Through the first four games of the season Ryan Nassib has looked like the first real quarterback to put on a Syracuse Orangemen uniform since the departure of Donovan McNabb. Syracuse fans have watched Troy Nunes, R.J. Anderson, Perry Patterson, Andrew Robinson, and Cameron Dantley take snaps under center for the Orangemen. We have also been witness to Duke point guard Greg Paulus playing at QB (as weird as that is to type its true). There has been the two headed QB by committee system and there has been outright confusion. Overall, one thing Syracuse has lacked since the late 1990s is a true quarterback.
Enter Ryan Nassib.
In just four career starts, Nassib has already set the record for most TD passes in a single game at Syracuse. Of course it came against the Maine Black Bears, but five touchdown passes in one game is still quite the accomplishment at the college level. Through the early part of the season Nassib has been 61 of 105 pass attempts, 860 yards with 9TD passes and 2 INTs. Now the true test comes. Now is the time for Nassib to show the fans that he isn't just a quarterback that can beat up on lesser opponents. He must prove to everyone that he can perform at a high level against the faster and bigger Big East defenses as well.
Not just a passer, Ryan Nassib has the wheels to run for positive yardage. He moves very well in the pocket and has rushed for 70 net yards this season and 1 touchdown. Nassib has the arm to throw the ball down field to deep threat Van Chew, and he can gun the ball over the middle for quick slants to slot receiver Alec Lemon and Antwon Bailey out of the back field as well. For a team that came into the season with big question marks at wide receiver, Nassib is making the most of the targets he has. Ryan Nassib currently has the highest passing efficiency rating in the conference at 151.4, good enough for 24th overall in the country.
After the loss of Aaron Weaver many SU fans were concerned about the depth at the WR position. Antwon Bailey showed Coach Marrone that he can be a lethal player out of the backfield and our tight ends have shown an ability to not only catch the ball, but pick up yards after the catch as well, most notably Nick Provo. Syracuse's offense hasn't skipped a beat since the season ending injury to Weaver and we are all hoping that the lack of a #3 receiver doesn't burn the team later in the year.
Now the true test for Nassib begins. This Saturday the Orangemen travel to Tampa, Florida to take on the South Florida Bulls. Syracuse has never beaten South Florida since USF joined the Big East in 2005. Of course their arrival to the conference coincided with Greg Robinson's arrival on the Hill so that shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. This year though Syracuse fans everywhere have a reason to believe that the Orangemen have a CHANCE to win this game.
Both teams enter 3-1 and both teams have beaten up on squads with a combined record of 2-10 thus far in 2010. Ryan Nassib has to be the quarterback that takes over the game. He must continue to make time in the pocket with his feet and stretch the defense with attacks through the air. If Nassib can continue to excel within Syracuse's attack, than SU will finally have an opportunity to return to a bowl game for the first time since 2004.
Now is the time for Ryan Nassib to show Orangemen fans that he belongs.
photo courtesy of syracuse.com