You’ve read and will continue to read your fair share of postgame commentaries and wrap ups following Syracuse’s 29-3 win over Akron in the first game of the season. So instead of just telling you what you already know or have already read, allow me to offer you my running commentary from the game.
Pregame – Doug Marrone either looks tremendous with his visor or very uncomfortable, I haven’t quite decided.
Pregame – As is the case with every young QB in his first big start, Nassib needs to start off well otherwise Syracuse could be in trouble early.
Opening Kickoff – Prince-Tyson Gulley might have the best name in the history of names. He may do nothing this year but I’ll pay attention just because I have fun saying his name. You know you do as well.
First SU Possession – Someone needs to tell the play-by-play guy it’s pronounced Paw-lus not POW-lus. Did he watch a Duke basketball broadcast in the last 4 years?
1st Quarter 14:54 – And the first play of the new season is a handoff to Delone Carter for a few yards. Personally I bet flea flicker to Van Chew.
1st Quarter 14:54 – Broadcast team said Akron have very active linebackers. What does that mean? Their defensive line never makes any stops.
1st Quarter 14:14 – Nassib’s first pass attempt on a rollout right from the bunch formation goes for an incompletion thanks to pursuit from the Akron LB. Maybe it’s the last few years of following Syracuse football that’s turned me into an expect the worst guy but I’m just glad Nassib didn’t fumble or throw a pick.
3rd & 6 1st Quarter – And we have Nassib’s first completion over the middle to Alec Lemon to convert for the 1st down. I bring this up for a couple of reasons. When a QB is in his first year, people focus primarily on his performance and block out everything else. But Doug Marrone and the coaching staff are just as vital to his success as his own performance. Good call on the play going over the middle and picking up the 6 for the 1st down.
3rd & 3 1st Quarter 12:57 – Another 3rd down conversion and this has been the most impressive throw by Nassib in the early going. It wasn’t the prettiest sure but to check down to Antwon Bailey and get the first down shows you Nassib’s confidence in the pocket.
1st Quarter 12:01 – Nassib getting out of the sack on 1st down and completing a pass gives me good feelings all over.
1st Quarter 10:50 – How much credit could Tyrone Wheatley possibly get being the RB coach for this team?
3rd & 6 1st Quarter 10:10 – Aaron Weaver scores the first TD of the season on a slant pattern over the middle. Nassib makes the simple throw here as Weaver makes the catch in stride. The offense converts three 3rd downs on the drive and scores the touchdown. Hard to be anything but positive five minutes in.
1st Quarter 9:56 – First Akron offensive possession with QB Patrick Nicely. Am I the only one that feels odd about that name? Nicely? Really? It’s like Shaky Smithson returning punts for Utah. He fumbled on a return against Pittsburgh Thursday
1st Quarter 8:20 – This is what I mean about Nicely. He threw a ball to Jeremy LaFrance that came a yard short of the first down. I have this incredible urge to pat him on the back and say it’s ok Nicely, you’ll get them next time.
1st Quarter 8:20 – First Akron Possession – 3 plays – 8 penalties. Approximately of course.
3rd & 7 1st Quarter 7:07 – Another 3rd down conversion as Nassib is run out of the pocket and runs for the 1st. Good decision making from Nassib though it’s only the 1st quarter and he’s being forced out of the pocket a bit more than you’d like to see.
2nd & 13 1st Quarter 5:43 – Potentially huge play for Syracuse only just broken up by Akron DB. Carter had picked up the corner blitz on Nassib’s blindside beautifully and Jose Cruz was running free. So close
3rd & 13 1st Quarter 5:20 – I haven’t figured out yet whether it’s the Syracuse offensive line that’s the issue or Akron’s pressure but Nassib’s on the run too often in the 1st.
1st Quarter 4:04 – “Can’t make the club in the tub.” ESPN Broadcast team. You also can’t make broadcast television dropping lines like that on us.
1st Quarter 3:48 – Akron’s offense has been on the field for maybe 45 seconds. The Syracuse defense hasn’t had to do much.
1st Quarter 2:50 – Delone Carter has his best run of the day on an option play. It seems like Akron has said to itself, “We may lose. But it’ll be because Ryan Nassib beat us.”
1st Quarter 1:00 – Focusing on the run for their latest possession and Syracuse is forced to punt. Remember that line because you’ll probably see it every game this year. Anybody but Carter for opposing defenses.
1st Quarter 0:02 – Nicely completes a pass resulting in a 1st down showing Akron’s offense is capable of something. What specifically? Not sure yet. But something.
End of the 1st Quarter
Syracuse 7 Akron 0
Start of the 2nd Quarter – There are Marroniacs? Where can I join?
3rd & 3 2nd Quarter 13:32 – After converting on one first down, Akron falls short and here’s where you can see what Syracuse’s defense has done. It has been a sound unit overall to this point without the really flashy play necessarily.
2nd Quarter 13:16 – 47-yard completion from Ryan Nassib to Van Chew on Syracuse’s first offensive possession of the 2nd quarter. Look at that arm from Nassib…great catch too.
3rd & 5 2nd Quarter 12:05 – Again the Akron pressure comes through and this time gets to Nassib for the sack. Nassib looks confident. He’s made a few good throws and some very good decisions. But he can’t do much if you don’t protect him.
2nd Quarter 11:18 – Ryan Lichtenstein hits from 47-yds to put Syracuse up 10-0. Makes you feel good to know he has the leg if need be.
2nd Quarter 10:23 – Nicely hits the FB out of the backfield for their best play of the game….and then it gets called back for illegal formation. A personal foul penalty on Syracuse gives them the 1st down but Akron is having all sorts of issues offensively.
2nd Quarter 8:41 – Nicely steps up in the pocket and takes off when nothing develops around him and Max Suter steps up to stop him short of the 1st down. If you’re a fan of the Orange the defense will be fun to watch all year. It doesn’t look like a unit that will ever beat itself.
2nd Quarter 8:06 – Mike Holmes looks like he’s fielding punts not because he’s good at it or wants to but because Coach Marrone asked him to step up and he said yes.
2nd Quarter 7:52 – I can see the questions now. Is Delone Carter really as good as we thought he was? The answer is and will be a definitive yes. Carter will be on and off the whole season as opposing defenses dictate because you better believe if Akron’s main focus is stopping the run, so will everyone else’s.
2nd Quarter 7:06 – Add Van Chew to the list of fun names on this team. Better than Prince-Tyson Gulley? No. But fun nevertheless.
2nd Quarter 6:40 – Are you allowed to make references to the Dirty South during a broadcast? Don’t think I didn’t catch that Je’Rod Cherry.
2nd Quarter 4:37 – Love Nassib’s confidence under center. Not the biggest fan that he’s running around too often with the lack of protection from this offensive line.
2nd Quarter 4:00 – Antwon Bailey fumbles after a reception out of the backfield and recovered by Akron. It’s not great obviously but the way this Akron offense has performed I’m not too worried.
2nd Quarter 3:52 – And the first play after the turnover Syracuse comes on a jailbreak blitz seemingly and forces Nicely to throw it away.
2nd Quarter 3:40 – Syracuse blitzes Nicely twice, forcing him to throw the ball away and then an incomplete on 3rd down and the ball is going back to Syracuse. I’m pretty sure I had that one.
2nd Quarter 3:29 – With every punt I’m becoming more convinced that Mike Holmes was handed the punt return duties 10 minutes before the game.
3rd & 2 2nd Quarter 2:33 – Another 3rd down and another conversion for Nassib and the offense. It’s the KISS method and it’s brilliant in its simplicity. Hitting Aaron Weaver over the middle.
2nd Quarter 1:41 – This offensive line is going to be an issue all year if Akron is having the success the way it is. Another fumble recovery and you can’t really blame Nassib on this one.
2nd Quarter 1:39 – Akron has more penalties than yards it seems like.
2nd Quarter 1:21 – Great job by the Syracuse defense forcing Akron into a FG after the Nassib fumble. Notice how the defense is performing as well. When it needs to step up and make a play, here comes the blitz and the pressure. Fun to watch.
2nd Quarter 1:13 – Lets see what the offense does with plenty of time left, two timeouts and at their own 35. They could get three points if they push the issue.
2nd Quarter 0:06 – Van Chew with a GREAT diving catch at the end of the half for the touchdown! Forget three points, Syracuse ran the 2-minute offense to perfection with Nassib under center and a great way to go into the half. Syracuse 17 Akron 3.
End of the 1st Half
Syracuse 17 Akron 3
Quick Observations –
Ryan Nassib’s 1st Half line – 11 of 18 for 171 yards and 2 TDs. Can’t do much better than that.
Nassib looks like Ryan Phillippe. I have yet to decide whether that’s a good thing.
This defense has been a lot of fun to watch.
Mike Holmes has been terrifying to watch field punts.
3rd Quarter 14:51 – 2nd verse same as the first. The Syracuse defense gets after Alex Allen after the handoff for a big loss to force 2nd & 23 on Akron’s first offensive play in the 2nd half.
3rd Quarter 13:40 – 3 plays, 2 incompletions, 1 big loss on a run and Syracuse is getting the ball back.
3rd Quarter 13:31 – Mike Holmes didn’t botch a punt return!
3rd Quarter 13:12 – Syracuse is having the most success in the run game off trickery and gimmick plays and that’s not a bad thing. You need to be able to mix both the run and pass up and when the run isn’t working you have to figure out ways to get it going.
3rd Quarter 11:53 – Another first this season for Ryan Nassib, his first INT. I’m not worried about what Akron’s going to do offensively. They’ve looked inept. But for Nassib, that’s a throw he won’t make when the season goes on. The LB baited him on that throw and with more experience Nassib will know to look elsewhere.
3rd Quarter 10:50 – Akron now 0 for 8 on 3rd downs. Syracuse came from the edges on the line on a rush and the coverage was tight behind them. This unit is going to keep Syracuse in every game the whole year.
3rd Quarter 10:39 – Somebody put Prince-Tyson Gulley back there on punts please. Mike Holmes seems doomed ot have something go wrong for him back there consistently.
3rd Quarter 9:12 – Rob Long with a 71-yard punt. In other news Rob Long has been signed by AC Milan. One of those statements isn’t true.
3rd Quarter 7:41 – Alex Allen with the best play for Akron on the offensive side running off the left tackle. What’s the saying? Even a blind squirrel finds a nut?
3rd Quarter 4:50 – Mike Holmes with a positive moment! The Orange get a great hold by the defense after the Allen run. Three plays and 8 yards including a stop on a run right on a 3rd and 2. Then the blocked FG attempt returned for 6 by Mike Holmes. Syracuse 23 Akron 3.
3rd Quarter 4:00 – Akron on offense and Derrell Smith comes through clean off the edge on a rush nearly getting the sack. That’s one of the few plays in football that are great to watch. If you’re a fan of the offensive side you’re screaming, “Look out!” If you’re on defense you’re saying, “Get him!”
3rd Quarter 2:53 – Mike Holmes looks like he has no concept of where the ball is going to land on the punts and has no clue where to field it.
End of the 3rd Quarter – Syracuse 23 Akron 3. It was a quarter for the Syracuse defense to shine. The Mike Holmes blocked FG returned for a TD, the rushes from the front 7, the defensive back playing well in coverage. Nothing to write home about on the other side of the ball but defensively this team is going to really have some great moments all year.
4th Quarter 14:17 – Akron putting a bit of a drive here offensively for the first time all game. Even with a 20 point lead against Akron, this defense can’t afford to lift their foot off the gas much, if ever this year.
4th Quarter 13:10 – Akron with 106 yards of total offense going into the quarter. That’s not good.
4th Quarter 12:00 – Two minutes after saying Akron was putting together a good drive, Syracuse puts the clamps down to force a punt. Also of note, Mike Holmes gets out of the way of a punt and lets it go into the end zone for a touchback. Well done sir.
4th Quarter 10:21 – I haven’t made many mentions of Nassib and the offense here in the 2nd half because there hasn’t been much to talk about. But Nassib just made another great decision throwing the ball down the field to a wide open Van Chew. The pass was incomplete but a pass interference call gives Syracuse a new set of downs.
4th Quarter 8:37 – Nassib with another nice throw off play-action to Nick Provo for a big gainer. His experience and confidence will make this season a lot different than it would be normally if Nassib were your regular first year QB.
4th Quarter 7:50 – Touchdown Syracuse! Delone Carter goes around the right side with a dive forward to put Syracuse up 29-3 in the 4th quarter. He hasn’t had the best game numbers wise but it’s a solid performance on the whole. Remember too, if you’re going to get performances like that out of Ryan Nassib all season, you may not need much more than this from Carter.
4th Quarter 7:50 – I’m relatively certain you or I could do a better job kicking the PAT. 2 missed so far in this game.
4th Quarter 7:02 – Mike Holmes fielded a punt cleanly on a fair catch. We need to document these moments.
4th Quarter 4:32 – Rob Long with a punt of 59 yards. In other news Manchester City has come in to try and outbid AC Milan for Long’s services.
4th Quarter 0:39 – Who knew Ryan Nassib had some wheels?
Syracuse 29 Akron 3
You can’t ask for much more out of Syracuse in its first game of the season. Ryan Nassib looked great under center when he had protection. The run game will always be there for Nassib to fall back on. Van Chew and Alec Lemon are very capable receivers and Jose Cruz, Aaron Weaver and even Nick Provo provide options for Nassib in the passing game out of the secondary. The only worry like I said before is that offensive line. Too many times Nassib was on the run and this is against Akron. It’s only going to get tougher from here save for Maine and Colgate. On the defensive side this unit will keep the team in games all season. It played sound football on all three levels and can get after the ball when the situation calls for it. One down. Five to go for the Marroniacs.
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Written by Lutfi Sariahmed
Prince-Tyson Gulley for the win