Here are 10 things we learned from Syracuse’s 42-41 loss on Saturday to Northwestern.
1. You should never leave a game early. Period.
2. Nassib? Nasseeb? Nassub? Despite working a game that boast two of the top journalism schools in the country, ESPN analysts Beth Mowins and Joey Galloway consistently mispronounced player names on both the Orange and Wildcats rosters.
3. Apparently Keon Lyn’s hands are made of something Superman should envy. Lyn was flagged for a late hit out of bounds on QB Trevor Siemian on what would become Northwestern’s game-winning drive. It was clear Lyn made contact with Siemian while he was still inbound. Consider this: What would have happened if Lyn failed to make a play and Siemian cut back for a significant gain? It’s always disappointing to see an official have such an influence on the outcome of a competitive game.
4. Ryan Nassib is the most integral part of this football team. How many Orange fans exhaled when he got up off the field after holding his ribs for several minutes? Nassib completed 44-of-65 passes for a school record 470 yards and four touchdowns. He gets a mulligan on the interception as Marcus Sales decided to play volleyball instead of football on that play.
5. Big 10 opponents have to be licking their chops after yesterday. Nassib and the Orange offense took advantage of the deep ball on numerous plays, resulting in big gains, pass interference calls and even a 50-yard touchdown to Jeremiah Kobena. Northwestern better make some serious adjustments if they don’t want their down-field coverage to be exploited the remainder of the season.
6. The Orange need Alec Lemon back. Lemon was one of Nassib’s primary targets last season catching 68 passes for 834 yards and six touchdowns.
7. Missed opportunities and penalties always come back to bite you. The Orange had two early opportunities on their first two drives and only came away with 6 points. After a muffed punt by the Wildcats, the Orange drove to the Northwestern five-yard line before kicker Ross (or if your Beth Mowins, Ryan) Krautman added a 22-yard field goal. The next possession for the Orange stalled at the Northwestern 16 before a Kratuman 33-yarder. Krautman also missed a 44-yard field goal early in the third quarter that would have been the difference in this game. The Orange were flagged 12 times for 72 yards.
8. Never give up on a play. A lateral from Nassib to Jerome Smith went through Smith’s hands and he never once thought to fall on the ball. But Northwestern’s Chi Chi Ariguzo did, as he picked it up and rumbled 33 yards for a touchdown while virtually no Orange players gave chase.
9. Special teams are anything but special. Well, maybe with the exception of punter Jonathan Fisher and kicker Ryan Norton. Fisher saw his talent go to waste several times, the most notable when Northwestern’s Venric Mark returned a 58-yard punt 82 yards for a touchdown. Mark would later add a 52-yard punt return that set up another Northwestern score.
10. This team has fight in it. Having not won a game since October 21 of last year, the Orange could have folded down 35-13 in the third quarter. But they put up 28 straight points to take a 41-35 lead with just over two minutes to play.