A quick take on Syracuse’s 33-30 overtime win against Toledo:
WHAT HAPPENED: Things looked bleak early, after Toledo capitalized on a fumble deep in Syracuse territory and went up 10-0. But the Orange came storming back, and what looked like it might be a blowout turned into a barn burner.
After a back-and-forth game, with just over two minutes to go in the fourth, Ryan Nassib hit Alec Lemon with a brilliant 18-yard pass to put the Orange up 30-27. Toledo drove deep into the red zone, but the Orange’s inconsistent defense managed to hold the Rockets to a field goal as time expired, setting up SU’s second overtime game of the year.
Toledo started with the ball in overtime, but Syracuse cornerback Kevyn Scott immediately came up with the play of the game, skying a crowd to haul in the game’s only interception. The Orange took over possession, and won on a 27-yard field goal from Ross Krautman.
ANALYSIS: Well, the Orange certainly do know how to make things exciting. After a rocky start, they came back on the strength of strong running from Prince-Tyson Gulley and Antwon Bailey. Still, the familiar problems with the defense manifested. Toledo’s Eric Page ran roughshod over the secondary to the tune of 158 yards on 13 catches. And once again, the Orange couldn’t contain a dynamic quarterback: Austin Dantin went 22-32 for 258 yards and a touchdown, and ran for 50 more yards. However, Toledo missed a chance to put the game away early, and penalties hurt them, as an illegal block in the back called back an Eric Page touchdown off a kick return in the second quarter.
Nassib’s stats were down this game. A lot of that was the emphasis on the run, but he didn’t play quite as well as he usually does either. He didn’t see a wide-open Van Chew deep on one play late in the third, where a touchdown could have broken things open. Still, he came through with the late-game heroics that we’re becoming used to seeing from him.
The Orange continue their habit of making games closer than they should be. They’re 3-1 now, but they need to start putting teams away.
HERO: Kevyn Scott had the huge interception, and Krautman drilled four field goals, including the game winner. But, for overall contributions, Antwon Bailey and Prince-Tyson Gulley made the difference. Aided by improved blocking and an emphasis on running the football, the Orange finally got things going on the ground. Bailey rushed for 114 yards on 28 carries, including a 20-yard touchdown run to pull the Orange even late in the third quarter. Gulley added 66 yards of his own on 10 carries, and provided a big spark early as the Orange were mounting their initial comeback. In a game where Nassib’s play was merely good, these two pushed SU over the top.
ZERO: Toledo’s Terrance Owens only fielded snaps for two drives, but they were big ones…for Syracuse. With Owens at the helm during the second quarter, the Rockets came up empty twice in a row. Owens didn’t look great throwing the ball, and he was a non-factor running. He took the field with an opportunity to put the Orange away for good, but when Dantin finally came back on for Toledo’s final drive of the quarter, Toledo’s ten point lead was a three point deficit.