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Cardinal Collapse: Syracuse Succumbs to its Recent History of Letdowns

The Orange prove it hasn’t turned the corner we had all hoped with this loss.

The Orange handed in another offensive stinker and the good vibes and optimism of the win over West Virginia dissipated into the Louisville air. Everyone was concerned about a Syracuse letdown after one of the most emotional victories of the past decade last Friday (read our pregame story below). But it was clearly the Cardinals who delivered the intensity, feeding off a pregame appearance from their fallen teammate Anthony Connor.
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The 27-10 loss brought to light two unmistakable truths: For as much as we’d like to believe SU has turned the corner, it seems always poised for enormous letdowns. And Doug Marrone cannot beat the Cardinals. The Dougie is now 0-3 vs. UofL, and all three defeats were gut punches to the Orange season.

Last year, SU rebounded to win the Pinstripe Bowl, so all is not lost. But an ascending Orange squad was supposed to jump on Louisville and take the fight out of an immature and youthful team. Instead, it was the Cardinals who delivered the big plays early and Ryan Nassib who regressed once again. Young Teddy Bridgewater created huge gains (including the opening 42-yard throw to begin the scoring). Nassib had trouble moving the ball all day, finishing with just 162 yards (even with SU was playing catchup all game).
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The good news is Marrone has continually found ways to dig up wins when things looked bleakest for Syracuse, so the season has plenty of potential left. The bad news is SU has not turned the corner we had all hoped. The Orange is still a team with greatness in it, but a failure to completely harness it.
Posted: D.A.
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Syracuse is coming off one of the biggest wins of The Dougie Era and now has to avoid its biggest flaw. The 49-23 destruction of West Virginia was both brilliant and unexpected as the Orange dominated the Mountaineers, moved to 5-2 and received votes in the polls. With the weakness of the Big East, fans are starting to dream BCS which actually seems entirely possible. But SU has shown a recent tendency for letdowns after big wins.

Last season, the Orange got smoked at the Dome 45-14 by Pitt following the energizing win at USF. SU beat #19 WVU and Cincinnati on the road consecutively, then lost a stinker 28-20 to Louisville. In Marrone’s first year, Syracuse enjoyed it’s only Big East win over Rutgers and then was pummeled 56-31 at UConn in the final game of the season.

Marrone has often spoke about the concept of managing success and he addressed it this week:

“It starts with me. I gotta tell the players it’s behind us now. I know what it’s like to win a big game on this campus and walk on the quad and in class people tell you how great you are. Like I told the players, ‘we’ll celebrate the success.’ We had an opportunity to celebrate for a short time, we need to move on and after the season’s over we’ll look at it and celebrate the success we’ve had.”
The Orange now must focus on avoiding a hiccup against Louisville, a team that has lost to Florida International this year. Many were doubting the Orange just a week ago, but after watching the performance Friday bigger things must be expected.

Last year it seemed each huge win was followed by a dissappointing loss, every big step forward quickly followed by a step back. SU suffered ugly home losses down the stretch. The Orange had the same 5-2 record last year with many thinking BCS, but let the league slip out of its grasp.

Players brushed off the letdown as a non-issue. Ryan Nassib echoed his coach:

“We did a good job of forgetting last week. We’ll look back at the end of the season, but we understand we have to come out ready for this game just like we got our butts kicked last week. We need to have the same mentality and still come out firing, because once Monday comes it’s a totally different beast.”
However, Syracuse has struggled with playing down to the level of competition on several occasions and grinding out what should be easy wins (URI, Toledo, Tulane). The hallmark of a good team is one that takes care of business when it’s supposed to. Against a freshman QB and struggling Cardinals offense, Syracuse has a chance to take yet another step forward.

A big key for SU will be matching the early intensity of the Cardinals. They saw a teammate horrifically break his neck on the field last week and will no doubt be charged up playing at home in their fallen teammate’s honor. The Orange simply can’t afford a slow start, because Louisville is going to try and make it an ugly slugfest, something SU wants to avoid.

Syracuse has made huge strides under Marrone, but consistency isn’t yet one of them. For the Orange to make that next jump it starts with taking care of business on the road. It’s time for Syracuse to make the next leap as a program.

Posted: Alex Plavin

10 Comments on this Post

  1. earth to DA

    earth to DA

    Louisville is the favorite

    the article should be called ‘can SU pull another upset’, not can SU avoid a let down.

    They just played the best game they’ve played in atleast ten years. Its a guarantee they won’t play like that back to back besides the fact they matched up well style wise with wvu. they dont with L’ville.

    SU wants to be physical and was able to with a speed/quickness based wvu team. however this week they want to be physical against a team that is more physical.

    its a tough matchup for su and won’t be a let down if they lose. I mean you said yourself with the issues the team has like Nassib’s clear regression from last season how can you expect su to win. winning would be an upset.

  2. How is L’Ville the favorite? the have a worse record and lost to freaking FIU!

    Cuse’s best win =WVU

    L’vill = rutgers

    we have chandler back, we are the favorite. Its on the road but a loss would be a step back and a let down

  3. Nassib’s clear regression from last year? Who is this clown? Compare the stats…

    http://espn.go.com/college-football/player/_/id/382584/ryan-nassib

  4. Boston Jay

    The wiseguys in Vegas have Louisville by 3

  5. and the spread started at 4 points

    read the fizz five ‘nassib has taken a step back’, ‘ Ryan Nassib is more lost than a Hawaiian in Siberia’ then goes on to crush his performances.

    l’ville did beat rutgers and rutgers beat su……….and espn thinks rutgers will handle wvu pretty easily.

  6. This was a blow to recruiting and a possible conference BCS top spot. Nassib clearly had a bad game . If he can learn from it ,great. If not there will be more. I think he learns from it . He has a week to prove it against Pasqualoni’s team. This just makes Doug’s job more difficult in recruiting.

  7. OrangeCrush22

    I refuse to watch another ‘Cuse football game for the rest of the season. Getting piss pounded by a L’ville team that is not that good, makes that decision for me.

  8. i am just happy that the fizz announced the wvu game as cuse’s start to bcs bowl……..one game overreaction?

  9. That was an ugly, ugly game. That being said, Louisville was as amped as a team can be going into this one. I also think they’re a quality program that’s coming into its own with young players. Combine that with this being a nooner and the Louisville curse, and it’s not too surprising. I just expected us to win convincingly after slapping WVU around last week.

    I’m still hopeful for this season. If you look at the rest of our schedule, the only team that should beat us is Cincinnati. USF and Connecticut should be pretty cut and dry wins. USF hasn’t had a win over a quality opponent since Notre Dame. Pitt would be scarier to face but for the recent rash of season ending injuries to key players, namely Graham. Pitt’s domination of USF no longer seems like that big a win since USF hasn’t posted a win since. The only thing scary about USF is they did well against Cincinnati, but that could mean Cincinnati may be weaker than we think. The Cincinnati vs. WVU game should clear things up a bit.

    In any case, trying to analyze the Big East is really an exercise in futility. I have pretty high hopes for this Syracuse team going into the rest of the season though. 3-1 is more than doable. Maybe we can even win out. We’ll go to a better bowl than last year and continue to grow this program.

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