Orange Watch: Syracuse improves, but not in the W/L column yet

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – So far through two games of this year’s vastly challenging schedule, the SU football team certainly passes the “look test.” It’s a noticeable step up on both sides of the ball with a no huddle, often hurry up offense under the direction of the calm and collected veteran Ryan Nassib, and a defense that has played admirably despite giving up 42 points a game.

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Are sunny skies ahead for SU?

Let’s face it, the Orange handed Northwestern a win. And, as Orange Nation had to realistically expect, played Southern California tough in stretches Saturday at damp and in the end dreary MetLife Stadium, only to fall short 42-29 as most teams the season will likewise succumb to stopping all of the Trojan weapons. In this case, it was the heralded trio of quarterback Matt Barkley (six TD passes), and spectacular WR’s Roberts Woods (200 all-purpose yards) and Marqise Lee (11 catches 3 TDs).

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But 0-2 is 0-2. A seven game losing streak dates back to Oct. 21, 2011, although relief is in sight with FCS member Stony Brook in the Dome next week. Also, the Big East appears a little bit open for someone to challenge pre-season favorite Louisville.

“There’s a lot of football left to be played,” said linebacker Marquis Spruill, who was active throughout against USC with five tackles. “People don’t think we can do a lot, but we know what we have in (our) locker room. We’re going to come out tomorrow and start over, clear our minds and get ready (for the next game).”

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The ‘Cuse actually made it a game heading into the fourth quarter down 21-16 after back-to-back touchdown drives against the second-ranked team in the country. But, buoyed by the seemingly partisan visiting team crowd wearing cardinal and gold of the announced 39,507 which seemed dwarfed by the huge building, the Trojans stormed back to score twice themselves in the first four minutes of the final quarter to stay comfortably ahead and keep SU winless.

“We’re looking for our first win, said Nassib Saturday night when asked if it would be tough to get up for Stony Brook next after the glare of USC has worn off. “I’m excited about this team; I’m excited about what we can accomplish (the rest of the season).”

Right now, win number one will suffice.

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Brad Bierman

About Brad Bierman

Now in his fifth decade of covering SU sports, Brad was sports director of WSYR radio for eight years into the early 1990s, then wrote the Orange Watch column for The Big Orange/The Juice print publication for 18 years. A Syracuse University graduate, Brad currently runs his own media consulting business in the Philadelphia suburbs. Follow him on Twitter @BradBierman.
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