Syracuse Head Coach Doug Marrone said the Orange was a team that wasn’t good enough to overlook Maine. With Marrone coming out with that statement before the game one would assume the team would take heed and jump on the Black Bears of Maine early.
Not so much…
Down 14-7 with a sputtering offense in the middle of the 2nd quarter Orange nation was in a tizzy for its home opener. Maine was brought in here for a win. Up 17-14 going into the half courtesy of a very close touchdown pass to Jose Cruz on 4th and Goal, Syracuse was granted a reprieve albeit a slight one. It was enough though as Syracuse came out for the 2nd half looking like the team it was supposed to against a mediocre FCS side.
In my preview column I said the only thing that matters in this two-game FCS stretch is the win. As long as Syracuse was 3-1 going into the bye week before South Florida that is all you could ask from this side. I stand by that despite the performance early on from the Orange. Who’s going to remember being down 14-7 to Maine early if the Orange has a six or seven win season? No one that’s who. Now, if the Orange finishes 3-9 then that’s a different story. But we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it as the cliché goes.
You can only take so much from a win over Maine. It’s nice to see a good stat line from Alec Lemon and Van Chew. It’s good to see Nick Provo and Jose Cruz contribute the first game after Aaron Weaver goes down for the season with a torn ACL. But there isn’t anything definitive you should take out of their performances. There are two things you should take from this game. I told you about the start of the game earlier. You also have to come away from this game thrilled with Ryan Nassib’s performance. He’s certainly been a serviceable quarterback so far this year punctuated against Maine with five touchdowns and 260 yards through the air. The more you see him under center a perceived weakness coming into the season is becoming if not a strength, at least not the hole you thought he would be.
A game against an opponent like Maine is always tough because how excited should you actually get? A win is always nice yes. But it’s Maine. Coming away from this game you should take three things. Syracuse is far from perfect, which should be obvious. Ryan Nassib isn’t someone you should be worried about under center (though the offensive line is a different story). Most importantly, this team is 2-1.
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Written by Lutfi Sariahmed
Prince-Tyson Gulley for the win