In the days leading up to each SU football game, The Juice Online will address questions about the team in our “Kickoff Countdown” segment.
Today’s question: Syracuse had one of the best comebacks in school history, rallying from a 20-point halftime deficit to defeat USF on the final offensive play of the game. But just how important was that win?
There have been some great Syracuse teams over the years, but none were able to do what the Orange accomplished on Saturday night.
Down 23-3 points at half, SU mounted a furious rally in the third quarter and took the lead midway through the third. Though USF went back up nine points in the fourth, the Orange came back again and took the lead with three seconds left.
The 20 point rally was the biggest comeback in Syracuse’s record book, dating back to 1942. It upped the Orange’s record to 3-1 in the Big East, and evened Syracuse’s overall record at 4-4.
But the win may represent even more than that.
After Syracuse’s mistake-laden loss to Minnesota, and then again at Rutgers, the Orange seemed destined to miss a bowl game for the second straight season. That would’ve halted any progress the program had from the 2010 Pinstripe Bowl victory.
But there is a renewed sense of hope after SU’s thrilling victory over the Bulls. Syracuse showed true grit and determination coming back, especially in an away game.
On top of that, the Orange has won three out of its last four games, and sits third in the Big East standings. The win was also just the second win against USF since they joined the Big East. And, it’s only the second time in Marrone’s four years that the Orange has won more than one conference game.
It certainly seems like the momentum has shifted in Syracuse’s favor.
Still, SU coach Doug Marrone downplayed the significance in his weekly Big East coach’s teleconference.
“I really don’t put a lot into one game,” he said. “I think that’s been done in the past, and I think it’s hurt us a little bit.”
Marrone is surely referring to the Orange’s emphatic 49-23 win over then-No. 11 West Virginia last October. It was Syracuse’s fifth win of the season, and SU seemed like a lock for a bowl game at 5-2. But the Orange lost five straight, and missed bowl season.
With that in mind, Marrone is cautious when discussing the significance of the win.
“I’m trying to have a significant season,” Marrone said. “It’s been difficult to do that. We’ve taken one step forward, then at times we taken a step back.”
That’s a perfect segue into our question of the day…