Nittany Lions put a hurting on Orange
The highlight of the day came over two hours before kickoff when the Ernie Davis statue was unveiled just outside of the Carrier Dome. From that moment onward, it was just "another difficult day at the office" according to Orange head coach Greg Robinson. After the 55-13 shellacking at the hands of Penn State and now that the premiere of "The Express" is out of the way, rumors are swirling about the imminent firing of Robinson.
Syracuse started the game off well in front of nearly 46,000 fans, the largest attendance in nearly five years. But it would prove to be very short-lived. Nick Santiago forced a fumble that was picked up by line mate Arthur Jones. The Orange then lined up in a triple stack formation on their first play from scrimmage and Cameron Dantley's pass for Curtis Brinkley was ruled a lateral in the left flat. The Nittany Lions scooped up the loose ball, scored less than a minute later and never looked back from there.
Darryll Clark paced JoePa's squad with 163 yards and two touchdowns passing. Backup Pat Devlin found himself in the game early in the second quarter, as Penn State raced to a 38-6 halftime advantage. Sophomore tailback Evan Royster exploited the numerous gaps in SU's defense, tallying over a hundred yards on just thirteen attempts. The Orange not only had trouble tackling and finishing plays on defense; they were also thoroughly outclassed by Penn State's speed and athleticism. Jordan Norwood and Deon Butler roamed free in the secondary and snagged two touchdown passes apiece
However, there were a few positives to be taken from this game, starting with the touchdown. Cameron Dantley made an impressive play, finding freshman Marcus Sales on fourth-and-eight for an eleven yard touchdown in the third quarter. Kevyn Scott played well on the defensive side of the ball; totaling eight tackles (six solo, two assisted). On special teams, Max Suter continued to move up SU's career list for kick return yards. He had 111 on five returns in Saturday's game. Punter Rob Long and kicker Patrick Shadle also excelled. Long booted a 70-yard punt that pinned Penn State inside its own 5 yard line, while Shadle banged two long field goals through the uprights.
But the stats do not lie and Syracuse was outclassed, outplayed, outcoached, even ‘outcheered' for much of the game, with the rowdy Penn State faithful showed up in droves to vocally support their team. The Orange finished with an average of less than two yards per carry and Andrew Robinson, the backup quarterback, finished as the most effective runner, scrambling once for nine yards. Syracuse didn't record a first down until the second quarter and finished with just 169 total yards of offense. Syracuse also gave up more third down conversions (10) than they made first downs (8) for the entire game.
After the game, Greg Robinson served up some more bland postgame comments that seemed to be merely tired reiterations of weeks past. While Robinson constantly reminds his players of how the Tampa Bay Rays went from worst to first, the Rays' renaissance required the ability to accept and embrace change. And that is something this program seems to be denying by keeping Robinson around much longer.
Syracuse will look to right the ship when it hosts Northeastern on Homecoming weekend. The game will be at 3:30pm in the Carrier Dome and can be seen on TW26.
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