FB : Syracuse’s momentum derailed by costly penalties; Orange ground game limited

first_img Published on October 30, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Michael: [email protected] | @Michael_Cohen13 Comments Facebook Twitter Google+center_img LOUISVILLE, Ky. — By the time Jeremiah Kobena’s frustration boiled over only four minutes into the game, Syracuse had already been tagged with four penalties. So when Eli Rogers muffed a punt and a mad scramble for the football ensued, Kobena lost his cool and threw two punches during the scrum.He was handed SU’s fifth penalty of the opening five minutes and the second of four personal fouls called on the Orange Saturday.‘We may have been a little too hyped in the beginning and that starts to make us make mistakes,’ Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib said.By the time the clock reached zero and Louisville had handily beaten Syracuse 27-10, the Orange had racked up 12 penalties for 99 yards. Several others called on SU during the game were declined. It was the sloppiest performance of the season in terms of penalty yardage and the first time all year Syracuse seemed to lose its composure.In addition to the opening flurry of penalties, costly violations later in the game killed SU’s offensive drives. On its series that carried over from the first to the second quarter, Andrew Tiller’s false start turned a second-and-6 into a second-and-11 inside Louisville territory. Two plays later, the Orange punted.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textTrailing 24-3 in the fourth quarter, Syracuse had one of its final chances to try and mount a comeback derailed by a pair of penalties. Back-to-back false starts moved the Orange from Louisville territory back to its own side of the field.SU failed to pick up a first down on the rest of that series and eventually turned the ball over on downs.‘The effort was good, the focus and doing the right thing all the time wasn’t there today,’ Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone said. ‘Obviously by the penalties because that’s the one thing we’ve done a good job of.’Cardinals halt SU running gameFor the first time since its second game of the season against Rhode Island, Syracuse came into Saturday’s game against Louisville with a different offensive game plan. Gone was the run first, run second, pass third mantra employed by the Orange for the majority of the 2011 season.‘The offense took shots early,’ Marrone said. ‘I’ve done this a lot. In the NFL, we played against a lot of teams that play man coverage, which they play. They bring a lot of pressure, and you have to hold them up and make plays.’As Syracuse’s offense came out firing behind the arm of Nassib — and sputtered miserably — the run game suffered. By the time the first quarter was over, SU trailed 14-0 and ran the ball with Antwon Bailey on less than 40 percent of its 11 plays.At that point, the Orange was forced into throwing the ball more than it would have liked to try and dig out of a two-score deficit. Bailey saw limited carries (15) as a result, and he was held to less than 100 yards for the first time in more than a month. As a whole, the Syracuse rushing attack gained only 84 yards.‘They were getting us on some of the runs, too,’ offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett said of the Louisville defense. ‘So it was kind of — everything was kind of not really working the way we wanted it to at the time.’In particular, Bailey had no breathing room between the tackles. The Cardinals tallied 14 tackles for loss Saturday, many of which were created as a result of penetration through the middle of the Syracuse offensive line.The limited success the Orange did have running the ball came outside the hash marks. Bailey ran several successful plays out of ‘The Express’ formation — SU’s version of the ‘Wildcat’ formation. He reeled off gains of 14 and 24 yards out of this set.Nassib also scrambled for 18 yards on one play, escaping the pocket to his left to avoid a rush up the middle.‘That’s where the outside runs and tosses came in, trying to get outside of their pressure,’ Bailey said.Overall, though, Saturday’s game was another example of how the Orange is not capable of winning a Big East game through the air. Its best offense this season has come as a result of a solid running game setting up easier passes downfield.The Cardinals quick 14-0 lead prevented Syracuse from running the ball as much as it would have liked and exploited the weaknesses in SU’s passing game.‘You can’t give a defense like that third-and-long chances where they thrive,’ Syracuse offensive lineman Justin Pugh said. ‘That’s where they get after you. We just have to make sure to keep it manageable as a whole.‘A couple key third downs we didn’t pick up, and once that stuff starts snowballing, it’s not a good thing for the offense.’[email protected]last_img

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