Syracuse v. Rutgers report card

The D was solid again

Syracuse’s offense was sloppy again in a tough loss to Rutgers on Saturday afternoon, dimming its already grim bowl hopes. Here are the grades for the game:

Offense: D

Rutgers has one of the best defenses in the country. They came in fifth overall in points allowed, and showed why on Saturday. Ryan Nassib was under duress all afternoon, and was forced into throwing a pair of interceptions and took three sacks for 25 yards.

The defense was solid again

The running game wasn’t any better, as the Orange could only produce 1.9 yards per carry. Though the Orange actually outgained the Scarlet Knights in total yards, 418 to 237, much of the yardage was in the fourth quarter with SU already trailing 23-7.

It also didn’t help that the offense coughed up the ball four times, including a pair of fumbles outside of Nassib’s interceptions. Oh, and there were seven penalties for 44 yards.

It was the third straight game the offense has been absent, and over the last 12 quarters, the Orange have only four offensive touchdowns to show for it.

» Related: Orange commit too many mistakes

Defense: A

Consider how Rutgers scored its points:

  • The Scarlet Knights put together a solid 10 play, 93 yard drive in the first quarter, that resulted in a touchdown. It was the first, and only score of the half, for Rutgers.
  • Ross Krautman had his 32-yard go-ahead field goal blocked, which Duron Harmon returned for a 75 yard score.
  • The Scarlet Knights picked up a field goal after Ryan Nassib fumbled the ball near midfield.
  • Following a Steve Rene fumble, Rutgers, already inside Syracuse territory, punched in another touchdown.

In other words, the defense gave up one long drive, for a touchdown, and was either not on the field, or was given a short field for the rest of the Scarlet Knight scores.

Rutgers gained just 237 yards on the day, and only rushed 2.4 yards per carry. Gary Nova only threw for 152 yards. The defense, as it has all season, did their jobs.

I wish I could say the same for the offense and special teams.

» Related: 10 Things We Learned from SU’s loss to Rutgers

Special Teams: F

This was the easiest grade to give. What actually went right for this unit?

Krautman missed both of his field goal attempts, though one was from the 50 yard line (and the other was blocked). As mentioned earlier, Rene had a fumble, and the field goal unit allowed a blocked kick, which led directly to 14 points.

It begs the question, why is Rene still handling punt returns? He’s shown that he hasn’t figured out when to call for a fair catch, and this fumble is just the most recent in a line of calamities for him. It’s time for Syracuse coach Doug Marrone to hire a coach specifically to coach this unit. It has played a factor in at least two (and that’s a generous in the estimation) losses this season.

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About Wes Cheng 2907 Articles
Wes has worked for covering the New York Knicks, as well as for covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also been a contributing writer for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), for SportsNet New York (SNY) as a news desk writer covering all of New York professional sports, and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005 with a degree in journalism. Contact him at wes[at]