Thursday, September 30, 2010

Syracuse Orangemen Basketball Preview Issue!! Part 3! (continued)


After hearing from Zach Menchini on his starting five I have a few points I'd like to add. Mainly, I disagree with Mookie Jones starting. Mookie Jones didn't show much last season other than his ability to knock down shots from beyond the arc and the ability to piss off the coaching staff demanding playing time. I agree with Zach on the four he predicted. Rick Jackson and Kris Joseph at forward and Scoop Jardine with Brandon Triche at the guard spots. However I think if Fab Melo is not ready to start come November 12th, DaShonte Riley will get the nod to start at center.

With Mookie Jones starting our center would be 6'9" Rick Jackson. While I know our early non-conference schedule isn't very daunting I don't think Jimmy B will go with Mookie Jones up front when he can put the 7 footer Riley in the middle and move Jackson to the wing to add three more inches on the edge of the zone. Mookie Jones also likes hanging out around the perimeter of the offense and Syracuse will need the size upfront rather than hanging out along the three point line a la Donte Greene during his tenure at the cuse.

DaShonte Riley did look lost on the court during the NCAA tournament when he filled in for injured Arinze Onuaku, however he will be a year older and a year wiser from that experience. One thing we should all remember is the progress Kris Joseph made between his freshman and sophomore year. Kris Joseph looked lost on the floor in his freshman year, he was afraid to dribble the rock it seemed! However, look at how he came flying (literally) out of the gates in his 2nd year with the team. I'm not predicting a similar jump in performance from Riley, but as long as he settles down in the same manor that Joseph did he will be more than fine holding down the center position until Fab Melo fully adjusts himself to the college game.

Off the bench Syracuse will be stocked with talent. Along with Mookie Jones' shooting ability they will have freshman Dion Waiters ready to explode off the bench as well as C.J. Fair and James Southerland. James Southerland has a great shot and a long wingspan which will look great atop the 2-3 zone. This will be the best bench Syracuse has had since possibly the 2003 season. Syracuse with 9 serviceable players? The Big East better WATCH OUT!

In terms of overall team performance this season, my prediction on the last day of September is a 23-8 record for the regular season. Last year the Syracuse Orangemen ran right through the regular season earning the #1 spot in the Big East tournament and a 1 seed in the NCAAs. Without the leadership and defensive hustle of Andy Rautins I honestly don't see the team blowing through a very difficult Big East conference with the same gusto they had last year.

If Syracuse finishes with a conference record of 13-5 they should be very well situated for a solid run into the NCAA tournament. This is a very realistic expectation for the 2010/11 season. Will this be the year the Orangemen finally break through the Sweet 16? We'll have to stay tuned to find out.

Syracuse Orangemen Basketball Preview Issue!! Part 3!


In Part 1 and Part 2 we took a look at the roster for this years Syracuse basketball team. For part 3 we will try and jump into Jim Boeheim's head and predict the starting 5 on the floor when the season resumes November 12th against Northern Iowa in the Dome. There will be two exhibition games leading up to the season opener which will give the freshman an opportunity to impress the coaching staff and earn a spot in the rotation.

I asked a fellow alum from the University to pen an article about his thoughts on the starting five to give us more than one opinion on the subject. Without further adieu, Zach Menchini's starting five:

We know who's on the team, we know who's making the decisions, and we know it doesn't really matter who's actually on the floor for the opening tip, but it's fun to speculate. And that's what we're here for: to make wild (or boring, in this case) guesses.

So, on November 12 against Northern Iowa, who starts? There are a four slam-dunks (basketball metaphor in a basketball column: 2 points!): Scoop Jardine, Brandon Triche, Kris Joseph and Rick Jackson will be in there. After that, Jim Boeheim has some options. He can go big, with Fab Melo, pushing Jackson to the wing, or small, with a veteran or Dion Waiters.

If Melo gets the call, that's a huge lineup (6'9", 240 and 7'0", 270). The only Big East teams that can compete with that kind of size up front are Villanova with Mouphtaou Yarou (6'10", 250) and Maurice Sutton (6'11", 220) or USF with Jarrid Famous (6'11", 240) and Augustis Gilchrist (6'10", 245).

This has been cast as the most likely option among those in the know, but I just don't see Jimmy B going with a rook in the paint on day one. Maybe after the first week, if he's dominant off the bench, he'll get the call. This scouting video[
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hgDSwBL-i4] shows him stroking a few 18 footers, but also highlights his footwork and ball handling problems. I'm skeptical about the big Brazilian's immediate impact, but he'll get every chance to prove himself.

With Jackson in the key, JB could start Mookie (experience), Southerland (wingspan!), or Dion Waiters (T.U.P.) on the wing. Again, I doubt the lovable old codger goes with a freshman to kick things off, so as much as I'd like to see Waiters/Melo, I think it will be Mookie Jones for a few weeks, until one of the kids makes the decision for Coach Boeheim. Southerland should be a nice weapon, but Mookie got plenty of minutes over him last year and I see no reason that changes.

The X-factor is Mookie's attitude. Last year he showed signs of frustration and downright immaturity [
http://blog.syracuse.com/orangebasketball/2009/12/jonesing_for_playing_time_mook.html] with his playing time, so if Mookie doesn't get his minutes, he'll blow this joint faster than a Jonny Flynn breakaway. If that's the case, enjoy Iona, Mookie.

While the 2010-11 team isn't as strong 1 through 7 as last year's, it will be stronger toward the end of the bench. It's nice to say you've improved part of a 15-3 team. Oh, and have you seen the 2011 class? [
http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/recruiting/school/_/id/183] The future is a bright shade of orange.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Donovan McNabb Returning to Philadelphia this Sunday


This Sunday at 4:15PM former Syracuse Orangemen superstar Donovan McNabb will make his highly anticipated return to Philadelphia in a Washington Redskins uniform. Fans of McNabb can expect a warm welcome, much like the one he received on the night he was drafted second overall in 1999. On that night in New York City, McNabb was greeted with a chorus of boos from the fans who wanted Ricky Williams with the teams #2 pick in the draft.

McNabb's time in Philadelphia was spent doing what many quarterbacks who came before him couldn't do, winning and making the playoffs. However, this was lost on the fans who could never warm up to the QB from Syracuse. Between 2001 and 2008 McNabb lead the Eagles to 5 (FIVE) NFC Championship games and a Super Bowl.

Many Eagles fans who hate on McNabb will point to the fact he never brought a Super Bowl Championship to the city of brotherly love. In his lone Super Bowl appearance McNabb threw for 357 yards and 3TDs with 3 interceptions, the 3rd being on a Hail Mary late in the game. McNabb's 357 yards and 30 completions were both the 3rd best performance from a QB in Super Bowl history. The Eagles would lose on that day to Tom Brady and the Patriots 24-21.

Many Eagles fans will also point to McNabb's alleged vomiting incident late in the Super Bowl, which he and coach Reid deny. Those of us who watched him at Syracuse and saw him throw up on the field during the Virginia Tech game during the final game winning drive probably believe he did in fact puke. To those of us who love McNabb, whether or not he puked on the field on that fateful Super Bowl Sunday means very little. McNabb is a guy who leaves everything on the field, even his lunch. He puts his heart and everything he has left in the tank and leaves it out on the field week after week. That is the Donovan McNabb we root for.

Donovan McNabb went 92-49-1 during his time in an Eagles uniform, and since 2000 only Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Brett Farve have won more games than McNabb has. He took a 5-11 Eagles team and took them to the playoffs in his first full season under center. After that season McNabb lead the eagles to 4 straight NFC championship games and a Super Bowl. Some quick hits from McNabb's career in Philadelphia:
  • Donovan threw for 29,320 yards in an Eagles uniform, 6,000 more than the next closest Eagle.
  • One of only SIX quarterbacks in the history of the NFL with over 25,000 passing yards and 3,000 rushing yards (McNabb has 3,097 yards on the ground with 25 rushing TDs).
  • McNabb was the first NFL QB to ever throw for 30 touchdowns and fewer than 10 interceptions in a season (2004).
  • Second best touchdown to interception ratio ALL-TIME behind only Tom Brady.
  • Least intercepted QB per passing attempt All-Time in the NFL.
  • Most consecutive passing completions in NFL history (24 over the course of 2 games)
After all that, what did the Eagles do to reward him for 11 years of service? After years of taking abuse from the fans and the media and never once lashing out at the City that refused to embrace him? The Eagles traded him WITHIN the division to the rival Washington Redskins. And on this Sunday, McNabb will return "home" to Lincoln Financial Field with the 1-2 Redskins. Surely some fans will cheer for McNabb when he takes the field on Sunday, but there will be those who will boo. McNabb said on ESPN-980 Radio in Washington "honestly, I think I will be more cheered." I for one hope that the cheers will be louder.

I asked a lifetime Eagles fan Ashwin Chaudhary his opinion on McNabb's Homecoming:

"The Eagles trading McNabb to their longtime division nemesis Washington is like letting your cousin hook up with and then date your ex-girlfriend who you dumped for a younger girl (Kolb), who you then in turn dump for a prostitute (Vick). Still, I'm forever indebted to #5 for all he did for the Orangemen and my Philly Birds. Donovan McNabb is without a doubt the greatest QB in Eagles history, and it's going to be an emotional day Sunday in Philadelphia."

As for me, I will be (as always) rooting for Donovan McNabb.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

UCONN football starting to resemble the hoops program!

ESPN's Big East Blog is breaking a story that two UCONN football players were arrested for "breaching the peace" following a fight in an apartment complex. Dave Teggart (field goal kicker) and Jerome Williams (back up line backer) got into a little tussle sometime "tuesday morning" which translates to late monday night. Whether they came to blows is unknown at this time however the 2-2 football program with losses to Temple and Michigan on the road this season is in the middle of a tumultuous season.

Head Coach Randy Edsall said on Monday that he is changing starting quarterbacks for Saturday's showdown against Vanderbilt. Redshirt junior Cody Endres will get the start and the previous starting quarterback senior Zach Frazer isn't listed as the #2 QB on the depth chart. Redshirt freshman Mike Box is currently 2nd on the depth chart at the position.

This all comes on the back of the news that 2nd string RB Kelmetrus Wylie is out for the season and will require knee surgery. Jordan Todman, the team's 1st string RB could be back in action this week after missing the Temple game with a left arm injury. He appeared on the depth chart however how healthy he is remains to be seen.

Its starting to sound an AWFUL lot like hoops season in connecticut!!

Orangemen Injury Updates

Syracuse University got a mixed bag of news from the injury front yesterday. Tight End Nick Provo left the Colgate game on Saturday and missed the second half with a head injury. After evaluations Provo has been cleared to practice in full this week and will be ready for the Big East opener on October 9th at USF.

Additionally Derrell Smith who left the game on Saturday briefly in the 2nd quarter is fine and has no ill effects from what appeared to be a leg injury that took him out of the game for a few plays. He will also practice with the team when on the field drills resume on thursday, and will be ready to go for the USF game.

Now for some bad news. Wide Receiver Steve Rene tore the labrum on his left shoulder which will require surgery. Rene is out for the remainder of the season. The freshman out of Brooklyn, NY played mostly on special teams this season, and returned punts when Mike Holmes was on the sideline.

There's also news from the NBA. Syracuse Orangemen fans have a new team to root against and its the Golden State Warriors. Former Indiana Hoosier Keith Smart will be taking over the head coaching duties of the Warriors following an announcement on Monday by team General Manager Larry Riley.

Speaking of the NBA, New York City area Syracuse fans are waiting on pins and needles for Carmelo Anthony. When the news drops check back with The Cuse Connection for details and analysis. [UPDATE: Nets say the deal is off the table. Maybe they are just playing hard ball but as of right now Anthony to the Nets rumor is dead.]

Monday, September 27, 2010

Delone Carter Running Through the Record Books!


This Saturday Delone Carter ran for 172 yards and 4 touchdowns. Carter now has 2,290 yards in his Syracuse career which is good enough for 11th on the all-time rushing list. Carter earned Big East Player of the Week honors for his performance against Colgate and is the 3rd best rusher in the Big East with 104.8 yards per game so far in 2010.

Next up on the list is the legend himself, Ernie Davis who has 2,386 career rushing yards. Since DC3 is 96 yards away from Davis, cuse fans can expect Carter to pass the Heisman Trophy winner either October 9th v. USF or Oct 16th against Pittsburgh in the Dome on homecoming weekend.

The all-time leading rusher in Syracuse history is Joe Morris who ran for 4,299 yards between 1978 and 1981. Mr. Morris can rest easy at night knowing that his record is safe. Carter would have to rush for an average of 251 yards per game the rest of the way in order to tie his mark. A more realistic finish for Carter would be somewhere between James Mungro and Larry Csonka. If he averages 80 yards per game the rest of the way DC3 will finish with 2,930 yards which would be good enough for 4th all-time in Syracuse History.

Syracuse's Career Rushing Leaders are:
1. Joe Morris 4,299
2. Walter Reyes 3,424
3. Larry Csonka 2,934
4. James Mungro 2,869
5. Floyd Little 2,704
6. David Walker 2,643
7. Dee Brown 2,626
8. Bill Hurley 2,551
9. Damien Rhodes 2,461
10. Ernie Davis 2,386
11. Delone Carter 2,290


Big East Conference Roundup (Week 4)


We are four weeks into the college football schedule and shockingly the Orangemen of Syracuse University are atop the Big East standings. After another poor showing from around the conference this weekend Syracuse is now 3-1 overall and tied with West Virginia for 1st place.

Pittsburgh had a Thursday night match up at home against #19 Miami and put up an absolute dud. Miami held Pittsburgh scoreless until a 4th quarter field goal from Dan Hutchins to give Pitt their only points on the night. Final score 31-3 in favor of Miami. Pittsburgh falls to 1-2 on the season and will play host to Florida International this week.

Also on the schedule this week was #22 West Virginia against #15 LSU. West Virginia hung in with LSU on the road, getting numerous chances with the ball in the 4th quarter down 6 points. They were unable to punch the ball into the end zone. WVU wound up losing the game 20-14. WVU is 3-1 on the season and has a bye in week 5.

The final marquee game of the week for the Big East was held in Cincinnati where the Bearcats took on the #8 Oklahoma Sooners. The Big East Conference champion from 2009 finally played like a respectable football program however they were never able to take the lead from OU. Cincinnati got a touch down in the final minute of action to post a respectable 31-29 loss at home.

So the Big East lost all three marquee match ups that could have saved the conference some respectability. This is very disappointing news to fans of this conference. The media will surely be questioning the automatic bid of the Big East following this week, and they have every right to. Its a down year for the conference, thats for sure. However this gives teams like Syracuse a chance to finally make their way back to a bowl game for the first time since 2004.

Also not showing up this week was Rutgers. Rutgers managed to lose at home this week to the University of North Carolina by a score of 17-13. Not the kind of performance the conference needed to save some face on their out of conference schedule. Rutgers will face Tulane at home on Saturday. There were some victories in the conference to go along with Syracuse's 42-7 victory over Colgate.

Connecticut beat Buffalo 45-21 to even their record on the year to 2-2. UCONN will be playing Vanderbilt at home this Saturday at noon. Additionally, the University of South Florida beat Wesetern Kentucky at home 24-12 and will play Florida Atlantic at home in their final tune up before Syracuse comes to town to kick off the Conference schedule. The remaining game for the conference next week is Louisville (1-2) traveling to Arkansas State (1-3).

After 4 weeks of action the conference standings are:
1. SYRACUSE 3-1
2. West Virginia 3-1
3. Rutgers 2-1
4. South Florida 2-1
5. Connecticut 2-2
6. Louisville 1-2
7. Pittsburgh 1-2
8. Cincinnati 1-3

Yes, that's our very own Syracuse Orangemen in 1st place. Enjoy it while we can Cuse fans!! Syracuse has a bye this week, so we can be no worse than a 4 way tie for 1st place when we travel to USF on October 9th to kick-off the conference schedule. The game time has been announced for High Noon and will be shown live on SNY!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Delone Carter Leads Syracuse to Best Start Since 2003!


COLGATE 7
SYRACUSE 42

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.

photo courtesy of Syracuse.com


Friday, September 24, 2010

Syracuse Orangemen Basketball Preview Issue!! Part 2!


In part one of the preview we looked at who was returning for the Orangemen this season. Syracuse has two starters returning, Rick Jackson and Brandon Triche, and will surely get huge minutes from Kris Joseph this season. The question on everyone's mind is who are the new recruits, and what can they bring to the program? ESPN ranks Syracuse's 2010 class 5th in the nation, however Scout and Rivals have the class ranked 7th. Either way the rest of the Big East should be put on notice: Syracuse won't be going away quietly any time soon!

Let's start with the big ticket recruit. Fabricio de Melo. Or as cuse fans will come to know and love him, Fab Melo. What can you say about a McDonald's High School All-American who's name is Melo and coming to Syracuse? Karma. How can this not work out for us? For starters, the Brazilian import is 7' tall 270lbs and is ranked the 4th best center in the country for the 2010 class. He moved to southern Florida from Brazil in the fall of 2008 but due to transfer rules he was forced to sit out a year before he could take the court.

In his senior year at Sagemont Upper School in Weston, Florida Fab Melo averaged 15 points 11.3 boards and 3.3 blocks per game. Head Coach Jimmy B. says that he will be a contender for national rookie of the year and will be ready to step right onto the court. He's 30 pounds lighter than he was this time last year, and rumor has it he has a 20' jump shot. I think its safe to say expectations are for Fab Melo to join the starting rotation early this season. A note about that photo, that's our boy Fab Melo blocking Kyrie Irving who will be a freshman at Duke University. Facial LeFleur. Total Facial.

If we could all wipe the drool from our lower lip that may have accumulated during the Fab Melo portion of the preview, we can move right along to Dion Waiters. Waiters is 6'3" 214 pound shooting guard out of the Life Center Academy in Burlington, NJ. A native of Philadelphia, PA, Waiters says the one area of his game he needs to work on is moving without the ball. He says his big frame will help him be successful in the Big East and us fans can expect him to get regular minutes on this year's squad. Waiters has tremendous leaping ability, and I'm not using that term lightly. Yes, it appears Waiters might indeed jump out of the Dome this season. Scout credits him as an aggressive scorer with a great first step, and ranked him the 4th best shooting guard in the class. Waiters averaged 21.3 points per game with 3.7 assists per game in his senior season. As long as Waiters can stay out of trouble he will make a big impact for the Orangemen for years to come.

Another freshman coming to cuse this year is C.J. Fair. C.J. is another player who has a terrific frame for Syracuse's trusted 2-3 Zone. He stands 6'7" tall and weighs in at 200 pounds. Ranked 63rd overall by ESPN.com Fair tore his ACL in his junior season and missed the full year. Despite the injury Fair bounced back for a solid senior year averaging 20.3 points per game. He helped lead his team Brewster Academy to the 2010 National Prep School Championship. A natural lefty, he hails originally from Baltimore, MD and hopes to earn a spot in the rotation this season, although it is doubtful he will start. C.J. can finish around the rim, block shots, he has a good jump shot that can use some improvement and can throw down some serious dunks.

Last but certainly not least is Baye Moussa Keita out of Oak Hill Academy. Syracuse fans are extremely familiar with Oak Hill, having plucked numerous impact players out of the prep school. The 6'11" center is the #15 center in the class of 2010 according to scout and came to Oak Hill from his native Senegal. There's rumors on the internet that say it was Syracuse who pushed Keita to attend Oak Hill Academy, and he has to improve on his offensive abilities and add muscle to his nearly 7 foot tall frame in order to make an impact at Syracuse. Keita is very athletic, a good shot blocker and rebounder, and under the proper tutelage can become a player Syracuse can rely on inside in the coming seasons. I predict a limited role for Keita this year but after some work with assistant coach Bernie Fine he could log some big minutes in the future off the bench for the Orangemen.

There will be a part 3 of the preview sometime next week where The Cuse Connection will try to guess the starting five and give some predictions for the season.

photo via syracuse.com

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Syracuse v. Colgate: Orangemen looking to go 3-1


The Syracuse Orangemen and the Colgate Raiders are no strangers on the gridiron. Syracuse has played Colgate 65 times since 1891 and Colgate actually holds the edge 31-29-5. This may come as a shocker to many young cuse fans, but the old timers know that there was no bigger game than the annual match up versus Colgate. Not even hated Penn State. [Fear not Syracuse fans, as we have won the last 14 meetings.]

Between 1902 and 1961 the teams met every single year except four. Twice it was due to World War. Needless to say, there was some real hatred between the campuses, which are only separated by an hour of pavement (or in the early days of the rivalry dirt road). The Daily Orange has an article in today's paper about the history of the rivalry and it will surely get cuse fans fired up to go over to Colgate's Hamilton, NY campus and cause some mischief. Here's an excerpt from that article:


"Syracuse students once tried to kidnap the entire Colgate band and take them to Thornden Park to scalp every member. The plan was unsuccessful, but it only showed the extremes these schools went to for the purpose of proving superiority over their rival."


There is also a top 10 games veresus Colgate list over at Nunes Magician. Both are absolute reads.

Somewhere along the way Syracuse's football was vaulted in to the upper echelon of college football, and Colgate was left holding the bag of obscurity. In Syracuse's 1959 championship season they beat Colgate 71-0. SEVENTY-ONE TO NOTHING. So really its no surprise two years later Colgate ran away with their tails between their legs afraid of the big bad Orangemen from Syracuse.

They would be heard from again. There was the 1987 meeting when Syracuse beat Colgate 52-6 en route to their 11-0 season and the cowardice of Pat Dye in the Sugar Bowl. The two teams have not met since. Until Saturday. Syracuse will come into the dome sporting a 2-1 record while Colgate is a respectable 1-1.

A look at Colgate's recent opponents finds a familiar school, Monmouth, a victim of the University of Maine and a victim of Colgate as well. Colgate opened their season with a 30-29 victory over the Monmouth Hawks, and then lost to the powerhouse that is the Furman Paladins. A quick glance to find out what exactly the Furman Paladins are tells me that they actually played #13 South Carolina on the road last week and lost a respectable 38-19 football game.

Colgate's QB is a man by the name of Greg Sullivan who is carrying a 17 of 28 for 231 yards and 1 TD 1 INT in 2 games stat line. Their leading rusher goes by the name of Nate Eachus who has 279 yards on the year with 2 TDs. Since Colgate has only played two games that's an average of 139 yards per game for Eachus. Very respectable. The receiver to watch for is Doug Rosnick who has caught 10 balls for 128 yard and a TD.

And then there's the SYRACUSE ORANGEMEN! Syracuse is coming into this game after defeating Maine 38-14 in the Carrier Dome a week ago. Ryan Nassib was the man on that night, throwing 5 touchdown passes and zero interceptions. Orangemen fans will be looking for more of the same out of Nassib and Syracuse can expect their wide receivers to have a big week again.

Colgate's rushing defense has allowed an AVERAGE of 259 yards on the ground in their two games played, so this could be the week that Delone Carter and Antwon Bailey burst out into the open field for some big plays!! DC3 is averaging 82.3 yards per game this year, could this be the week that finally blows him out of the gates?? Many Syracuse fans, including the bloggers over at Otto's Army are asking where Antwon Bailey has been hiding. I have been saying since week 1 that I'd like to see Bailey get the ball more, especially early. Saturday could be a huge rushing day for the Orangemen and I hope that both Bailey and Carter are in on the action!

Syracuse's Defense comes in with the 43rd best Points Against Average in the nation with 19.3. Considering our quality of opponents the last three weeks its good, but not great. Syracuse's biggest weapons on defense are Chandler Jones and Derrell Smith. Then there is last week's emerging star, true freshman Malcolm Cater who should get more snaps this week after he showed tremendous speed and power in last weeks win versus Maine. His new nickname is Cater the Assassinator, by the way. Tell your friends.

If all goes according to plan Saturday, the Syracuse Orangemen will be 3-1 this year. The first time since Coach Pasqualoni lead Syracuse to a 3-1 start in 2003. The game will be televised on ESPN3 and kickoff will be at 3:30. Be sure to check back here for a post-game recap

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Syracuse Football News and Notes

A quick look around the net finds many topics of conversation surrounding the Syracuse Football team, and for a change the majority of them are positive! Ryan Nassib is currently leading the Big East Conference with 8 TD passes. Nassib's 5 touchdown performance versus Maine earned him Big East Weekly Honor Roll status. Additionally, Mike Holmes earned himself Special Teams Player of the Week honors in the Big East.

Chandler Jones was also a member of the Big East Weekly Honor Roll. Jones finished the week with 7 tackles, 2 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. Chandler Jones has been an absolute BEAST on the defensive line for the Orangemen. Jones has 13 tackles so far this year through 3 games, 9 of them unassisted. The junior has a huge football frame, standing 6'5" tall, and at 250 pounds he is almost an immovable force on the d-line.

Another SU player making waves on the internet is Malcolm Cater. Many of you will remember his #4 jersey blowing by the Maine offensive line and delivering bone crushing hits on the QB. CNYCentral.com has a video feature on the true freshman today, and Orange Fizz has a quick write up discussing Cater's recruitment to the University. There is also interesting background information on his life growing up on Long Island. I recommend both links.

Some bad news came down on a former Syracuse football star today. Tanard Jackson of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was suspended indefinitely by the NFL for a violation of the league's substance abuse policy. It is the second violation of the substance abuse policy for Jackson and this time it will cost him 1 year without pay.

Lastly, there is a little news out of Ann Arbor, Michigan that should have Syracuse fans everywhere smiling. Turns out that there's some upset fans calling for Greg Robinson's job as the Defensive Coordinator at Michigan. Linebacker Craig Roh of the Wolverines was quoted as saying "we just didn't look like we were prepared to play and we didn't make adjustments during the game." OHHHH REALLLLY? Greg Robinson failed to make adjustments? Who would ever guess that GROB would have his team unprepared? Who could imagine that he would come up empty when the time came to make half-time adjustments?

After Greg Robinson took the Michigan job I told my friends that there were now two teams I rooted for in college football. Syracuse, and whoever was playing Michigan. After giving up 37 points to UMASS I don't know how much longer the latter part of that sentence will apply.

Coming up tomorrow The Cuse Connection will have a preview of this week's game versus Colgate, which will take place in the Carrier Dome at 3:30pm Saturday. Get your tickets while you can!! Syracuse will be looking to push their record to 3-1 for the first time since 2003!

Wide Receivers Coming to Play in 2010


Three weeks into the football season, and the biggest surprise has been the improved play of the Orangemen's wide receiver group. Aside from Mike Williams' excellent numbers through the seven games he actually competed in during the 2009 season, Marcus Sales lead the team with 324 receiving yards. Alec Lemon had 29 catches to lead the team, one more than Marcus Sales.

So far in the 2010 football season, Marcus Sales has yet to sniff the field on game day. Doug Marrone left Sales off the depth chart to start the year and he was competing for the 4th receiver position. Perhaps it was fellow CBA alum Greg Paulus' presence in the huddle that got Sales the ball so often or perhaps it was the attention paid to Mike Williams which gave Sales the space to make plays. Regardless, Marcus Sales is a non-factor this season. Aaron Weaver's arrival on campus also played a part in moving Sales down the depth chart. However, after Weaver's season ending knee injury, Sales has still been no where to be found.

The biggest surprise so far this year is Van Chew. Not only does he have the coolest name on the team, he's also the most improved. Van Chew played in 11 games last year hauling in 6 catches for 66 yards. In the offseason, he added 10 pounds of muscle on his 6'1" frame pushing the scale to roughly 170lbs. Although we are only 3 games into his junior year, his numbers have him poised for a breakout season. He is currently leading the team with 16 catches for 275 yards and 2 touchdowns. Granted we are not yet into the Big East schedule, but he is giving cuse fans all over reasons to believe. Van Chew and Ryan Nassib have seemed to develop great chemistry and he is Nassib's main down field threat on game day.



Sophomore Alec Lemon has also been a regular target for QB Ryan Nassib. Lemon has 12 catches for 141 yards and 3 TDs through 3 games. Aside from a slow start versus Maine where he dropped a few passes early, he has been a consistent compliment to Van Chew. He recovered well against Maine, finishing the night with 5 catches for 58 yards and 2 TDs after a disappointing start. He's more of a slot receiver than the down field threat that Chew presents. At 6'2" 196 pounds he is the biggest receiver left on the team after the injury to Hofstra transfer Aaron Weaver. He's going to need that size when going over the middle versus the heavy hitting teams in the Big East.

Unfortunately for the Orangemen, senior Aaron Weaver (who came to Syracuse after Hofstra cut their football program) was lost for the season during practice leading up to the Dome opener. In two games he had 6 grabs for 88 yards and a touchdown. As the biggest target of the receiving core, he was looking to make a name for himself as the 3rd receiver on the team. His loss leaves the Orangemen with two reliable receivers and a few question marks.

In the first week with Weaver's absence, Syracuse's Tight Ends stepped up. Nick Provo had a career day with 5 catches for 85 yards and a touchdown. Syracuse was hoping they would get some depth at WR from players such as Dorian Graham, Cody Morgan and last year's receiving option Marcus Sales, although they were all non-factors.

What can we attribute this improved play to? Other than a year of experience there is no denying Rob Moore's influence in this group's performance. Hired in the off-season to help bring the WR group to a level of respectability, he has far exceeded his expectations early in the season. Moore graduated from Syracuse in 1990 as the teams All-time touchdown receptions leader with 22, and the 3rd most receiving yards in team history. Syracuse was a combined 29-6-1 during his time at the school. He played 12 seasons in the NFL with 3 trips to the pro-bowl. He is doing a fantastic job as the Wide Receivers coach and this cuse fan is happy to have him aboard!

Marrone has been quoted this week as saying Marcus Sales will see some time on the field this week versus Colgate (Saturday 3:30), as he has the most experience of the remaining WR options. If he wants to get on the field, he will have to show Marrone he is capable this week on the practice field.

photo courtesy of the daily orange.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mike Williams' Road to the NFL


As we all know, Mike Williams had quite the checkered history at Syracuse University. When he was in uniform he was one of the best receivers to ever wear the orange and blue. Off the field, it was an entirely different story.


His freshman year (2006) he would catch 24 balls for 461 yards and 4 touchdowns. Not bad for a true freshman. In fact, he led the team in receiving yards that year, the first freshman to do so at Syracuse since 1983, and and his 46.1 yards per game was 6th best in the Big East.

Sophomore year for Mike Williams would be an epic one. Williams would tie Syracuse's single season reception leader Kevin Johnson with a whopping 60 catches. His 837 receiving yards in 2007 would be the 8th best season in Syracuse history. He would also score the 3rd most touchdowns in SU history this season with 10. Hopes were high for Mike Williams after the season and he was named to the 2007 All-Big East Second Team.

From here it all went downhill fast. Mike Williams was suspended from the school for "academic reasons." Loosely translated, he cheated on a test. Possibly as many as two tests in the same class. He would miss the entire 2008 season.

Williams would, however, fight his way back onto the team in time for the 2009 season. Greg Robinson was fired at the end of the 2008 campaign and Doug Marrone was in at head coach. Mike Williams attended classes at Springfield Technical Community College in Massachusetts in 2008 and had good enough grades to re-enroll at Syracuse.

Mike Williams splashed back onto the scene in a 23-20 overtime loss to Minnesota in the Dome. Williams would catch 7 passes for 94 yards and a touchdown. He would go on to total 49 receptions 746 yards and 6 touchdowns in seven games. Why seven games you may ask? Well, Mr. Williams and a few teammates were involved in a non-alcohol related car accident near Turning Stone Casino and with 4 games left in the season it was announced that Mike Williams would not be returning.

It was Mike William's second curfew violation of the season and Coach Marrone said that a suspension would be handed down. Rather than serving any suspension Mike Williams found himself off the Syracuse football team. There remains some debate as to whether or not Williams quit the team or if he was thrown off the team, but however you cut it his time at Syracuse was over.

[Allegedly, Marrone told Mike Williams there would be a team vote, and if they wanted him back, he would be on the team. Mike Williams was told that they would be calling him with their decision. From here the details get fuzzy. The team reported that they called Williams telling him that he was going to be allowed to return, however he did not answer his phone. Williams said that his phone was lost in the car in which the accident occurred, and he wasn't available at home because his roommate had swine flu and Williams had to take up residence at another location. Marrone took this as Mike Williams being disinterested in re-joining the team and sent out a press release informing the media he would no longer be a member of the Orangemen.]

His career totals at Syracuse are 133 receptions (4th all-time) 2,044 yards (5th all-time) and 20 touchdowns (2nd all-time). Had he stayed in uniform for 4 years at Syracuse he would have obliterated all the wide receiver records at the University. He would go on to be drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 4th round 101st overall. He was the 14th wide receiver taken in the 2010 draft.


Currently, we are 2 weeks into the NFL season and the pick is paying off big time for the Bucs. Mike Williams is 2nd on the team with 7 catches, totaling 84 yards and 2 TDs. Only Kellen Winslow has more catches and yardage, however Williams is currently leading the team in touchdowns. The 2-0 Buccaneers play host to the Pittsburgh Steelers this week and if the team wants to continue their winning ways they will need continued contributions from Mike Williams.


With a seemingly non-existent running attack so far for the Bucs, the passing game will have to be the catalyst for their offense. Williams is an early favorite target for quarterback Josh Freeman and if he can stay healthy and keep his head in the game he should continue to put up solid rookie stats in the NFL. He's big, athletic, and has great hands. His vision on the field is fantastic as well. He is absolutley an NFL caliber receiver. Can he stay out of trouble long enough to find success at the professional level?


For Syracuse fans across the country, the question is do we fully back Mike Williams? Draft him for our fantasy teams and brag to our friends about how Syracuse's WR is tearing up the NFL? I'm not sure. On one hand Mike Williams was one of the best receivers to play in the Dome. On the other hand he was thrown out of school once and then walked away from the team after fighting his way back on. He's a troubled case for sure. I wish him the best and if he can get through the entire season and stay out of trouble I think Syracuse fans can remember him for the player he was on the field, and not off it.

syracuse photo courtesy of syracuse.com, buccaneers photo courtesy of getty images.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Syracuse Orangemen Basketball Preview Issue!! Part 1!


The 2009/10 basketball season left us with a lot of great memories we can take with us for a lifetime. Unfortunately, the final memory from the season was a crushing loss. When we last saw the Syracuse Orangemen they were walking off the court in Salt Lake City, Utah after a defeat at the hands of the Butler Bulldogs in the Sweet 16.

There were three subtractions from the team. Wesley Johnson was drafted 4th overall by the Minnesota Orangem.. timberwolves, right. Andy Rautins was taken in the 2nd round by the New York Knicks, and Arinze Onuaku graduated. Whereabouts unknown. This is Syracuse though, and Jim Boeheim
& Co. have a ton of talent coming in to take their places on the Cuse roster.

First, a look at who is back:
Syracuse is returning Rick Jackson (sr), Scoop Jardine (jr), Kris Joseph (jr), and Brandon Triche (so) from its nucleus last season. Also coming back for another tour of duty are Mookie Jones (so), James Southerland (so) and DaShonte Riley (so).

Last season Rick Jackson averaged 9.7pts and 7 boards per game. He's shown improvement each year in a cuse uniform and this year should be no different. As one of two returning starters he will be getting major minutes and be a forward that syracuse's back line will rely heavily on in their trusted 2-3 zone. He scored in double digits 17 times last season and we will need to see more of the same this season from Action
Jackson.

Brandon Triche, syracuse's other returning starter earned Big East All-Rookie Team honors at the end of the season. After averaging 8.1 points per game and 2.8 assists per game in 21.3minutes of action, he will have to work even harder to stay ahead of Scoop Jardine at the starting spot.

Junior Scoop Jardine, National Sixth Man of the Year, as voted by the Sporting News, is coming off a year where he averaged 9.1points and 4.3 assists per game. In six of the final seven games Jardine finished in double digit scoring and will be fighting tooth and nail with Triche for the starting point guard position. Scoop went far in his tryout for the USA select team this summer, just missing out on the final 10 man cut. Scoop has been quoted as saying that he expects to start at the point guard spot, with Triche starting at shooting guard.

Also returning and poised for a huge season is Big East Sixth Man of the Year Kris Joseph. KrisJo had a breakout season for the Orangemen in his sophomore campaign, with 10.8ppg and 5.5rpg. He is on literally EVERYONES radar and assistant coach Rob Murphy has already called him a potential lottery pick in next years NBA draft. Personally I expect this to be Joseph's last season in a cuse uniform.

Of the remaining three returning hoopsters, I think James Southerland has the greatest chance to make an impact this season. Mookie Jones has shown the ability to knock down the 3 ball, but he hasn't shown the ability to do anything else effectively and/or consistently. Especially play defense. He has been consistent at pissing off the coaching staff and asking for more minutes though.

James Southerland stands 6'8" tall and has a great outside shot. We didn't see all that much from him last season, and he took the year on the bench in stride. When we did see him on the court The Cuse Connection liked what it saw. He had 10 points in 10 minutes v. Colgate last year and 10 points in 20 minutes versus Maine connecting on 2 of 3 from beyond the arc.

DaShonte Riley returns after logging some major tournament minutes when Arinze Onuaku was lost for the year with a knee injury. He did not score in his 3 tournament appearances, and often times looked very lost on the court. The big 7 footer will have to chalk that up to a learning experience and try to move forward and work hard if he wants to make a big impact this season.

Up next we will take a look at the incoming freshman looking to make a splash this season in Part II!

All photos courtesy of syracuse.com

A look around the Big East


Another saturday has passed and Syracuse actually finds themselves in 3rd! place in the big east standings. That's good news for the cuse, but unfortunately its lousy news for the rest of the conference. This week's conference losers were cinci (30-19 loss at North Carolina State), uconn (30-16 loss at temple), and louisville (35-28 loss at oregon state). As for the victors, west virginia beat maryland 31-17 at home and our own Syracuse Orangemen beat up on Maine 38-14 in the dome. Where does that leave the conference?

1. West Virginia 3-0
2. Rutgirls 2-0
3. SYRACUSE 2-1
4. Pittsburgh 1-1
5. South Florida 1-1
6. Cincinnati 1-2
7. Connecticut 1-2
8. Louisville 1-2

This week the big east finds itself playing 3 marquee matchups. Pittsburgh starts us off hosting #19 Miami in a thursday night ESPN showdown. Saturday at 6pm on ESPN2 Cincinnati welcomes the #8 Oklahoma Sooners and following that game on the same channel West Virginia travels to #15 LSU. With the big east's poor non-conference showing to start the season this is a TREMENDOUS week of games if the conference wants to save any face at all this season. Win two of those games and we can show our faces at the water cooler monday.

What does this all mean for the Orangemen? It means that the big east this season is wide open! The conference has shown that it can be beat and Syracuse has to take advantage of this. Brian Kelly is out at cincinnati and they are looking like a beatable team. South Florida lost their head coach as well. We all know Louisville was the one team many "experts" picked to finish behind Syracuse in the conference standings this year. Connecticut has been beaten twice already. Is this the year syracuse finally beats Randy Edsall? I hope so.

If Syracuse wants to earn their first trip to a bowl game since 2004 these are the teams they are going to have to go through to get there!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Welcome Everybody to the Ryan Nassib Show!!


MAINE 14
SYRACUSE 38

Early on it seemed like the Syracuse Orangemen were in for a long night. Maine ran a reverse on the opening kickoff taking it to the Syracuse 31 yard line. Although they didn't score on that drive, Maine did manage to jump out to a 7-0 lead and strike fear in the hearts of cuse fans much like they did last season when they held a 17-13 lead at halftime.

Syracuse would eventually answer back early in the 2nd quarter. I know I knocked Mike Holmes' punt catching abilities after week 1, but now he seems to be in the swing of things. In-fact it was his punt return to open the 2nd quarter that got the entire team going. He cut back across the field at his own 3 yard line and ran the ball all the way down to the Maine 31. One would think he could have kept running all the way to the endzone, however he appeared to slow down and then ultimately stopped himself. Gas tank must have been running low. Next play Nassib found Van Chew at the 1 yard line and after a few run attempts Nassib put the needed touch on the ball to hit Lemon in the corner of the endzone to tie the game 7-7.

It appeared the Orangemen were all fired up at this point and ready to take over this game. However, after bad coverage on the ensuing kickoff and as the penalties began to mount for the Orangemen, Maine scored yet another TD on a play very reminiscent of the play Syracuse beat VTECH on in the Dome in 1998. 14-7 Maine.

Now, as far as that bad coverage is concerned on that kick, it all began when Syracuse took a DELAY OF GAME PENALTY!!! ON THE KICKOFF!! following the Lemon TD. Really Bob Casullo? Delay of game on a kickoff? I can honestly say I don't know the last time I've seen that happen, if ever. Maine returned the ball to mid-field and they appeared to completely shake off the Syracuse TD, retaking the lead.

Syracuse would catch a HUGE break late in the 2nd quarter though. After Derek Session (#6) dropped a sure TD pass where the only thing between him and the endzone were the cheerleaders, SU's D forced a fumble on the next play. Instead of 21-10 Maine, it was Syracuse ball deep in Maine territory.

Fast-forward to 4th down with 30 seconds left and Syracuse is going for it from the 4 yard line. Coach Marrone put his trust in Ryan Nassib and Ryan did not disappoint. After rolling to his right he found TE Jose Cruz at the front pylon for a tremendous touchdown, 17-14 Syracuse at the half!! Who is Jose Cruz you may be asking? He was another Hofstra refugee (and former Akron footballer) and very fittingly dedicated his TD catch to fellow Hofstra transfer Aaron Weaver, who is now out for the season with a torn ACL.

The second half would be all syracuse. The orangemen defense held maine to ZERO points in the second half. Ryan Nassib threw for 3 second half touchdowns, to 3 different receivers. Nassib finished the night 19/28 for 260 yards and FIVE! touchdowns. Zero interceptions. Safe to say Ryan Nassib has arrived! For those of you wondering, five touchdown passes is a single game record for the Orangemen.

The rushing attack didn't show up on this day, as the team combined for 78 yards (65 for Delone Carter). Speaking of Mr. Ohio, he had himself a little bit of history as well. On this night DC3 ran past Jim Brown in the Syracuse All-Time rushing leaders list. Congratulations Mr. Carter!

It wasn't all bagels and lox on this night however. Syracuse also took TEN first half penalties!! TEN! Syracuse would end the night with 14 penalties for 111 yards. Thats an entire football field worth of yardage and an end zone. That is not going to get you any wins in the Big East and if I were HCDM the team would be running for each and every one of those penalties at practice this week.

Now for some game notes:
  • SU defense was easily fooled by any ball fake Maine would show them.
  • Tight Ends had a huge night! Nick Provo 5 catches 85 yards and a TD, Jose Cruz 1 catch for 4 yards and a TD. Way to step up!!
  • The "HEY SONG!" returned to the dome with a full chorus from the SU student section. Points to the student section for breaking out the profanity!
  • Nancy Cantor gave Floyd Little the biggest Hug of the night when he was honored for his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction. She hugs all these SU greats like they are old friends from the neighborhood. Dial it in a little bit lady, this isn't an episode of Maury and thats not your estranged father.
  • I'm not 100% positive but I can say with some confidence that Michael Hay (#74) is the weakest link on the Offensive Line. Constantly beat by his man and slow as all hell.
  • #49 Adam Harris was a ball of fire when he got in the game at fullback.
  • If you didn't know (#4) Malcolm Cater's name before tonight, you sure as hell do now! His intensity was unmatched and he's an absolute BEAST out of riverhead, ny.
  • Rob Moore has done just a TREMENDOUS job with the receivers this year. Their improvement is tenfold from last season.
  • Attendance tonight was 37,758. Unfortunately many fans left early in the 4th quarter with syracuse up big. I was surprised so many fans started filing out early, especially when they've seen nothing but losses over the years you would have thought they'd want to sit around and see syracuse actually whoop up on a team!
Up next on the schedule is Colgate in the Dome, 3:30. The game will be on ESPN3. Syracuse will look to push their record to 3-1 before entering conference play. LETS GO ORANGEMEN!!!

photo courtesy of syracuse.com

Jack Cosgrove: The poor man's Jim Boeheim?


Well ladies and gentlemen, Syracuse has done it. They won the home opener, first time since 2004 and if you only watched the 2nd half, one could say that Syracuse totally owned Maine on this night. However since there was a first half as well, and more importantly a first quarter, there were some very nerve racking moments early in the Carrier Dome.

Maine, how did you lose to albany 3-0??? I think we all have to tip our caps to Maine's head coach Jack Cosgrove. From what I can tell he is the Maine equivalent of Jim Boeheim, having graduated from the university and played there as well. This guy can flat out coach. Early on I was questioning whether or not he should be coaching at Syracuse!

There's something about this guy that makes me wonder if he's clinically insane or just a genius. From what I heard since SNY didn't show the start of the game, Maine opened the game with a reverse on the kickoff and took the ball all the way down to the Syracuse 31. Wasn't that the same play that Syracuse called against Florida to open the game years ago, and wasn't it Bob Casullo who called it? How can he get fooled by his own play in his own building!?

Secondly, the second TD of the game for Maine to take a 14-7 lead was the exact same play Syracuse beat Virginia Tech on with the TE delay, christ I thought I saw Steve Brominski rolling out for that pass!! I'll say this for Cosgrove, he was trying to beat us at our own game! I'm surprised he didn't try to run the option!

Thankfully, clearer heads prevailed and Syracuse shut out Maine in the 2nd half rolling to a 38-14 win, a much needed win for the program. I'd say Jack Cosgrove may one day get a big time coaching gig, however since this is his 17th year at the University (between his playing days, assistant coaching days and as a head coach) I'm going to assume he's not going anywhere, much like our local legend Jimmy B.

photo courtesy of goblackbears.com

My Rant Against SNY

It was a game for the history books, if you're Ryan Nassib. Before we get too into the game I want to start out by saying SNY really did Syracuse and their fans dirty this week. Syracuse just signed a big network deal with SNY to increase their programing and exposure just days ago, yet on game-day (the biggest day of the week for Cuse) SNY felt it necessary to show the Mets post-game show in its entirety. I get it. The Mets own SNY and it's their channel. But geeeez how about showing an abbreviated post-game show and getting us out to the Carrier Dome in time for kickoff? How about a split screen? Do we Really need to see Jerry Manuel and Jose Reyes's post-game remarks about being 14 games out of first place and 11 back in the wild card? Their season is over and Syracuse's is just beginning. I am curious what the ratings for a Mets post-game show are especially on a night when the game was broadcast on FOX and not SNY. I think they could have done something to accommodate us loyal Syracuse fans is all. Hopefully going forward this kind of issue can be handled a little more fairly. Not just for cuse fans but for every team in the big east.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The 2010-2011 Syracuse Mens Basketball Schedule is OUT!


Its that time of year again. The Syracuse Orangemen released their Men's Basketball schedule today. Now we can all commit to things we have been avoiding in the months ahead with a clear conscience knowing that the Cuse will not be playing on that day. Also, those of us who are die hards can finally pick out which road games we will be attending!! Without further adieu:


Tue, Nov 2 Kutztown TBA Syracuse, NY
Tue, Nov 9 LeMoyne TBA Syracuse, NY
Fri, Nov 12 Northern Iowa TBA Syracuse, NY
Sun, Nov 14 Canisius TBA Syracuse, NY
Tue, Nov 16 Detroit TBA Syracuse, NY
Sun, Nov 21 William & Mary TBA Syracuse, NY
Fri, Nov 26 Michigan 8:00 p.m. Atlantic City, NJ
Sat, Nov 27 Georgia Tech/UTEP 5:30/8:30 p.m. Atlantic City, NJ
Tue, Nov 30 Cornell TBA Syracuse, NY
Sat, Dec 4 North Carolina State 5:15 p.m. Syracuse, NY
Tue, Dec 7 Michigan State 9:00 p.m. New York, NY
Sat, Dec 11 Colgate TBA Syracuse, NY
Sat, Dec 18 Iona TBA Syracuse, NY
Mon, Dec 20 Morgan State TBA Syracuse, NY
Wed, Dec 22 Drexel TBA Syracuse, NY
Tue, Dec 28 Providence 9:00 p.m. Syracuse, NY
Sat, Jan 1 Notre Dame 3:30 p.m. Syracuse, NY
Sat, Jan 8 Seton Hall TBA South Orange, NJ
Wed, Jan 12 St. John's 7:00 p.m. Queens, NY
Sat, Jan 15 Cincinnati TBA Cincinnati, OH
Mon, Jan 17 Pittsburgh 7:30 p.m. Pittsburgh, PA
Sat, Jan 22 Villanova 12:00 p.m. Syracuse, NY
Tue, Jan 25 Seton Hall University TBA Syracuse, NY
Sat, Jan 29 Marquette 3:00 p.m. Milwaukee, WI
Wed, Feb 2 UConn 7:00 p.m. Storrs, CT
Sat , Feb 5 University of South Florida TBA Tampa, FL
Wed, Feb 9 Georgetown 7:00 p.m. Syracuse, NY
Sat, Feb 12 Louisville 12:00 p.m. Louisville, KY
Mon, Feb 14 West Virginia 7:00 p.m. Syracuse, NY
Sat, Feb 19 Rutgers University TBA Syracuse, NY
Mon, Feb 21 Villanova 7:00 p.m. Villanova, PA
Sat, Feb 26 Georgetown 12:00 p.m. Washington, DC
Sat, Mar 5 DePaul University TBA Syracuse, NY

The big east tournament will be March 8th-March 12th in Madison Square Garden, NYC.

In the coming weeks we will preview the Basketball season. Be sure keep an eye out for it.

Syracuse v. Maine: 30th Anniversary of the Carrier Dome


Tomorrow night at 7:15pm the Syracuse University Orangemen will be taking on the Black Bears of Maine at the Carrier Dome. The game will be televised live on SNY, so those of us who may have to eat a large family dinner that night (and their families aren't as "dedicated" to the cause as we are) will have to DVR the game and watch on a bit of a tape delay.

Assuming all goes to plan and we can watch the game here's what we can expect: the unexpected.

Last year, the Black Bears came into the dome with a ton of trick plays and goofy stunts. Yes, there were fake punts. Yes, there were onside kicks. Yes, there was a ton of tom foolery. Infact, maine successfully pulled off TWO! fake punts..... AND two! count em TWO! onside kicks!! Will that happen again this year? I'm unsure, but hopefully syracuse won't get fooled again. Bob Casullo, we're looking at you!!

The previous meeting found Maine beating Syracuse in the dome 17-13 at halftime. However, Syracuse's offense prevailed in the 2nd half, winning the game 41-24 behind Delone Carter's "Al Bundy" performance. Yes, that's 4 touchdowns in a single game for you young folks out there.

In 2010, Syracuse enters the game 1-1, coming off a beat-down at the hands of the Washington Huskies. Maine enters the Dome 1-1 as well, after opening their season with a 3-0 loss to Albany. Yes, that's 3-0 and no, its not 1894. In their 2nd game, they managed a more respectable score, a 31-23 victory over Monmouth. You don't know what that school is. I don't know what that school is. Regardless, Syracuse won't just sleepwalk their way to victory, they are going to have to come to play!

By now the reality has set in for Syracuse fans. Aaron Weaver is done for the year. The biggest target for Ryan Nassib will be replaced most likely by junior Marcus Sales. If and when he proves himself not up to the task, we can count on speedy Dorian Graham to replace him as the 3rd wide-out. Hopefully, he will do enough to keep the walk-ons off the field.

As far as the running game for Syracuse is concerned, it will be difficult for Carter to top his 3 rushing TDs (and 1 receiving TD), however his 19 carries for 72 yards could be improved. I'm going to look for Antwon Bailey to get more involved in the offense this week as he could be the 3rd receiving option the Orange will desperately need out of the backfield.

Syracuse defense will hopefully stuff the run. The secondary was starting to give me reason to believe up until the second half of the Washington game. That's when their old habits of bad coverage and even worse tackling started to come to the surface. Not to single anyone out, but Da'Mon Merkerson, I'M LOOKING AT YOU! This kid simply can not tackle.

On a softer note, Syracuse University will be celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Carrier Dome on this night. Speaking of the Dome, the Orangemen haven't won a home opener since 2004. Lets see about changing that, shall we?

photo courtesy of espn.com

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Injury bug bites Syracuse WR


Well, its happened. The first major injury of the regular season has occured and is to starting wide receiver Aaron Weaver, the hofstra transfer. The 6'2" 220 pound receiver tore his ACL in practice tuesday. It was a non-contact drill and the team was practicing in shorts and shoulderpads/helmets when the injury occured. He is out for the remainder of the season.

Weaver proved himself to be a trusted receiver for quarterback Ryan Nassib, hauling in six catches in two games for 88 yards and a touchdown. He had the second most receiving yards on the team and was third in receptions. He will be remembered forever in syracuse football lore for scoring the first touchdown of the season in 2010.

His frame and speed will be missed on offense. A unit already struggling to find its identity. Syracuse still has Alec Lemon and Van Chew who have been decent targets for Ryan Nassib, but they now need someone to step up and fill the void left by the loss of Weaver.

Marcus Sales, junior wide receiver from nearby CBA (6' 177lbs) is one option, although last season he showed he was better at dropping passes than actually catching them. Walk-on Cody Morgan is one possible replacement (an even smaller player at 5'8" 166lbs) if Sales isn't up to the challenge, as is Dorian Graham (5'11" 185lbs out of ft. lauderdale). It is very obvious that Aaron Weaver's size will be very difficult to replace.

This week Syracuse will open up their home portion of the schedule with a game versus Maine at 7pm. The game will be televised live on SNY. This will be a good opportunity to try out some different looks on offense as the Orangemen try to move on without Aaron Weaver.

photo courtesy of espn.com

Monday, September 13, 2010

HI! I'm Earth. Have we met?

SYRACUSE - 20
WASHINGTON - 41

Well, it all started out so promising. Syracuse got the ball on the opening possession, took it downfield, and grabbed a 7-0 lead on a big 28 yard run from ryan nassib. Surprisingly, syracuse d came out and got us the ball back. SU then added to their lead, a 29 yard field goal from ross krautman. 10-0 orangemen, we're in business!

From there the game took a very different direction than the orange faithful had envisioned from this point. jake locker and the huskies (mainly this dude jermaine kearse who absolutely torched us) rattled off 27 unanswered points.

The real turning point of this game?!? Syracuse down 13-10 with time winding down in the 1st half. Cuse has driven deep into husky territory, has the ball inside the 20 with under 10 seconds left. instead of calling timeout or spiking the ball, ryan nassib scrambles around and throws an incomplete pass with no time left. cuse doesn't even get to try a field goal (krautman missed a fg earlier so I can sort of see why they didnt send him out right away) and what happens to open the 2nd half??? First play from scrimmage Kearse takes a 57 yard touchdown pass from jake locker. just great, 20-10.

The huskies would never look back.

In my pre-game post I said that the cuse will win or lose this game in the secondary. It seemed at times jake locker moved the ball at will through the orange defense. Locker's final line was 22 of 33 passing attempts for 289 yards and 4 touchdowns. Three of those touchdowns were to the aforementioned jermaine kearse. i'm sure that his performance will only further solidify his place atop draft boards.

Another knock against the secondary? tackling, or lack there of. any time a husky receiver got the ball they were running for 30 after the catch. open field tackling was brutal. the corners were soft. syracuse has to get better or we are going to regress to the days of grob..

So, syracuse is 1-1. Heading home. the undefeated season will have to wait for another year. coming up on the syracuse schedule are back to back home games v. maine and colgate. assuming all goes according to plan, syracuse should be 3-1 heading into conference play. the big east has looked beatable. lets just get some momentum going!!

things that need to be worked on :
1. THE OFFENSIVE LINE!!
2. Pass coverage!
3. Open field tackling by the secondary!!!
4. Red-Zone offense.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

pre-game post. beat washington.

we're hours away from this week's syracuse game and anticipation is running high. personally, i'm sitting watching the florida-south florida game hoping for a big east win. last week the conference gave an overall disappointing showing, but the orangemen of syracuse managed to represent the conference proudly.

rolling into washington with a 1-0 record feels pretty good. syracuse made their mistakes week 1, but they weren't mistakes that you couldn't correct in practice this week. I trust doug marrone addressed it and corrected it. its already been a pretty solid day (I passed wayne gretzky on the street this morning in nyc) and a syracuse victory will really tie the weekend together nicely.

An article on syracuse.com previewing the game this morning said derrell smith lead syracuse in 2007 v. washington with 19 rushing yards. NINETEEN!?!? how can it be that syracuse's leading rusher in a complete game had 19 yards? just that fact alone makes me want notre dame to win even bigger this week v. michigan. and I never root for notre dame.

Jake Locker this. Jake Locker that. Time for syracuse to kick this guy in the teeth. starting with the first play of the game. get in his face and put him on the turf. shake him up. this is going to be a very different syracuse team than the last one washington saw and they wont know what hit them. i hope. jump on them early!

Last week the secondary did a great job holding Akron to only a couple big passes and we are going to need a repeat of that today if cuse wants to win their 2nd west coast game in 13 tries. I am confident syracuse's rushing defense will rise to the occasion. this game will be won or lost by the secondary!

delone carter, we need a big play! I think we're all ready for a 60 yard touchdown run tonight. make it happen.

LETS GO ORANGE!! Rumor has it there will be a lot of syracuse fans there from the nunesmagician.com website, lets hope they all go home happy.