Week 6 Fizz Five: Who Deserves Most of the Blame for Another SU Loss?

The Fizz brings you the five biggest reasons SU lost yet again Saturday.

Mel Evans/AP

Syracuse fans are sick of watching their team succeed in many areas, yet still find a way to lose. SU out gained Rutgers by nearly 200 yards and totaled 11 more 1st downs. Saturday’s 23-15 loss to the #20 Scarlet Knights saw the Orange turn the ball over four times and commit miscue after miscue en route to its worst start (2-4) since Doug Marrone’s first year as head coach.

Watching from the press box, Marrone was as frustrated as he’s ever been pacing the sidelines yesterday. Here’s this week’s Fizz Five, the most critical elements of yesterday’s crushing loss.

  • Turnovers, Turnovers, Turnovers haunt SU… again.

It’s really simple. There is one reason why Syracuse lost yesterday, and it’s by not taking care of the football. You cannot commit four turnovers, and have a field goal blocked and taken back for a touchdown, and turn the ball over on downs, and expect to win. SU still had a chance to tie this one up in the final few minutes – twice – but that is Rutgers football. The Knights don’t need to score a lot of points because they play smashmouth defense and force their opponents to make mistakes. Kyle Flood could’ve unleashed Gary Nova at any point in this game, but he plays conservative. All four of the turnovers were in the second half, and Ryan Nassib was responsible for three.

You cannot “outplay” an opponent by committing four TO’s, having a field goal blocked, not scoring in the redzone, etc. Throw the stats out the window, if SU outplayed Rutgers then we’re in for a rocky second half of the season. It was a raucous atmosphere at HP Solutions Stadium, but this many mistakes in a single game at this point in the season is unacceptable.

  • This is Not Solely on Nassib.

Everyone was pointing the finger at the fifth year senior after his three turnovers, but this game does not fall only on his shoulders. That was a game changing blocked field goal in the third quarter that Duron Harmon took back for six. Nassib is not responsible for Steven Rene’s fumble (that apparently wasn’t) which Rutgers eventually converted for a score. Nassib looked more uncomfortable than he’s been all season, but this is the league’s top defense and one of the nation’s best. RU is third in the country with 12 interceptions. This Knights squad was going to force turnovers. The play calling didn’t help the quarterback, and there’s not better option than Ryan right now. Where are all the Nassib-lovers from the Northwestern game a few weeks ago? There were plenty of game-defining mistakes in this ballgame that are not all on the QB.

  • Marrone Has Hit His Boiling Point.

And rightfully so. It seems like the Marrone “snap-o-meter” is getting pushed closer to the brink after each game. The Dougie was fuming on the sideline throughout, and after the blocked field goal, ripped off his headset and visor and slammed it to the ground. After the game, HCDM was just as frustrated by the turnovers and mistakes.

“I get surprised at every mistake. If I’m going to stand here and say I’m not surprised by a mistake, then I’m a shitty coach.”

You can see the sheer irritation on his face. He knows this team is capable of a lot more. He did not do his patented “it’s on me” routine after this loss, but if Marrone puts the blame on himself, and his players don’t take accountability, he cold be undermining his own future. This team is 2-4. There have not been many things to hang your hat on. The players have to perform, and the turnovers are no exception. We need to see more discipline out there, and that starts with the head coach.

  • The Second Half is Where The Game Was Won.

Whatever was said in that SU locker room at halftime didn’t work. The second half was supposedly SU’s “golden half” this year, and immediately the Orange came up empty. It started with a blocked field goal by Jamal Merrill (yes, that same Jamal Merrill from a year ago), and ended with a few Nassib interceptions. As ugly as the first half was, as difficult as it was for Syracuse to move the football in the first half, the Orange was in a 7-7 game. With a defense sticking it to the Knights on the road, there needed to be more energy and intensity coming out of that locker room. The Orange had seven possessions in the second half. This is how they ended:

1)   Krautman’s blocked field goal returned for an RU touchdown

2)   Nassib fumble

3)   Punt after a penalty forces SU 3 and out

4)   Nassib interception

5)   Turnover on downs at the RU 3 after 8 straight goal to go plays

6)   Chris Clark Touchdown

7)   Another Nassib interception

And don’t forget Steven Rene’s fumble to begin the third quarter. Just let that sink in for a moment. Coming out and playing that lackluster in the second half is not going to get it done against anyone. Syracuse needed big plays to jolt its drives against one of the nation’s best defenses. In both of the touchdown drives, there were plays of 20 yards or more.

  • Finish Drives!

And this is where the play-calling comes in. How could we forget ‘ol Nate Hackett? Syracuse was inside the Rutgers 25 yard line 5 times yesterday afternoon and came up with just one score. Penalties and vicious sacks killed SU drives in the first half. But there were a ton of strange play calls. Down early to start the second quarter, Nassib had his helmet knocked off after a big sack. Due to NCAA regulations he was forced out for a play, and in came Charley Loeb for a long 3rd down barely in field goal range. He ran a conservative draw up the middle. Why not let him throw it deep? Or at least bring in Ashton Broyld for a snap and put his athleticism to the test.

There were many frustrating series, but none worse than the eight straight goal-to-go plays midway through the fourth quarter where SU came up with absolutely nothing. Wasn’t that Tank package created for a reason? Instead, Hackett called for two nearly identical pass patterns from the two yard line. Nada. It’s like Hackett is outthinking himself. For a second straight week, this defense played well holding RB Juwan Jamison to just 64 yards on 28 carries. This time they weren’t bailed out.

Posted: Kevin Fitzgerald

39 Comments on this Post

  1. Cuse don't luse

    Tough weekend first this then the gf

  2. Cuse don't luse

    I lost both

  3. RETIRE HCDM/dougie!!!! PLEASE!! For the good of the SU Football program!!!

  4. our offense needs to step up in a big way. score some points..

  5. This team has so much potential… I would really enjoy a nice run here to end the season. C’mon boys!

  6. It appears that Scott Schafer still has the defense playing very hard and focused – DM has to sit down and absorb what Schafer is doing on defense and bring that same coaching philosophy over to the O and Special Teams. Hackett has lost this Offense – they have not confidence or trust in him anymore; they need to have someone coaching that Offense who can fire it up like Schafer does on Defense.

  7. The offensive line did not do a great job either! Sloppy, very sloppy. My pop warner team was better than they were!

  8. P. Jones

    Turnovers and penalties are due to lack of discipline from the coaching staff .They are 2 things that coaching can correct . No more excuses . Players will correct those when they are drilled in how to , by the coaching staff .

    It almost appears as if the fundementals have been gone over quickly and forgotten.
    But looking at the remaining schedule , and how SU is currently playing …. we’re in big trouble .

    But i still pull for them every week , and do believe in the talent on this team 100% , and they are fully capable of turning the corner . But it takes great coaching and great playing , as one unit .

    Best of luck guys , you can do it !

  9. Fact that we think we should have one speaks to great job HCDM has done. As we did not close deal shows there is work to be done shows that he needs more time and support. We were not outclassed and that is most important thing program in turnaround net to the obvious win. GRob team would have been blown out. Now we look like a team that can win. Fans need to be patient.

  10. Hey guys maybe it’s time for Marrone to take over the play calling and fire Hackett Asap Since he has taken over the play calling Su has a total of 7 wins since 2011. When Marrone was calling plays Su went to a Bowl and won.

  11. Section 129 Smitty

    Some questions deserve answers as the fan base is also getting irritable as well. Who is actually calling the plays on the goaline, Marrone or Hackett. Why is Rene still returnig kickoffs and punts, but I assume once Kobena returns that will end. Why have we not seen Ashton Broyld in two games, if its because ofthe fumble in the Minnesota game then Nassib should be benched for all his fumbles. Nassib has very good stats and has a great arm but he fails to make plays.He has no pocket prescence and fumbles almost all the time he gets hit. I went to the spring game and to be honest I would like to see T. Hunt get a chance he looked good. I’m not giving up on this team as like most I think this team looks very good for 90% of the game and horrendous for the other %10. They need to find a way to learn how to win, somehow somewhere, no mre excuses. I like that Marrone is fired up.

  12. Russell MacEachern

    We look to be so close but shoot ourselves in the foot on offense at critical times!I think Marrone has improved the team talent enough to get another yr!!The D already looks to be top 25 quality but we need some bigtime O-line help and playmakers in recruiting class!Uconn’s HC P’s job is on the line so we can’t lose faith this week the team needs our support!Were still alive for a pinstripe bid w/Uconn,Temple,USF and Mizzou all beatable!”Go Cuse”

  13. Russell MacEachern

    Smitty129,ur right about our fanbase…losing makes us all grumpy and irritable and the bickering will tear us apart like a cancer!!I know its not been fun to come to the site since were losing but if we lose faith so will the kids!We’ll win this week and rise above this black cloud!!”Go Orange”

  14. OrangeCrush27

    first off great story fizz…

    Both AJ and Smitty hit the nail on the head with their posts as well…DM has to start answering questions. This fan base is sick of 7 out of 8 years of mistake driven football.

    I like DM as I have stated in previous posts, but Hackett is awful.

    IMO we dont have enough top tier athletes to run a pro-style offense. The line does not give Nassib the time he needs to dissect a defense like he did to WV last year. When he feels pressure he clams up. We need to get our underclassman game experience at QB before they hit the ACC next year. They need to see a few plays per game.

    The ‘Cuse fan base isnt necessarily looking for a national “SEC-Caliber” contending football team (it would be nice), but just some relevance nationally like we were with McNabb and company.

  15. I can’t blame Marrone for turnovers if the kids can’t hang onto the damn ball it’s the kids fault penalties I agree with however.

  16. Kevin Fitzgerald

    Section 129:
    I think you a couple key points on the head. Rene should not be returning kicks. You don’t keep putting the same crew out there if they aren’t getting results. You have a roster full of athletes. Try them…like you said, Kobena when he gets back, PTG, Morgan, jeez even throw the speedy Chris Clark back there. And I’ll be the first to say that whether Ashton Broyld sees the field or not will NOT decide if this team wins or losses. But it could be a difference maker. You have to at least throw him out there

    I am a little disappointed by all the Nassib talk. Ryan is the man for this offense. Don’t look at just one game and say he has no pocket presence, and can’t scramble. You can’t look at just this game. He was given ZERO time in the pocket v. Rutgers. We know he’s not the most mobile passer. So when he goes up against a stout Knights front that is, to an extent, just physically superior, you can’t bring all that talk out now. Nassib is the man for this team right now.

    If turnovers aren’t on a coach, then I don’t think a coach would ever get fired. It’s discipline, and when you see a continued trend of turnovers both player and coach are accountable.

    UConn and USF next up for SU…easy road back to .500? What you guys think?

  17. Well, why don’t Russell and Ron go back and read their posts from last week…. We need mistake free football, not this garbage. DM has to go. He was an interesting Big East/ Northeast experiment. He failed! The ACC is way bigger than him….Let’s start with a clean slate and a team of coaches that can make it on a National stage.
    For Russell and Ron, maybe you will keep your childish garbage at home were it belongs!

  18. @Cuse17, Some fun facts about the BE and ACC this yr.

    “The Big East has more undefeated teams than The ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12.

    The Big East has more ranked teams than the ACC and Big Ten.

    The Big East has gone 4-3 against the ACC in head-to-head matchups, and has moved ahead of its rival league in the ESPN Stats & Information conference power rankings.”-ESPN

    So whats that about ACC WAY BIGGER? Hey look it be nice to see this team not shoot its self in the foot. Its been frustrating fosure though. Lets see if we get back to 4-4. Good chance we do. Also if u wanna call for the coaches head cool but who u gonna bring in? Any idea’s? If petrino is ur idea u might as well not responded. I’ll give ya a name frank solich.

  19. Russell MacEachern

    @Cuse or Loose17,I thought the education I gave u last week would have taught u a lesson u clown!!Go back to the crib u crawled out of!!Your not worth my time or any real fans time!!Ron forgot more than you’ll ever know….I see u never responded to [email protected],thanks for the backup,I schooled him last week and now that were down the troll is back!!Mr ACC,namedropper….I used to sleep in the same school as Larry Czonka..lol..what a clown!!if or when we get to 4-4 will he be back?NO!!He thrives in misery!!btw the BE is rated higher than the B1G and the ACC per ESPin “Mr Lose17”!!

  20. Russell MacEachern

    @Carlton,this guy is no fan …he’s obsessed with himself more than us fans or Cuse’s success…Heck,the BE ain’t no juggernaut but it can compete top to bottom w/almost everybody…yea we know …no Alabama’s or Oklahoma’s but after a few schools “factorys” paritys everywhere!!Thanks again friend!..any fantasy luck?I eked a win this week now Im 4-2!!

  21. Russell MacEachern

    btw Carlton,Im still not 100% convinced we should fire HC yet but Solich is a good,solid man at the front of the line….great Ohio and W.Pennsy recruiter too!!His name brings or equates with thoughts of solid,honest and winner!!Im gonna see if we can make something out of this season yet…we feel SO close!?!

  22. Kevin Fitzgerald

    It’s been said too many times, but who are you hiring? If Marrone goes, who steps in? Quite frankly I wouldn’t even know either. Mainly because it’s not his time to go.

    I don’t think those stats are relevant. It looks nice and all, but here are some of Rut/Ville/Cincy’s quality “wins”:

    FIU, Missouri State, Southern Miss, Howard, Tulane, Delaware St, Miami of Ohio, Fordham

    Those 3 teams are combined 17-0 and half their wins are against terrible teams.

    The ACC is way bigger, so we can;t keep playing the Big East pity card. This conference will be a cesspool next season of mediocre schools.

  23. @Cuse17;well well well, I see the idiots are starting to come to the fore! I love responding to people like you. Do you want to know why? You show us your damn stupidity when you make a post stating that Coach Marrone is a Big East/Northeast Experiment. I think that you need to go some where in private and get your damn brains straightened out. TELL ME AND ALL OF THE REST WHO POST HERE MAN,PLEASE TELL ME WHERE ON THIS EARTH HAVE YOU EVER,EVER WATCHED A MISTAKE FREE FOOTBALL GAME. BECAUSE YOU KNOW MOST OF WHO KNOW THE GAME HAVE NEVER SEEN ONE. So go ahead and show us some more of your stupidity you ignorant SOB. You actually think that the ACC is bigger than Coach Marrone? When did you pull that statement out of your ass?

    I don’t think Syracuse will take long at all reaching the ACC Championship Game in Football. I also think that they’re in the toughest(Atlantic) division and will have their hands full competing. But rest assured they will be competitive and when that happens start swallowing the S**t that your trying to spread here.

    I want to ask how old you are? You called Russell and I children,I accept that premise, “we are children” and the both of us being such,have forgotten more than you’ll ever know.

    So I don’t know where you came from,I guess the SEC or maybe the ACC territory, where ever it is go back there fool,only people who have a brain and post intelligent comments are welcomed here.

  24. @Russell MacEachern; was my response good enough? Can you see why I get so dis spirited?

    Fools, complete idiots like Cuse17 just get me upset a little.

  25. If you all think Syracuse has problems with it’s coach I want to add this tidbit.

    University of Texas athletics dept. generates $196 million annually,pays it’s head football coach Mac Brown $5 million a year. Because he’s lost the last two years to the Oklahoma Sooners in the “Red River Rivalry”,this year by being out scored 63-7. The fans want him gone,FIRED. No one is safe,no one.

  26. Kevin Fitzgerald

    Ok guys,

    No more demeaning, or malicious posts…we want good clean debates and arguments on the Fizz comment sections, not smack talk. We want ALL our readers to feel like they can contribute to the comments.

    No more or we’ll put you guys on probation, haha! Can we all agree on that?

  27. @Kevin Fitzgerald;so you think that I was a little to straight forward and over the line in my response to “Cuse17”.

    I really thought that I was gentle in my response to him.

    Not to worry,it’s all coming to a close for me anyways.

    If your team is monitoring all post that come in and saying your going to put us on probation,what does that mean exactly?

    Can you block me from posting and giving my response to guy’s like “Cuse17”?

    If you can do that,knowing that this site has loyal Syracuse Fans,then why not keep people like him off of this site?

  28. Russell MacEachern

    Kevin,u forgot Ark,VT twice and everyone including us on their schedule!!We “BE” can only do our share and we haven’t done ours!Why back the troll?Carltons a GOOD fan!!

  29. Russell MacEachern

    Ron,Kevin is trying to be fair but I think we were easy on him!!I’ve been avoiding the site Ive been so depressed lately!!If not for U,Dipper,Carlton and a couple others I would’nt be here now!!Keep the faith Pal!!

  30. @Kevin Fitzgerald;First let me say that I’m not a person who believes in political correctness. I’ve also told everyone that when things started to get nasty on this web site that I could get just as nasty or even nastier than most.
    Russell and I have always asked for and maintained civility to one another while making their opinions known to us. Your asking us to be more respectful to one another. I can understand your asking that of us but let me say that I don’t really think that I was to awful hard on Cuse17. It could have been harder.

    I want to bring this sad issue to rest. I apologize to the FIZZ for bringing some unwanted notoriety to this web site. As far as Cuse17 goes,all he needs to do is fade away and never come back. If he does that then I promise I will be good when responding to idiots who post here for the remainder of the year.

  31. @Russell MacEachern;if you don’t mind me asking you,how did you make out at the doctor’s the other day? You mentioned that you needed a operation,is it a major or minor operation that you need? Will you be in the hospital for any length of time? I know it’s none of my business,just wanting to know if I needed to make a trip to Albany for a visit?

  32. Russell MacEachern

    Ron,the more people try to denigrate and kill the BE the more I root for them as the “last hard men”….every couple yrs they gash us and thru reinvention it keeps rising like a phoenix from the ashes but if they ever rob the big NY/NJ/Philly media market team it would be the death knell…if RU is stolen by 1 of the big 4 I don’t think eastern football could recover and their xcellent hs football would also suffer….hs football is already dead in N.England and suffering upstate…BC plays in a football desert outside of pro (PATS),UConn’s hanging on with downstate and NJ kids who rarely consider BC anymore they’d rather go to Temple!!…if only Dougie could get 3/4 three star kids from Jersey to supplement NYC and Fla/Ga kids he could salvage a big oppurtunity otherwise I fear for eastern football…WE NEED a big WIN against UConn…”I never thought UConn would be a big W” altho their D is always stout!!

  33. Russell MacEachern

    As mediocre as UConn appears I believe their better than Minny,Pitt,SB and equal to NW most yrs if NFL talent can be an indicator…heck,did’nt they just beat S.Carolina 20-6 in a bowl in “10”?And ND at the golden dome that same yr?And that was w/a shi**y coach..RE..!!coach P is really gonna want to shove it too us this yr!!and his job is already on the [email protected],ND will be in the NC game if they can beat Okie!!

  34. Russell MacEachern

    Ron,not real major,..sort of in the middle but I won’t be staying overnight in the hospital,I’ll be released to my nephew and staying in NJ for a week to recover!!I’ll keep u posted,thanks for the concern!

  35. Russell MacEachern

    Ron,I was surprised Fitz was monitering our posts so closely?I no they occasionally keep an eye on them I was just shocked by his lack of respect for our current conference that WE started and sugarcoating the ACC that even espin admits sunk to below BE depths along w/the B1G!!talk about over rated outside of FSU?

  36. @Russell MacEachern;I believe Syracuse will do alright in the ACC. I don’t think that they will have the success early on that Virginia Tech and Miami had when both schools first joined the league by becoming league champions over the first 4/5 years after membership.
    However,basketball will be a different story. I’m looking for Syracuse to be ACC Champions within the first 2/3 years of entering the league. I believe that North Carolina and Duke are starting to realize the impact Syracuse,Pittsburgh and ND will have on the league. They should be worried. I think the women’s basketball team will thrive. The softball,field hockey and lacrosse teams will all be fine and possibly win league championships.
    I have to get ready for our tailgate party tomorrow. I’ve invited a couple of students that I’ve befriended to the party. One student is from England and the other is from Sweden. Both are great kids. We’re having a fish fry with shrimp french fries and coleslaw salad. Should be enough to fill the belly before the game.

    Russell,I hope that everything goes well for you after having the operation. Good luck and hope you have a speedy recovery.

    After reading Kevins response to my post,and after using the word “probation” in it I kinda was wondering if they were going to bring pressure by using the CENSORSHIP tactic on everyone and viloating their freedom of speech rights.

    Have a good day Russell,I have as lot of work to do.

  37. Kevin Fitzgerald

    Haha, Don’t worry Ron, the probation was just a joke. Just want everyone to feel they can jump into the Fizz conversations! It’s fun interacting and talking with all of you.

  38. @Kevin Fitzgerald;thanks for clearing that up Kevin. On occasion I have gotten pretty damn nasty when responding to a person who tells me that I’m full of s**t.
    Just letting you know that I thought I handed my response appropriately and never felt I stepped over the line.

    People like Russel,Carlton and I have championed everyone to be civil here. I wish everyone else would respect that and I also know that that’s damn near impossible in today’s world.

  39. He is respectful to his elders.There is a mark of ink on his shirt.Where do you want to meet? Did you know he was having an affaircheating on his wife?Don’t cry over spilt milk.What he likes best is making jokes.Brevity is the soul of wit.Will you please try to find out for me what time the train arrives? You mustn’t aim too high.As a matter of fact, he was pretending to be ill.

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