In the days leading up to each SU football game, The Juice Online will address questions about the team in “Kickoff Countdown.” Today’s question: Can Syracuse limit its turnovers this Friday against Connecticut?
It’s a very simple formula for Syracuse coach Doug Marrone.
Win the turnover battle, win the game.
“I don’t think it’s rocket science,” Marrone said during his weekly Big East teleconference call on Monday morning. “Since I’ve been here, we’ve had 24 losses, we’re minus 30 in the turnover margin, and in our 19 wins, we’re plus 12.”
In a 23-15 loss to Rutgers on Saturday afternoon, the Orange turned the ball over four times, two on interceptions, one on a blocked field goal and another on a muffed punt. Meanwhile, Rutgers didn’t have a single turnover all game.
Against Pitt on Oct. 5, each team had a turnover. But the Panthers’ turnover led to a Syracuse touchdown.
Not surprisingly, the Orange won that game, 14-13.
“We have to make sure that we protect the football,” Marrone said. “When we can correct that, we’re going to win a whole lot more than we’ll lose. And I believe that with my heart.”
Until then, the frustration has reached a boiling point not only with the SU fan base, but also with the coaching staff.
“I’m not going to lie to you. My frustration level is really high,” Marrone said. “It’s really what’s hurting this team. It doesn’t give you a chance.”
But what has been the cause of Syracuse’s turnover problems?
While it’s easy to point a finger at QB Ryan Nassib, who has now thrown for eight interceptions this season, or the special teams, which coughed the ball up twice on Saturday, the blame doesn’t fall exclusively on one player or unit, Marrone said.
But if it is isn’t one player or one play, what is it?