A quick take on Syracuse’s dominating 40-10 win over Connecticut at the Carrier Dome on Friday night:
WHAT HAPPENED: Syracuse put together its best performance of the season on all sides of the ball in defeating their old football coach. The defense, which has been SU’s strongest unit all season, completed dominated the UConn rushing game, holding the Huskies to just 10 points and -6 rushing yards. The offense, which had just four offensive touchdowns over its last three games, awoke from the doldrums, and put up 40 points. Even the maligned special teams was stellar, as Ross Krautman enjoyed his best game of the season. He hit all four of his field goals, including a season long from 47 yards and accounted for 16 points. Things got so good that SU backup quarterback Charley Loeb got some burn.
ANALYSIS: One week after its sloppiest loss of the season, the Orange seemed to correct their mistakes in a hurry. Last week, Syracuse coughed up the ball four times on a blocked kick, a muffed punt and a pair of interceptions. There was no such problems this week. Instead, the SU defense forced two turnovers on a fumble and an interception. It was a nightmare return for former SU coach Paul Pasqualoni, who saw his team pick up its fifth loss of the season, narrowing already dim bowl hopes. Meanwhile, it was a rare blowout for Doug Marrone and Syracuse, who won its second straight game on a Friday night at the Dome.
HERO: Jerome Smith had a career high 135 rushing yards while Alec Lemon (who the ESPN announcers called “Alex”) had eight receptions for 166 yards and a touchdown.
ZERO: The Connecticut offensive line was atrocious. QB Chandler Whitmer was under duress all night, and was sacked twice for a loss of 20 yards. Lyle McCombs, the Big East’s leading returning rusher, had just 16 yards on 12 carries. The Syracuse defense brought pressure all night, and there was little UConn could do to stop them.
WHAT’S NEXT: The Orange travel to South Florida to play the Bulls on Saturday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. TV: ESPN3.Wesley Cheng