Being a Syracuse fan since I knew what football was, I can say I've been through my fair share of disappointment. Words cannot describe the enormity of my disgust. If I had a dog, I'd want to kick it right now.
Today was the perfect reminder of what a difference a year can make. Last year, decked out in their pumpkin-orange uniforms, the Orangemen ran circles around Temple, routing them 45-3.
Watching the game today, I had to piinch myself just to stay awake in the first half. Sheer boredom set in until Jamel Riddle's 60-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter. The defense, ranked 113th in total yards allowed coming into the contest, was more than holding its own.
Then the fourth quarter came thundering in more abruptly than Kramer through Seinfeld's door. Is was then that Syracuse lost the ability to tackle and defend. Two authoritative Temple touchdowns later, Syracuse was losing 17-10.
It's Temple, though. We won't lose. There is still plenty of time on the clock.
That's when "Paul Pasqualoni's Parade of Puzzling Play-Calling" took center stage. He had done a decent job keeping R.J. Anderson in rhythm most of the day with short passes that could easily be completed and calling multiple QB draws. Anderson actually looked like he felt comfortable throwing the ball, completing 18-of-34 passes (both attempts and completions were career bests) for 239 yards, and 52 yards rushing Then, down by a touchdown, Pasqualoni decided to have Anderson drop back and heave the ball downfield. That's like telling Randy Johnson to develop a knuckleball to get hitters out.
Stick with what works, please.
Syracuse's second-to-last possession sputtered. However, the defense allowed them to get the ball back with under a minute to play and in decent field position.
I sat on the couch.
"It's Temple," I said. "We haven't lost to them since 1983."
I would not allow my friend's pessimistic ramblings to deter my vision.
After a few gift-wrapped penalties and some medium-length completions from Anderson, the Orangemen found themselves at the 15 yard line with thirty seconds on the clock. Anderson rolled right and found Jared Jones in the endzone.
For the first time all day, I showed positive energy, leaping out of my seat and cheering as I ran across the room. I knew Syracuse would come through. Overtime was where they would seal the deal.
All Collin Barber had to do was hit the extra point. I was beginning to prepare my positive column regarding the victory.
Barber lined up, swung his leg, and kicked the ball wide left, and kicked me right where the sun doesn't shine.
17-16: Syracuse moves to 1-5 against a team that may not even be in the Big East Conference next year.
It has taken me until now, four hours after the conclusion of the game, to voice any opinion on the matter. I have run out of reasons, excuses, and words to explain the turmoil in Salt City. This team seems to lack an identity, lacks something to turn to when things get tough.
But, it's Temple. Yup, it's Temple alright.
My, how the times have changed.
When it Rains, it Pours
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