-Tremendous play call by George McDonald on the final play of the drive to get Syracuse into the end zone. Loved the throwback pass from Terrel Hunt to Josh Parris, which opened up exactly how it’s supposed to. It was a savvy bit of misdirection by a recently maligned offensive coordinator. The criticism of McDonald was deserved, but on Saturday he had a fantastic finish.
-Hunt was good enough to get the victory, and will likely be leading the Orange into a bowl game in his first season under center. Add to the fact this was under a first-year head coach, first time offensive coordinator, and facing stiffer competition than in the program’s recent past, and that’s a pretty significant accomplishment. Hunt took over after a dreadful opening two losses to PSU and Northwestern, meaning Hunt went 6-4 as a starter and helped right the ship when it was taking on water. Nice first step on his collegiate career. Getting there wasn’t always pretty. He seemed overwhelmed at times, and the offense sputtered numerous times. The defense had to play stout for SU to win at all this season. But overall, the results would’ve been far worse with Drew Allen running the show.
-Let’s see how affiliation with the ACC helps the Orange out this bowl season. The old Big East was obviously limited in its political clout and influence in the bowl season (and the rest of the college football landscape). And with 11 bowl-eligible squads but only 8 direct postseason tie-ins the ACC offices will be working hard. But being part of one of the 5 power conferences means you shouldn’t be left out in the cold with six wins during bowl season.
-Here’s the bowl possibilities: Military Bowl (Annapolis, Md.), Music City Bowl (Nashville), Independence Bowl (Shreveport, La.). Beef O’Brady’s Bowl in Tampa (Fla.), the Little Caesar’s Bowl in Detroit, the Pinstripe Bowl, the Heart of Dallas Bowl and Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego. Sounds like the Pinstripe would go with Notre Dame (and has had SU twice already in three years). To me, it doesn’t matter where SU ends up, just getting there is a solid accomplishment. But playing in San Diego, under sunny skies and warm temperatures would FEEL like the traditional bowl experience best.
-Andre Williams is one of the best RBs in the country, but he finished with just 29 yards. The SU defense, which has been the backbone of this team all season, limited a great back in a must-win game. The problem was its containment on the other weapons in the BC attack. I predicted SU would win an extremely close game, but I thought the game would be played in the 20s.But on a day when the Orange defense didn’t have its greatest game, the offense was there to pick up the slack.
-Exciting way to end the season, and the bowl game will be much-deserved reward in the first season under Shafer and in the ACC.