Sunday, September 26, 2010

Delone Carter Leads Syracuse to Best Start Since 2003!


In front of 38, 068 Orangemen fans in the Carrier Dome, the Syracuse Orangemen and Colgate Raiders renewed a series that is 119 year old. It was their first meeting since 1987 and 66th meeting All-time. Syracuse's RB Delone Carter finished with a career high 172 yards on 14 carries and 4 touchdowns. With that Carter earned the Al Bundy Award for the 2nd time in his career (4TDs in a single game).

Syracuse got out to their second slow start in a row, allowing Colgate to drive down the field all the way to the Syracuse 12 yard line to open the game. Raiders head coach Dick Biddle sent the message early that his team would be using all 4 downs on offense. On the opening drive Syracuse's D finally made the stop the fans had been waiting for at the last possible moment when Chandler Jones and Co. stopped Colgate on 4th down from the 12 yard line to give the ball to the offense.

Ryan Nassib and the Orangemen responded with a drive of their own down to the Colgate 4 yard line, however once again it was a defensive unit that prevailed. Syracuse turned the ball over on downs on 4th and Goal. Antwon Bailey took the majority of snaps in first offensive series for the cuse and he did not disappoint. He caught a 31 yard pass from Ryan Nassib down to the Colgate 3 yard line and rushed for another 20 on the drive. Unfortunately he was stopped at the goal line twice.

Syracuse's D then forced Colgate into the first 3 and out of the game setting the cuse up for big field position and the first scoring drive of the game. After a pass interference penalty when walk-on Cody Morgan was thrown to the turf by a Raider defender, Carter scampered into the endzone for a 7-0 lead from 24 yards out. In on the play was forgotten receiver Marcus Sales.

With time running down in the 2nd quarter Ryan Nassib found Antwon Bailey for another catch, this time a 37 yard touch down strike to give Syracuse a 14-0 lead with 1:50 left in the half. Syracuse effectively used both Carter and Bailey in the first half, however their inability to score points in the red zone would be the story of the half.

Syracuse turned the ball over on downs from the 4 yard line and Nassib fumbled after a blindside sack at the 13 yard line for an 0/2 redzone performance in the first half. Colgate defined their first half with their 4th down attempts (they would go for seven fourth downs in total on the day, converting 4 of them).

The story line of the second half for both teams would be Delone Carter. DC3 opened the half with a 37 yard run and wasted no time scoring on the next play with a 9 yard TD run just 1:20 in to the 3rd quarter. 21-0 Syracuse. He would go on to score 3 second half touchdowns.

This point the game got a little controversial, at least for the ESPN3 announcers who were 0-2 on video reviews. Colgate took a long drive down to the Syracuse 12 yard line and would be going for it on 4th down. On 4th down from the 12 officials on the field called a TD for the 'gate, however video replay would show the receiver did not maintain possession all the way down to the turf. The ball came out long before he crashed to the ground.

After a 3 and out for Syracuse, the ensuing drive Da'Mon Merkerson made a diving catch at midfield to intercept Colgate QB Greg Sullivan. The play was ruled an interception on the field and after video review the play stood. This was a play that could have been called either way, as it appeared Merkerson did not have total control of the ball when he went out of bounds, however it would stand as the first INT in Merkerson's career.

Syracuse continued to attack on the ground. The Orangemen ran the ball down to the 12 yard line setting up another rushing score for Carter, his 3rd of the game. He would not be denied on this rush, after banging into linebackers and having his jersey grabbed on his way to the end zone. Carter powered through to push Syracuse's lead to 28-0.

Syracuse doubled their first half scoring output in the 3rd quarter and looked like a completely different team in the second half. Credit this to Syracuse's halftime coaching adjustments, something seldom seen under Greg Robinson. It is a welcome sight to see the team come out after half time with a new game plan, running the ball down Colgate's throats all half. The cuse will not just be a passing offense, the Orangemen have the horses to run the ball as well.

Carter's 4th touchdown came after Colgate's feature back Nate Eachus got a well earned touch down of his own from 12 yards out. Eachus rushed for 147 yards on 35 carries on the day. He is the only offensive threat for Colgate, having gained 426 yards in 3 games. Carter's 18 yard touchdown run on the next Syracuse drive would be his 4th of the game and his final carry of the night. Syracuse was leading 35-7 and Carter had picked up 172 yards on the ground to go along with his four scores.

Syracuse's defense held Colgate to 7 points on this day, and the defensive MVP of the game was freshman Marquis Spruill. Spruill had 12 tackles, 6 of them solo and 2 for a loss. Mike Holmes and Da'Mon Merkerson each recorded an interception and junior Mikhail Marinovich had a career high six tackles.

Syracuse fans are well aware that the victory came against FCS Colgate, however sporting a 3-1 record after 4 weeks of play we can not help but smile. It is the first time Syracuse Football has been 3-1 since 2003 and after years and years of hardship it feels great knowing that if you look at the football standings in the Big East you will find SYRACUSE at the top! Who cares if the rest of the conference stinks? That's for the teams with losing records such as Cincinnati and Pittsburgh to be concerned with. Today, Syracuse is tied for 1st place with West Virginia and after 6 years of living in obscurity and with embarrassment, today, we having a winning record and a football program moving in the right direction.

Now, for the game notes:
  • Freshman Prince-Tyson Gulley scored his first career touchdown to make the score 42-7 on a 8 yard run. He finished with 41 yards on 4 carries
  • Colgate (1-2) plays conference foe the Georgetown Hoyas next week.
  • Defensive leader Derrell Thomas left the field late in the 2nd quarter with a leg injury, however he would return just before half time and appeared healthy.
  • After being called for 14 penalties last week Syracuse committed only 5 this week for 47 yards. A tremendous improvement for the team that was penalized 111 yards last week.
  • Ball fakes continued to fool SU defenders much as they did against Maine.
  • During the 2nd quarter basketball head coach Jim Boeheim was given a plaque for the 2010 Naismith Coach of the Year Award.
  • ESPN3's coverage was extremely spotty and froze repeatedly throughout the first 3 quarters of the game. Future Contributor to The Cuse Connection Zach Menchini declared ESPN3 "Unacceptable from a 'world wide leader' in anything."
  • After throwing for 5TDs last week, Ryan Nassib finished the game 8/15 for 169 yards and 1TD.
  • Time of possession was extremely lopsided. Syracuse had the ball for just 15:34 while Colgate controlled the clock with 44:26 of offense due in part to Nate Eachus and his relentless rushing.
  • Delone Carter is now Syracuse's 11th All-Time Rusher with 2,290 yards.
The Syracuse Orangemen have an off week coming up, and then travel to the University of South Florida (2-1) on October 9th to play the Bulls at Raymond James Stadium. Jim Leavitt is out at USF and it will be newly hired Head Coach Skip Holtz calling the shots.

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