By now, you have probably heard the story. When Doug Marrone was selected as Syracuse football head coach in December 2008, he was taking the reigns of a program that had won 10 games in the last four years. Two years later, Marrone’s team got a chance to play on the field of Yankee Stadium. The story feel-good story’s happy ending is not simply that the Orange played in a bowl. His team won.
I was fortunate enough to sit in the nosebleed section to witness a great bowl game and the Dream that Doug Built coming true.
2:42: I am walking into Yankee Stadium in a sea of Uggs, leggings, Northface jackets, orange (yes, I am wearing all of the above), and snow. Am I at SU again?
2:51: Someone other than Bob Shepherd’s taped voice says, “Welcome to Yankee Stadium.” Weird.
3:07: The Syracuse marching band is on the field. For the 5 billionth time, they are
referred to as “New York’s College Band.” I understand this is all for recruiting purposes. It’s way better to use the backdrop New York City as a selling point during recruiting than snowy Syracuse (although apparently it snows in NYC, too!). Still, I wish we could just stop the madness. Yes, there are a ton of SU alums in New York City but really; NYC is not a college town. Ask anyone at New Meadowlands Stadium what the ticket sales are for college football games and they will tell you they are pretty low. People care about pro sports, not college, in NYC. This includes you, Rutgers and Syracuse. That being said, the 38,000+ that piled into Yankee Stadium were mostly wearing orange (and Northface jackets, leggings, and Uggs).
3:09: Even though the Yankees aren’t playing, beer at the Stadium is still $9. Someone should tell the vendor that wearing a button that says, “Beer: $9” is bad enough for his sales without him screaming, “ICE COLD BEER HERE!” in freezing cold weather. Just sayin’.
3:19: Kansas State does this weirdest pregame dance since Remember the Titans. They are showered by boos.
3:22: Yankee President Randy Levine is on the field for the coin toss. Please do not put him within five feet of a microphone. Between his creepy dreams about Andy Pettite and his numerous PR faux pas during the Jeter negotiations, he has been insufferable this season. Rob Long is also on the field for the toss. It was definitely good to see him there. He has meant a ton to the program over the years, and it is a shame he was unable to play in the game. He’s got bigger battles to fight though and I wish him the best.
3:25: Well, that was quick. Less than 30 seconds into the game, Daniel Thomas runs it 51-yards into the end zone. Yikes. PAT is good. 7-0 Wildcats.
3:28: I was thisclose to getting on the jumbotron. The camera was just a few rows away. I guess my dreams of getting on the big screen will have to wait.
3:29: Ryan Nassib has nowhere to go on 4th and 4. He scrambles and picks up two. Time to punt….
3:30: Time to make it 13-0.Ty Zimmerman runs it into the end zone. There is a flat on the play though.
3:31: It’s a blocking foul on K-State. No touchdown and a 10-yard penalty from the spot of the foul. Hopefully Syracuse can take advantage of the second chance and buckle down.
3:32: Another dream is dashed. The winner of the seat upgrade challenge is sitting in section 425, row 15, seat 20. My seat? Section 425, row 10, seat 2. In the past four minutes, I have just missed out on getting on the jumbotron and a seat upgrade. This does not bode well for SU.
3:35: The defense forces a 3 and out. A couple of typical Syracuse fans show up. They are late, drunk, confused, and wearing sunglasses even though the sun is setting. One of them works at Lucy’s. This explains everything.
3:36: Ahh my eyes! Benjamin Moore has a commercial featuring a fat, shirtless guy with his pinstripes painted on his unfortunately exposed stomach dancing around. I’m scarred for life.
3:37: A guy in a Rutgers jersey is shown on the jumbotron. Hey buddy, your team isn’t bowling this year! You’re welcome!
3:38: A guy with a Dynasty t-shirt walks in. Those were never cool.
3:40: My friend Flugz is wracking his brain trying to figure out the last time he saw Syracuse win in person.
3:44: Delone Carter picks up a first down on 3rd and 1. The ‘Cuse is putting together a good drive with 6:58 left in the 1st quarter.
3:46: It ends poorly. Marrone goes for it on 4th and 9 from the KSU 33. Nassib is sacked. He definitely should have kicked the field goal. FYI, Syracuse has yet to complete a pass to a wide receiver and this game is about 10 minutes old.
3:52: The Syracuse defense remains solid. 3 and out for the Wildcats.
3:52: DC3 is a human plow! To say he fought his way to the 48- yard line is an understatement.
3:53: Nassib airs it out to Marcus Sales! TOUCHDOWN ORANGE! The 52-yard bomb has the crowd in a frenzy! The PAT is good. 7-7. Wow.
4:10: 13:53 left in the 2nd quarter. K-State’s Josh Cherry’s 38-yard field goal attempt goes wide right. Still tied at 7.
4:14: Nassib scrambles and slides on 3rd and 6 to pick up a first down.
4:16: Nassib to Sales for a 22-yard touchdown! New game plan: Throw it to Sales. 14-7 SU.
4:26: There should be a limit on the number of times people are allowed to get up for food/drinks/bathroom breaks. The lady next to us has already gotten up three times and just got back up to get milk for her coffee. Unless beer is involved, this is unacceptable.
4:31: A NASTY hit by Phillip Thomas results in a 15-yard penalty against the Orange. At least the crowd loved it.
4:33: Snow is falling off Yankee Stadium and into people’s laps. It’s okay, we’re Syracuse fans. We’re used to it.
4:39: Doug Hogue makes a good tackle on 2nd down. It’s 3rd and 10 at the Syracuse 26. Make a stop and force a field goal.
4:40: Carson Coffman completes the 16-yard pass to Aubrey Quarles for a 1st down.
4:40: Daniel Thomas runs it 10-yards to the end zone. The PAT is good. 14-14 with 1:51 to go in the half.
4:48: On 3rd and 18, Nassib scrambles 13 yards and slides headfirst. Party foul. They don’t like that in football or basketball. 4th and 5.
4:49: Nassib can’t hit Sales on 4th and 5. SU turns it over on downs with 29 seconds left in the half.
5:02: The cast of the Rock of Ages is performing at the half time show. One of the guys hit a note that I don’t think Mariah Carey could hit during her “Emotions” days.
5:03: Now they’re singing “Don’t Stop Believin’.” Is this what Glee is like?
5:15-Delone Carter has taken over. For the fourth time on Syracuse’s opening drive of the 2nd half, he gets the ball. It’s the fourth play of the drive. 2nd and 5 from the KSU 30.
5:18: DC3 runs it seven yards for a touchdown. The drive featured seven plays for 60 yards. All of them were on the ground. 21-14 SU.
5:27: I think the annoying milk lady left. Too bad some girls now feel the need to keep getting up.
5:31: Good defense forces a Wildcats 3rd and 9 at the Syracuse 10, but on the next play Coffman completes a pass to Chris Harper. 21-21 K-State.
5:35: A Kansas State fan is standing and cheering. Someone screams, “THIS ISN’T KANSAS ANYMORE!” It took three whole hours for that to happen. Anyone who took the over on that wins a prize. Also, anyone who took the over on this game? Don’t blow all your winnings on extra drinks on New Year’s Eve.
5:41: I want soup.
5:44: Carter rushes 15-yards for a touchdown. Krautman shows he is a mortal after all and misses the PAT. 27-21 SU. You have to hope that this does not end up costing Syracuse. Krautman has had a break out freshman season.
5:49: Another flea-flicker! Thomas hits a wide-open Adrian Hilburn for a 30-yard completion. Someone missed an assignment. 1st and 10 at the ‘Cuse 16.
5:51: Apparently, George Steinbrenner is still giving orders from the grave. “God Bless America” is sung before the 4th quarter begins.
5:55: K-State is going for it on 4th and 2. Syracuse fans are going nuts. It’s too loud for the Wildcats. They call a time out.
5:59: After the TO, Kansas State picks up a first down. Syracuse makes two big stops on 2nd and goal and 3rd and goal. On 4th and inches, Harper catches the ball in the end zone. 28-27 Wildcats after the PAT.
6:06: It’s the flea-flicker bowl! Nassib airs it out to Sales AGAIN! 44-yards and a touchdown! The two-point conversion is no good, but the ‘Cuse faithful is going wild and singing the “Hey Song” anyway. 33-28 Syracuse win 7:52 left in the Pinstripe Bowl. Syracuse scored 46 points in its last four games of the season. The Orange has scored 33 today. Hello, offense!
6:12: There are two Ford commercials on the jumbotron and small screens. Jeter’s is on the small screen and on mute while the Ford Escape commercial is on the jumbotron with full sound. This reeks of Randy Levine.
6:14: Dear Section 425 Row 10, STAY IN YOUR SEATS! Regards, People who want to watch the game.
6:15: I’m in the mood to write another letter. It’s the holiday season, after all. Dear Bill Snyder, You are not Mark Dantonio. Regards, Syracuse fans. The fake field goal fail on 4th and 5 on the Syracuse 11 forces K-State to turn it over on downs.
6:18: DELONE CARTER EVERYBODY!!!! DC3 runs it 60 yards to the K-State 26. 1st and 10!
6:26: Sales can’t catch everything. Antwon Bailey’s pass to the Syracuse native is incomplete. Here comes Krautman to kick the FG.
6:26: The missed PAT didn’t rattle him. The 39-yarder is good. 36-28 Syracuse with 3:06 left. There’s still plenty of time, but the Wildcats need a touchdown and two- point conversion just to tie it up.
6:31: K-State converts on 4th and 2. Nothing is easy with Orange football, is it? COME ON GUYS!
6:32: Touchdown K-State. Ugh Ugh Ugh.
And now, my stream of conscious for the next 30 seconds:
Wait…there’s a flag. Please be on K-State. Please take away the touchdown.
Wow…it doesn’t take away the touchdown, but it’s a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct against Hilburn. All he did was salute. It’s a far cry from Chad Ochocinco and I don’t think it was the right time to make that kind of call, but what the heck, I’ll take it! Now K-State has to go 18 yards for the two- point conversion.
6:34: No good! No good! K-State’s cheerleaders embarrass themselves by waving flags in the end zone. Hey guys, you’re down 36-34 with 1:13 left in the game.
A lot of the focus has been on the unsportsmanlike call. While I thought it was a lame call to make in that situation (albeit the official was probably following the letter of the law), I still think Syracuse would have won. Two-point conversions aren’t easy and that would have tied the game, not won it. The call did not lose the game for K-State. And hey, if Snyder just kicked that field goal on 4th and 5, it would not have mattered (which he admitted after).
6:36: The onside kick does not go 10 yards. 1st down SU! Cue the victory formation!
6:38: Doug Marrone gets a well-deserved bath. In his introductory press conference two
years ago, Marrone made it clear he wanted to revive the struggling Syracuse program—a program that was special to him because he once donned the Orange in the 1980’s. He sounded hopeful but foolish. No one is laughing now. Syracuse is about to win a bowl game. SYRACUSE IS ABOUT TO WIN A BOWL GAME!
6:39: It’s over! Syracuse wins 36-34. Wow. Wow wow wow.
6:43: Daryl Gross to Doug Marrone, “Thank you for saving my job! <Turns to Hal Steinbrenner>” “So Hal, any openings?” Nancy Cantor, “Daryl, why aren’t you paying attention to meeeeeeee? Hey, anyone know anyone from Harvard? Do they have any openings?”
6:44: “I thank these players for making a simple kid from the Bronx’s dream come true.”—Doug Marrone while clutching the George M. Steinbrenner III trophy.
6:46: Ironically, Delone Carter makes his way through the snow to pick up his MVP trophy. Carter had 198 yards on 27 carries and moved into third place on SU’s all time career rushing yards list (3, 104 yards). He passed Larry Csonka.
6:48: Cue Frank Sinatra. This one is over.
Anyone who focuses on the controversial unsportsmanlike conduct call is missing the point. This was a game about redemption. Earlier this year, Delone Carter did not know if he would ever get to play football for Syracuse again after he was arrested, charged with assault, and suspended from the university. Like he’s done with injuries during his entire career, Carter battled back and was named the game’s MVP. He has a good chance of playing on Sundays soon. Marcus Sales spent most of the season in Marrone’s doghouse. On Thursday, he caught a bowl record three touchdowns and picked up 172 yards in the process. Most of all, there was redemption for a Syracuse football program that has been a laughing stock of the Big East and college football for years. After today, I doubt Flugz will have to struggle to remember the last time he saw Syracuse win in person.
On a personal note, I have had a ton of fun blogging about Syracuse football this season. Thank you to prosportsblogging for the opportunity and to all the people who tweeted with me and read this thing. I will try to update it with big news throughout the off-season. Happy New Year!!
About the Author
Written by Beth Ann Clyde
I graduated from Syracuse University in 2009 and can count the number of times I witnessed the Orange win a football game on two hands.