Monday, November 22, 2010

Connecticut Knocks off Syracuse in Big East Finale

Connecticut 23
Syracuse 6

It was a game like many other home Big East football games for the Orangemen this season. The student section didn't show up, the Orangemen's offense was flat, and the opposing team was running all over the place. Where were the students? 7PM on a Saturday night one would think they would be available for a few hours to root on their school, a week after clinching bowl eligibility. I guess there must have been an early showing of Harry Potter because clearly there was somewhere else they would rather be.

Connecticut got on the board first with a 1 yard touchdown run by Jordan Todman with 5:16 left in the first quarter. Todman, the 7th leading rusher in the country, picked up 44 yards on the drive to help give the Huskies the early lead.

Syracuse scored on the next drive, however the Cuse were unable to put the ball in the end zone after driving to the UCONN 32 yard line. The Orangemen were forced to settle for a 42 yard field goal by Ross Krautman, which cut the lead to 7-3. Connecticut would respond with a field goal of their own late in the first half.

Ryan Nassib got picked off at his own 38 yards line with just 3:10 remaining in the half. The Orangemen D allowed the Huskies to convert on a 4th and 6 from the 34 yard line, however ultimately held UCONN to a field goal with just 36 seconds remaining in the half. Connecticut entered the locker room at the break up 10-3.

Syracuse would cut the lead to 10-6 following a fumbled punt return by the Huskies early in the 3rd quarter. Syracuse recovered the botched punt at the Huskies 31 yards line, but were once again unable to punch the ball in. Ross Krautman connected on a 35 yard field goal. It was Krautman's 16th straight field goal made, and cut the lead to 10-6. Syracuse would not score again the rest of the game.

Jordan Todman would go on to score on another short touchdown run to give him two on the day late in the 3rd quarter. He finished the night with a game high 131 yards on 27 carries and 2 touchdowns. Syracuse's passing defense limited Zach Frazer to just 13 completions on 21 attempts for 97 yards and zero touchdowns. However, Syracuse's inability to stop Jordan Todman and their difficulty scoring touchdowns was the difference in the game.

Antwon Bailey had just 1 carry for 1 yard, however he did catch 4 passes for 24 yards. Delone Carter finished with just 61 yards on 18 carries for the Orangemen. He now has 1,005 yards on the season and 2,876 yards in his career. It's Carter's second straight 1,000 yard season and moves him into 4th place on Syracuse's All-Time rushing list, 7 yards more than James Mungro.

Ryan Nassib finished the evening with 20 completions in 36 attempts for 170 yards, zero touchdowns and 1 interception. It was Ryan Nassib's first game without a touchdown pass this season. He completed passes to a season high nine different receivers, with Marcus Sales leading all players with 6 catches for 56 yards. Van Chew grabbed 3 balls for 29 and injured Alec Lemon picked up 1 catch for 12 yards in limited action.

With the loss, Syracuse finishes the Big East season with a respectable 4-3 record. However, considering the Orangemen went 4-0 on the road this season with wins against West Virginia, Cincinnati, South Florida and Rutgers, its pretty shocking they couldn't manage 1 Big East win at home against Pittsburgh, Louisville and Connecticut. Syracuse is now 7-4 on the season and will host former Big East school Boston College this Saturday in the regular season finale at noon on either ESPN or ESPN2. UCONN improves to 6-4 this season, 3-2 in the Big East. The Huskies earned bowl eligibility in the win.

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