Big East Football: Solid Start, Slow Finish for Syracuse Orange

By Alex Callos

After such a fast start to the regular season and some solid non-conference wins, Doug Marrone and the Syracuse Orange had to be feeling confident heading into conference play.

Big overtime wins headlined the non-conference slate for Syracuse, including a 36-29 overtime victory over Wake Forest to kick off the season and a 33-30 double overtime victory over Toledo.

The only loss for the Orange came at USC, one of the top ten teams in the nation.

After a tough double overtime 19-16 loss to Rutgers in their first Big East game of the season, the Orange bounced back to defeat Tulane 37-34 and West Virginia in convincing fashion 49-23.

The table was certainly set for a run at a Big East title, or so it seemed.

While it may have seemed hard to believe at the time, the win over West Virginia on October 21, was the last win the Orange would get all season, as they would finish the year 5-7 and 1-6 in conference play. Good for dead last in the Big East.

With the exception of a seven-point loss at Connecticut, the rest of the games were no closer than two touchdowns.

After a strong start, such a disappointing finish has to be tough on a team that played in the Pinstripe Bowl a year ago.

The problem for the Orange turned out to be points. They struggled to score, to the tune of 84th in the country.

Simply put, that is not going to cut it, and put a great deal of pressure on their defense who was not much better at 75th in the country in points allowed.

Senior Antwon Bailey rushed for over 1,000 yards and quarterback Ryan Nassib also had a big year with 22 touchdown passes and only nine interceptions. But that was not enough for a conservative offense.

While both of those players will be departed next season, Syracuse will have to turn the page and find some new talent to help get them out of the basement of the Big East.

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