Clu reviews the happenings in Orange Land with his new series, Salt City Weekly.
With the college basketball season officially starting up, college football winding down and all things considered, I decided to start up a new series that is completely dedicated to the only relevant college sports team in the New York area. Yes you guessed it everyone, I’m talking about the Syracuse Orange. I will be going through the ranks of Syracuse Athletics and giving you a weekly review of the Orange and all of their athletic glory. So let’s see what was in store for the ‘Cuse this past week shall we?
Womens’ Field Hockey Heading to the Final Four!
Thats right everyone, we’re kicking off this inaugural post with some historic accomplishments in Syracuse womens’ athletics. That is because, for only the second time in the history of Syracuse field hockey, the lady orange will be competing in the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament. The #5 Orange (19-2) will play #1 North Carolina (22-1). The winner will face the winner of the other national semifinal game between #2 Princeton and #6 Maryland. So just how did the Orange get to the final four? Well, they managed to beat Penn State 5-2 in the regional finals, of course! But it wasn’t easy. Penn State, who came out firing in the second half, proved to be a tough matchup for the Orange. However, sophomore midfielder Jordan Page said “Nuts to that!” Page scored two goals against PSU to lead the Orange in offense, while on defense, Leann Stiver saved a season high 13 shots and helped seal it over the Nittany Lions. As previously stated, this is the Orange’s second trip to the Final Four in field hockey, with their only other appearance coming in 2008.
Big Orange Monster on the Midway
As everyone was aware, this past weekend was the start of the NCAA basketball season. #9 Syracuse, hit the road for a rare out of town non-conference game (Syracuse is known for playing every local university in NY for non-conference tune up games). For this trip, the Orange decided to go sightseeing on the USS Midway, where they ran into #20 ranked San Diego State. The Orange basically had this game at the midway point of the first half on the USS Midway (see what I did there?), as they dominated the Aztecs 62-49 for their first win of the season. SDSU had a tough time getting anything going against Syracuse’s 2-3 zone and the apparently windy conditions didn’t help either. Sophomore forward Rakeem Christmas, one of two 6-foot-9 starters for the Orange, had five of Syracuse’s 10 blocked shots. The Orange were led by Junior CJ Fair (remember him?), who had 17 points and 10 rebounds. Guards Brandon Triche and Michael Carter-Williams also contributed with 15 and 17 points of his own, respectively.
The conditions were not ideal for either team, as it was windy afternoon aboard the USS Midway. That wind made it very hard to get anything done from the outside and, to make matters worse, the smaller Aztec team went through hell all afternoon as they couldn’t get anything going in the paint against a tough Syracuse defense. This made the game seem that much longer than it actually was. The Aztecs shot an abysmal 27 percent (17 of 63) from the field, and were just 1 for 18 from beyond the arc. Syracuse is sure to have a noticeable defensive presence as they combined for 40 total rebounds against SDSU. After the win, the Orange moved up one spot in the polls to #8 in the nation as they prepare for their next game against Wagner, but for now, good win Cuse!
Ryan Nassib & Co. Shock Louisville on Senior Day at the Dome!
Last, but certainly not least, we will end this inaugural post by going over what was definitely the biggest shockers in Big East football this season. As #11 Louisville headed to Syracuse, they practically thought they would walk through the Carrier Dome for their 10th win of the year and their quest for perfection. But things didn’t go as planned for the Cards, as ‘Cuse came out swingin’ on senior day. The Orange certainly gave their fans something to talk about, as they whooped Louisville 45-26 for their first win over a ranked opponent since last year’s victory over West Virginia. The Orange (5-5, 4-2) blew the game wide open in the second quarter, when they scored 3 touchdowns against the Cards (9-1, 4-1). Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater did manage to complete 36 of 49 for 426 yards and 3 TDs, but his interception late in the fourth quarter would be seal the upset win for Syracuse.
The Orange offense was nearly flawless in this one. They were led by senior WR Alec Lemon, who had 9 catches for 176 yards, and 2 TDs and running backs Jerome Smith and Tyson Prince-Gulley, who combined 244 yards and 2 scores. However, the star of the game was senior QB Ryan Nassib, who had quite the performance as he threw for 246 yards and 3 TDs in his final game at the dome. Another note, Nassib’s 246 yards passing moved him into second place on Syracuse’s all tI’me passing yards list. He moved ahead of former Syracuse QB Donovan McNabb with 8,460 career passing yards. Nassib, also owns school records for career attempts (1,198) and completions (723), and now looks to break the all time record held by another great former Syracuse, QB Marvin Graves (8,466). Syracuse now will head on the road for two tough games. The first will be against a 5-5 Missouri team, who had a big OT win over Tennessee, in Columbus this Saturday. After that, they head to Philly to play the Temple Owls in their final game as a member of the Big East conference on the day after thanksgiving. If Syracuse can win one of their next two games, they will become bowl eligible for the second time in three years.
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