12:05 – Early cold and wet weather looks to favor SU. Now, let's see if the defense can get off to a good start.
12:12 – Third and five from the SU 32 after a long first possession…and wait, the drive's still going, thanks to Jake Flaherty having his ankles broken by a nice cut from the Rutgers running back on a draw play.
12:17 – And the SU secondary has answered the bell EMPHATICALLY early on. Mike Holmes with a big pick in the end zone to stall the drive. The secondary has been covering Rutgers' wideouts consistently and got burned primarily by short, screen passes on the first drive. Meanwhile, the run defense has been getting absolutely gashed thus far.
12:19 – Ugh. Back to the drawing board. Two straight penalties to start the drive.
12:21 – Speaking of short passing, Cam Dantley doesn't appear to be having half the problems throwing the ball as his counterpart Mike Teel. Of course, he probably won't throw one nearly half as far as Teel either.
12:22 – Third and nine. And SU continues to steal the lines out of Rutgers' playbook. First, with the short passing and now with the draw play on third down. And it's DOUG HOGUE, 82 YARDS FOR A TOUCHDOWN! Hogue showing off his wheels on that play, as well as an absolutely filthy stiff arm to the hapless Scarlet Knights defender. Great awareness by Hogue in the open field to follow his blocking. This offense just might be able to carry SU to a decent finish for this season, because they've sure got a stable full of stallions in the backfield.
12:27 – Defensive end Anthony Perkins with a perfect form tackle, wrapping up the ball carrier just past the line of scrimmage. Huge possession for the Orange here on D.
12:29 – Much better tackling by SU on the second possession, as Derrell Smith and A.J. Brown step up to force a punt.
12:30 – And as for that punt? Blocked by Dorian Graham and Da'Mon Merkerson falls on it in the end zone. 14-0 ‘Cuse! Two of last week's heroes prove they aren't just one week wonders. On the flip side, I don't like seeing the SU defense out on the field so much this early, but let's not nitpick.
12:33 – Rutgers has figured it out on offense. The running game and short passes will be the death of the Orange defense today.
12:36 – Interesting sequence of events. Rutgers stopped a yard short of the first down, but decides to punt again. This after a questionable ball spot that likely would have made it fourth and a few inches. Schiano probably expecting this game to soon slow down to a more grind-it-out style.
12:48 – The game has settled into a rhythm now and it appears SU's gonna be in for a wild ride, trying to hold onto this one. Rutgers has established a balanced offensive attack that is methodically moving the ball down the field. On the SU side, take away the two huge plays and they haven't looked incredible on offense.
12:54 – Defense gets victimized by complacency on this possession. A couple guys in the secondary don't look quite so crisp and fresh trying to cover Rutgers' wideouts. The drive culminates with Tiquan Underwood getting open right in front of A.J. Brown for an easy score.
12:59 – Line of the day. After Marcus Sales drops a short pass from Cam Dantley, the announcers have this gem.
Announcer A: "He could not complete the deal."
Announcer B: "Yeah, he couldn't complete the sale." (laughs awkwardly)
1:04 – Kevyn Scott down on the field…not good for a defense that's struggled on the last two drives and a team that's seen momentum completely slip away from them.
1:10 – If that last play for a Rutgers touchdown doesn't show you the defensive problems we have, I don't know what will. Like the U.S. economy, SU is in a hot and cold phase that would make Katy Perry proud. We desperately need a big-time cornerback recruit with some size to throw around on these hulking wide receivers. And, on that note, why was it just Holmes trying to cover Britt? I know he's had a good game so far, but I've gotta think conventional wisdom would be to swing a safety over that way as well.
1:14 – Best case scenario for SU. They run the clock down and cash it in for a score before halftime. Unfortunately, the O has yet to prove itself and needs some play action to free up running lanes for The Brink.
1:22 – Jake Flaherty with excellent ball-hawking, stepping in front of the intended receiver for the pick. Gotta get some points out of this before half for a momentum change.
1:28 – Rule A with SU manifests itself here. Nothing ever comes easy and the most surefire thing since G-Mac in the clutch misses three straight field goals to end the first half (after Schiano calls two timeouts, Shadle hooks his third attempt just to the left from 42 yards).
1:55 – Can SU rediscover its mojo in the second half? Early returns don't look good.
1:56 – Have you heard commentators butcher the pronunciations on more names than the ones today? They're getting paid to scout these teams and know how to pronounce their names, right? Already, we've heard them biff up the name of our starting kick returner and one of our bookends on the defensive line.
2:00 – First sign of serious QB pressure by the defensive line today as Arthur Jones rumbles through the middle of the line. The D not completely out of it yet, despite being on the field for over 21 minutes in the first half.
2:01 – And as soon as I say that, the terrible tackling bug strikes again. Two guys can't come up with the tackle in the backfield…seriously?
2:02 – Anyone care to explain why Ryan Howard and Bruce Williams have been switching off on punt returns today?
2:03 – Boonah goes Boom, Baby! Finally, Curtis is able to find a hole and exploits it with a couple of nice jukes.
2:05 – SU can NOT win this game if they turn the ball over. Wait, that just happened. SU seems to be fighting an uphill battle today, much as they have all season.
2:06 – Good to see Kevyn Scott back on the field and looking solid, nearly coming up with another INT of Mike Teel.
2:11 – Just as we were starting to wonder when we'd see the first replay of the game, we get one that lasts five minutes and results in a highly questionable call. Of course, Rutgers renders that a moot point just one play later with a short TD run.
2:17 – Yet another three and out from SU. It was good while it lasted, but I guess we were only entitled to 75 straight minutes of well-played football, as SU's really struggled after the first quarter today.
2:21 – Not really a whole you can do to defend against that direct snap, except get faster, more athletic players on defense.
2:26 – Antwon Bailey at fullback? Most interesting.
2:29 – Curtis Brinkley, the high jumper. Seriously, is there anything this man can't do?
2:31 – Dantley down after the fourth sack of the day and this doesn't look good, as he's been down on the field for a couple of minutes. I'm no doctor, but if I had to hazard a guess, I'd say that looks like a hyper extended knee.
2:38 – As if the Orange didn't have enough problems to deal with, the injury monster continues to rear its ugly head. That's safety A. J. Brown down on the field.
2:46 – Huge defensive stop for the Orange. Jake Flaherty continues his monster game with a tackle for loss on fourth-and-one. And note this one thing, these players aren't quitting on G-Rob.
2:55 – The defense now appears disinterested and dead tired. The secondary doesn't even bother looking at the wide receiver, the ball or the quarterback and subsequently, gets dissected on two straight long pass plays.
3:00 – Two Andrew Robinson passes downfield, but both behind Marcus Sales. Good to see them going with the vertical passing game a bit more though.
3:01 – Is G-Rob trying to pad Curtis's stats or win the game?
3:05 – That third down song blaring over the Rutgers loudspeakers is getting quite annoying, as is SU's offensive ineptitude this afternoon.
3:28 – The only thing of remote significance in the last eight minutes of the football game. Well, nothing really aside from A-Rob joining Cam Dantley in the infirmary. And the fact that SU was again involved in a marathon game. Second straight game that's went three and a half hours for SU. This one, unfortunately, was three and a half hours of pain and torture.
Syracuse – Rutgers Game Log
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