Play-Calling Leads to SU Embarrassment

Already trailing 24-3, the Orangemen had the ball in the first possession of the second half. It was third and long. Naturally, R.J. Anderson dropped back and threw....a screen pass??

Yes, a screen pass that gained a yard.

Dumbfounding play signals like that all added up to the 48-24 debacle suffered by the Orangemen and their fans at the hands of Pittsburgh Saturday at the Carrier Dome. Countless times, Pasqualoni called plays that did not even give the Orangemen a chance to earn a first down.

Many early drives were stalled by throwing short slants or dumpoff passes when the offense needed eight or ten yards. It made R.J. Anderson look bad, but, in his defense, he was just doing what the coach called. After Anderson left with a shoulder injury, Troy Nunes sparked the offense with a passing game not often shown by Syracuse's coma-inducing offense. However, whereas before Anderson wouldn't pass the ball downfield, it seemed like Nunes wouldn't hand off the ball. Pasqualoni neglected the running game when Nunes came in. With one yard needed on a third down situation in the third quarter, rather than pound the ball up the middle, Nunes dropped back and threw it incomplete.

Pasqualoni's puzzling play-calling has drawn critics for years. Stars like Donovan McNabb, Marvin Harrison, and Dwight Freeney have helped mask bad plays, and in fact, make them look pretty good. But without bonafide superstars on this year's team, the good looks mediocre and the bad looks pitiful.

With the Orangemen still 0-for Division 1-A, they get some sort of reprieve in the upcoming weeks. With games against Temple, West Virginia, and Rutgers, the Orangemen may be able to salvage some wins. But with home games still to play against Virginia Tech and Miami, and a road contest versus Boston College, it may be too late to salvage the season. Syracuse is in serious jeopardy of suffering its first losing season since 1986.

And, boy has it been suffering so far.

With such a bleek future for SU football, I can only sit and wonder: Who will the starting five be for Coach Boeheim's hoop team??

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