Bearcats steal candy from Orange

Fifth-ranked Cincinnati forced two Syracuse turnovers in the red zone Saturday afternoon, piling up 422 yards of offense on the way to a 28-7 win.

High-powered Cincinnati made more plays than Syracuse on Saturday, resulting in another Big East victory for the Bearcats (8-0, 4-0 Big East).  The Orange fall to 3-5 overall and remain winless in the Big East (0-3).

COSTUMES:  Several fans got into the spirit of Halloween, participating in the halftime Costume Contest.  Otto the Orange dressed as Spider-Man at the start of the game (also changed into Mickey Mouse and a Viking), was joined by Bamm-Bamm & Pebbles, a replica Otto the Orange, Wolverine, a leprechaun and Batgirl, among others. The overwhelming choice for top costume went to Wolverine, a boy appearing to be no older than 4, who showed off his claws in celebration.

WHO’S #1:  SU wide receiver Mike Williams versus Cincinnati’s Mardy Gilyard. The two top receivers in the Big East (both seniors wear jersey #1), perhaps even the nation, turned in little production through the first three quarters.  Williams, returning from a one-game suspension, got a catch on the second play from scrimmage but didn’t make another snag until the third quarter. He was open twice on the SU drive at the end of the first half, and when Paulus did try and connect, the ball was thrown into double coverage and picked off by the Bearcats. Gilyard fared a bit better, getting touches on kick-offs, inside hand-offs and short receptions (he ended the afternoon with 137 all-purpose yards).  The one highlight for Gilyard came in the second quarter, when he made an over-the-shoulder catch along the sideline with a defensive back interfering with him.

The SU starting quarterback upped his interception total to 11 for the season. Paulus squashed the SU momentum with first-and-goal from the 8-yard line, forcing a throw into double coverage that was picked off right before halftime.  The fans voiced their displeasure in the second half, showering the QB with boos each time he entered the field instead of backup Ryan Nassib. Paulus has been ineffective at passing before:  he averaged just 3.4 assists per game in four years as the point guard at Duke, one of the top programs in the country. The Blue Devil offense averaged 81.1 points per game in 2005-06—Paulus’s first year at point guard—yet he committed 118 turnovers in 1163 minutes, or 3.2 per game.

STARS AND STRIPES: The impartial team on the field—the referees—again found themselves in the center of controversy: after Syracuse halted the UC offense at the 16-yard line, the Bearcats lined up for a field goal attempt.  The ensuing snap was bounced to the holder and Cincy quarterback Zach Collaros, who dashed right and found Kazeem Alli in the end zone.  Problem was the UC snapper was standing next to Alli, an obvious illegal-man-downfield penalty. The SU sideline was irate and head coach Doug Marrone was 15 yards out onto the field, screaming at anyone in stripes. Head referee Gerard McGinn could be seen telling Marrone that no one on the officiating crew saw the lineman down field.  

THEY SAID IT: “A turnover's a turnover, in the red zone,” said SU quarterback Greg Paulus when asked about the two miscues in the red zone Saturday vs. Cincinnati.

"Our linebacker and I zoned off on the inside, I took (Mike Williams) and was able to read the quarterback's eyes to know that was where he was going," said UC safety Drew Frey on his interception of a Paulus pass late in the first half.

“I don’t get paid to think, I get paid to make decisions,” said SU head coach Doug Marrone when asked what he thought about missed call on the botched-field-goal-turned-touchdown by the Bearcats.

Costume Contest winner
Photo by: Mitchell Franz,

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