Keep in mind the opponent. Rhode Island looked like a glorified high school team running out of the locker room onto the Carrier Dome turf Saturday afternoon. In all facets of the game, Syracuse was bigger, stronger, and faster.
Syracuse's offensive lineman Matt Tarullo has legs bigger than some of the waists of those on the Rhode Island defensive line. Seeing the SU line go against the URI defensive front four reminded me of my older brother against me in a sibling swashbuckle: They didn't stand a chance.
However, look no further than the total yards for Rhode Island to see that Syracuse still has weaknesses in their defense. Granted, lumberjack defensive end Josh Thomas and defensive tackle Christian Ferrara did not play, causing redshirt freshman Ryan LaCasse and sophomore Brian Hooper to fill in. Both did respectable jobs with the increased responsibilities. But, 445 yards of offense against a Division I-AA school sticks out like a pimple on an adolescent's nose.
Besides the usual defensive woes, Syracuse did shine bright in certain areas. R.J. Anderson's rifle for an arm was finally let out of its holster on Saturday, as he threw for 306 yards, including an 87-yard strike to Jamel Riddle for one of his two TD passes.
The two-headed running back of Walter Reyes and Damien Rhodes covered a lot of real estate again. Reyes ran for a career-high 128 yards, while the freshman Rhodes glided gracefully for 94 yards rushing.
But let's be honest, folks. URI will not be winning any national championships any time soon, even in Division I-AA.
So while the rest of the Carrier Dome crowd cheered enthusiastically, I quietly and modestly celebrated. I'm waiting for SU to discard a formidable opponent before I let loose my screams.
The perfect time to do that would be Sept. 28 in Alabama, against Auburn. I hope they can do it.
Until then, all I have to say right now is: Prove to me that you belong.
Matt Dagostino is a writer for SyracuseInsiders.Com that can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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