Auburn Loss Could Still Boost Orangemen Morale

So Syracuse dropped to 1-3 after a hard-fought loss to Auburn Saturday night. They haven't beaten a Division I-A team yet this year. <br><br>Normally, I would begin my dissertation about how I think I belong on the team. It's just a childhood dream. I'll learn to cope.

In a surprise move, though, I'm actually going to sing the praises of the Orangemen for the best game that they've played all year.

Obviously, a 1-3 team may not have to do much to have their best game of the year. However, this game could end up being a building block to turning this season around.

For the first time all season, Syracuse strung together many big plays on both sides of the ball, and even special teams. Jamel Riddle returned a punt 85 yards for a touchdown. Clifton Smith recovered a fumble and ran 48 yards with it. Walter Reyes scampered 68 yards for a rushing touchdown. Backup quarterback Troy Nunes led the offense on a key fourth quarter drive to send the game into overtime. This sort of excitement is not the norm for the often monotonous Orangemen.

On the flip side, there is the argument that they blew a 17-0 lead. Like Johnny Cochrane behind O.J. Simpson, I'm coming to the defense of my troubled party. The same team that lost the lead also was the one that pulled things together late in the game behind Nunes, who is usually holding a clipboard at that time of the game. Nunes led the Orange and Blue on an 80-yard drive to keep their hopes alive.

If the helmets fit, they must not have quit.

The eventual loss in the third overtime was not due to a lack of effort. They came out strong with something to prove, but just couldn't seal the deal. However, on the bright side, they gave a Top 25 team all they could handle and then some in hostile territory.

And I'll go on the record as saying this could be a turning point in the season. I won't stick my neck out too far and say how much of a turnaround it will be. But I think Syracuse can come out and make a statement in the Big East opener Saturday at home against Pittsburgh.

Maybe Saturday Jameel Dumas and the rest of the team will be feasting on Panther ribs.

For anyone in the greater Syracuse area who actually knows what I'm talking about when I mention Panther ribs, I need to vent about that. For those that don't know, there is an Orangemen football team commercial promoting season tickets in which many players make their big "acting debuts" and say catchy little lines in a team barbecue setting. Dumas is cooking "Panther ribs", Josh Thomas is making "Hurricane soup", and Coach Pasqualoni is upset cause the man can't get a bowl of spaghetti.

I apologize for this tangent of all tangents, but who are the writing geniuses behind this commercial??? And, believe me, I use the term geniuses more loosely than a 42-inch belt around Calista Flockhart's waist. That commercial deserves to be on one of those funniest commercial TV specials. It is not one bit humorous, but yet never fails to bring a tear of laughter to my eye. I could go on about this commercial, but alas I digress.

But before I do, I will mark it down that Syracuse, like in the commercial, will have a feast against Pittsburgh on Saturday at the Dome.

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