Tag:Chandler Jones
Posted on: October 21, 2011 11:32 pm

QUICK HITS: Syracuse 49, No. 11 West Virginia 23

Posted by Chip Patterson

SYRACUSE WON. With an aggressive pass rush and methodical ball control, Syracuse bullied No. 11 West Virginia for four quarters on the way to a 49-23 victory at home on Friday night. Quarterback Ryan Nassib led a efficient, mistake-free Orange offense to 441 total yards of offense one of the Big East's best defensive units. The Orange also won the time of possession, finishing with 35:26 compared to West Virginia's 23:04. Mountaineers' head coach Dana Holgorsen is used to his team starting slow, and not owning the clock; but in most of the cases before Friday it resulted in victories.

HOW SYRACUSE WON: By keeping West Virginia's offense off the field, the Mountaineers were never able to develop a rhythm of establish any kind of continuity. The Orange converted on 12 of 16 third downs, and put up 11+ plays on three different touchdown drives. Inside runs, play action roll outs, and lots of tight end completions kept the Orange chipping away each drive. It wore down West Virginia's defense and combined with Syracuse's pass rush led to the victory for Doug Marrone's squad.

WHEN SYRACUSE WON: On the final play of the third quarter, Geno Smith dropped back and was picked off by Philip Thomas for his second interception of the game. The play came just after Ryan Nassib had completed his third touchdown pass to a wide open tight end (four touchdowns were accounted for by tight ends) to make it 35-16. All of the momentum was swinging Syracuse's way, and the Mountaineers needed a spark to get back into the game. Instead Smith's second interception set the Carrier Dome into a frenzy at the break, and Syracuse ran with the momentum to a victory.

WHAT SYRACUSE WON: A signature win for the Doug Marrone era. Last season's bowl appearance was a huge success for the former Orange offensive lineman, but much was credited to the play of the seniors. In what was considered to be a rebuilding year, Syracuse has jumped out a 5-2 start with a win over arguably the league's most talented team. There were 45,000+ in the Carrier Dome to witness the victory, one of the largest crowds since Marrone took over as head coach.

WHAT WEST VIRGINIA LOST: Their frontrunner status in the Big East, and likely 10+ spots in the polls. In the round-robin conference format with no title game, the only way for West Virginia to control their BCS destiny was to finish undefeated in Big East play. Two games in, that position of power has already been stripped. Only Cincinnati sits undefeated in the Big East standings, and after watching the Mountaineers and Rutgers on Friday night, the Bearcats better be ready to bring their best on Saturday.

THAT WAS CRAZY: As pointed out below, West Virginia has been a slow starting team all season. At the end of the first quarter, there was this observation. But unlike most of the previous games on the schedule, the Mountaineers were not able to climb back from this deficit. In fact, they let it get out of hand rather quickly.

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Posted on: August 8, 2011 10:12 am
Edited on: August 8, 2011 10:20 am

Marrone unhappy with Syracuse practice

Posted by Chip Patterson

Syracuse's 2010 campaign delivered the first bowl victory for an Orange team in nearly a decade. With 13 starters returning for 2011, the media picked Syracuse to finish fourth in the conference in the preseason poll. This should be a time of excitement and optimism for Orange football, but head coach Doug Marrone has seemed displeased with their work three practices in to fall camp. Nolan Weidner, of The Post-Standard observed that the third year head coach "wasn't particularly upbeat" when evaluating his team's performance on Sunday.

"As of right now, no one's really separated themselves," Marrone explained. "We expect a lot of them, we hold them to a high standard. We have high expectations for them this year, it's all about the little things."

Some of those "little things" add up to a general feeling of practice productivity. When Marrone felt like his squad wasn't getting that kind of "quality practice" he was looking for, he cut Sunday's session short. In his post-practice comments with the media (The Post-Standard has a video here), Marrone seemed to place some of the blame for sub-par practice on the youth of his team. While the Orange do bring back several upperclassmen, particularly on the offensive side of the ball, only five of the top 12 tacklers are back on defense. With big question holes to fill at linebacker and cornerback, that competition Marrone is looking for will be key to re-establish a defense that only gave up 19.3 points per game in 2010.

The onus on that defensive side will start on the front line, led by junior all-conference end Chandler Jones and senior Mikhail Marinovich. With a Sept. 17 trip to face USC in the Coliseum, there will not be much of a learning curve once the season starts. As an Orange alum himself, Marrone takes great pride in his team's work ethic. I would expect that this week's practices may carry a different tone as the season inches closer.
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