At least we're not Colorado.
For the second week in a row, the defense played well. Especially against the run, holding Penn State to 78 yards rushing.
Likewise, the goal line stand in the first half was impressive. It's been a long time since Syracuse has been on the right side of one of those.
Delone Carter had no running room at all, but he ran hard, he ran with purpose and he was tough to bring down.
While they were never really in the game, SU went on the road only lost by 21 to a team that very well could end up in the national championship game. Compared to last year, this is progress.
Kevyn Scott's interception was a thing of beauty.
The offense was dominated by the Penn State defense for most of the game. Along the lines, Penn State was clearly superior.
Similarly, the offensive line couldn't open any running lanes and Greg Paulus was constantly under duress. The offensive line got their asses kicked today.
I don't know if this is bad, but I don't understand rotating quarterbacks in the middle of a series. Seems really odd to me. QBs need to get into a rhythm. I've got no problem using Nassib, but swapping them out mid-series like Steve Spurrier in the mid 90s never seems to work.
Greg Paulus needs to show a little more poise in the pocket. He was skittish back there today - although he didn't have much time to do anything.
While Paulus wasn't great, there are already some rumblings Nassib should play more. For now I think that's foolish. Greg wasn't great and he still needs to show he can complete passes down the field, but any of that talk is premature. Syracuse won't face a team as good as Penn State again this year. Let's see how he does with a little playing time under his belt.
The play calling today wasn't to my liking. There's far too much east and west and not enough north and south going on in this offense.
Rob Long was awful - he had a really bad shank when SU needed him to reverse field position and then failed to pin Penn State deep when he had the chance.
The clock management at the end of the first half was Andy Reid-esque. If you don't watch the Eagles, that's not a compliment.
The Mike Williams and Alec Lemon drops. Hideous - both of them. In William's case, that's 2 weeks in a row he's let the ball get into his body instead of catching it with his hands. This team isn't good enough to make up for errors like that.
Syracuse's schedule has not done them any favors - they walked into a hostile environment against one of the best teams in the country and got beat. However, they again played hard, the defense showed us they aren't going to back down and I do think the offense can get back on track. If they played Howard (like Rutgers did today) instead of Penn State they'd be 1-1. Northwestern represents a chance next Saturday to get that first win, and I saw nothing in this game to make me believe they can't win - and be successful under Doug Marrone.