Syracuse commit Austin Wilson's offense mirrored Syracuse's this week. They struggled inside their opponent's 35-yard line, en route to their second straight loss. Wilson will look to lead his team to a winning streak, as they look towards the playoffs.
"We were up 7-0 when we scored in the first quarter," he detailed. "Our defense, they played really well. On offense, we struggled. We had good drives every single time. Then we would end up getting stopped on third down. Once we got from like the 35 and in, much like the Syracuse game. We would get down to the 35 time after time. We had good drives.
"They went up 14-7. We got the ball back with 45 seconds to go and I had 90-yards to work with. It was a big task, but we put together a 4-play, 90-yard drive for a touchdown. I ended up hitting Sammy Marshall for a 45-yard bomb. That put us on the 38. I hit my other receiver for a touchdown for 38-yards with about 10-seconds left in the game.
"Being on the road, the coaches wanted to use the momentum and we went for two. We went for two and ran a flood pattern to the right. I rolled out, my receiver Sammy Marshall was wide open, but the defender made a great play on the ball and got his fingers on it. That finished the game and we lost 14-13."
The aggressive call to go for two was something that always generates controversy, and usually is based on the result. Wilson says he could go either way with a decision like that.
"In that situation, it could go 50/50 with me" he explained. "I felt that it showed he had a lot of confidence in me as a quarterback and a leader of this football team. We could've gotten the win right there. It was a good play call. But if I were the coach right there, being the one on the sidelines, I would definitely kick the ball. If we played it safe, we definitely had the momentum going into overtime and would have scored."
With two straight losses, Wilson wants to make sure his guys focus on the task at hand. There is still plenty of time to make this a successful season.
"The last two weeks being losses, the big problem was offense," Wilson claimed. "Going into this year, everybody knew that we have a big offense. We're going to put up points. The last two weeks, we haven't done that. We haven't come ready. A lot of that is that we haven't had a lot of time to throw and teams are just bringing the house on us. They're blitzing the crap out of us. It's a big point that we're going to stress this week.
"From the morale of the team, a lot of people were hanging their heads after the game. Once we got back to the school, I met with my head coach and offensive coordinator. I made it clear that I wanted to get the team together. We had a meeting and watched film today. After the game, I got just the varsity offense together. I talked to them and told them I'm sticking with them as long as they stick with me. We're going to win out, go 7-3 and get into the playoffs. It's going to be a lot of work, but I feel like everybody's with me. Everyone was at film tonight, so it was great."
Wilson spent part of Saturday like most Syracuse fans. He watched the loss to Rutgers and was frustrated.
"Yeah I watched the game," the two-star quarterback said. "I think early on we got to a slow start. Rutgers is a tough team. They're a top-25 team and are playing great. Like I said, they played like we did this week. I mean, how many times did they get from the 35 and in? I think it was like seven times, or six times. They were only able to get seven points on the board from those drives.
"Other than that, it's just little things. I feel like we're beating ourselves. Just little things. Our record could be totally reversed. We could be almost undefeated."
Despite the struggles and the 2-4 record, Wilson is still fully committed to Syracuse. He said, nothing has changed that decision.
"No I have not questioned it one bit," he said firmly. "I feel we're still rebuilding a little bit. But I think we're headed in the right direction. People may think I'm crazy for saying that by looking at the record. But I'm still 100% committed to Syracuse.
"The record, to me, doesn't mean as much, when I think we're still going to get some commits. I keep talking to the guys who are still on the edge of committing to make sure they know we are still on the rise."