Today, Syracuse football had it's moment to redeem years of frustration and regain a passionate fan base just looking for a reason to come back. The team played a good game despite the scoreboard at the end stating: Minnesota 23-Syracuse 20. At the end, I felt like I was just kicked in the groin from some girl in hard, pointed toed shoes. However I truly think that when it was over and we reflected, we learned Syracuse has a team you can root for.
I am not going to quote you stats because this game was about more then stats, it was about a change in Syracuse football. The Carrier Dome was rocking louder then I have heard in many years and the fans bought into Head Coach Doug Marrone. The defense was aggressive and I saw an intensity on that squad that I longed to see for years. The offense, though it struggled in the second half, showed signs of a pulse.
Yes, Greg Paulus made one major mistake in the end that I am sure ESPN Sportscenter will focus on (along with that snap over his head) but the majority of the game he made some good choices and hopefully learned from his mistakes. His scrambling will help as this offensive line looks like they may struggle yet again but a couple times it looked as though had he stayed in the pocket just a couple more seconds, the plays would have been there for him to make. He had some good game management skills and I think we will all be better for it.
Syracuse was down 14-3 quickly and they could have easily given up but instead they fought hard and got back in this game. Instead of making numerous turnovers, Syracuse actually benefited from many even though two big ones cost them points and the game. Their defense started slow and did give up some big plays but when it counted, they made plays as well. The offense blended in different plays and did their best to ride Delone Carter and though the receivers dropped some passes they have to catch, they also made some good catches as well, including Mike Williams.
So maybe you have noticed my wavering but the truth is, this game gave me reason to be as such. Syracuse lost a game they should have won but they also showed fans they have something they can root for and have faith in once again, even if the ending made us feel dejected again. I refuse to give up on this team no matter the outcome of the Penn State game as well. This team is improved and if you did not see the potential, then I feel sorry for you. This is something to build on and still makes me believe they can win 5-6 wins this year and be better next season.
The Dome was filled with proud Orange fans once again and we should all follow by example and support this team with all our heart and I think in the end, we will be rewarded for doing it as well. "Let's Go Orange" chants were louder then they have been in years and we need to continue that feeling into our everyday life now. Donovan McNabb mentioned during his ESPN press box moment that he will no longer be embarrassed by wearing Orange in an Eagles locker room and we should follow his example. If you are mad or disappointed, then that means you care and that is great, we should be dejected after such a loss. However we must lift our heads up Orange fans, Syracuse football is relevant again and we will return to the proud traditions of the past.
Now here are some links and a video of Greg Paulus first TD pass in a Syracuse football uniform.
Minnesota Topples Greg Paulus, Resurgent Syracuse in Overtime -- NCAA Football
WAER - HOMEPAGE (whom I think have a good post game call in show)
Paulus'd: Syracuse Loses A Heartbreaker To Minnesota 23-20 In Overtime - Troy