Brushing away the Raiders

SU running back Delone Carter runs for four touchdowns as the Orange crush Colgate 42-7.

It was an eventful day for football Saturday at the Carrier Dome. Members of the 1984 Syracuse team that defeated then number one Nebraska at the Carrier Dome were honored for Legends Day. It was also the renewal of a Central New York football rivalry as the Colgate Raiders made a visit to play Syracuse for the first time since 1987.

Photo: David Trotman-Wilkens
Delone Carter runs into the endzone for Syracuse's first score in their win against Colgate. The orange are currently 3-1.

One man stole the show however to create his own gridiron memories. Senior running back Delone Carter used his powerful legs and slick moves to spearhead the Orange to a 42-7 victory over Colgate. The 5-9, 220-pounder rushed for 172 yards and four touchdowns on just 14 carries.

This was the eighth time in his career Carter has rushed for over 100 yards. Coming into the game, Carter was averaging 82.3 yards through three games. Not too shabby, but still, something wasn’t right. He still did not have that signature run or game to show that his name should be mentioned among the top running backs in the Big East.

Carter never doubted himself and gave credit to a renewed focus of the offensive line.

“I just had the opportunity to get in the rhythm,” Carter said. “I knew it was a matter of time. Just getting used to everybody. Me and the o-line played well. It wasn’t a surprise or shock. This is what we work for.”

Carter didn’t have a chance to get into that rhythm early on though due to a change in the team's offensive approach. Head coach Doug Marrone was impressed with Carter’s output despite his staff's decision to try out a no-huddle offense early on.

“We started off in our no-huddle offense and we made some assignment errors,” Marrone said. “He’s not in that particular no-huddle offense. It was just a matter of opportunity. He was able to get outside and not make those hard cuts. We’ve been working on him being a little bit slower to the hole and letting things develop.”

After a slow start for both teams, Syracuse broke loose after a 24-yard touchdown run by Carter with 4:51 remaining in the first quarter. Carter ran off the right side for his first carry of more than 20 yards this season.

The Raiders continued with their methodical style of play during the period. Colgate head coach Dick Biddle used a good mixture of quarterback Greg Sullivan and running back Nate Eachus on option plays but to no avail. The Raiders ran 42 plays in the first half, but had nothing to show for it on the scoreboard.

Syracuse, who had just six minutes of possession over the first two quarters, continued their quick drives as junior quarterback Ryan Nassib threw a pass over the middle to fellow junior, running back Antwon Bailey. Bailey ran 37 yards, diving into the end zone to give SU a 14-0 lead.  Bailey had two receptions on the day for 68 yards.

Despite the two touchdown lead, Marrone was far from excited. He left the locker room early during halftime.

“It’s not like you wave a magic wand,” he said. “My approach at halftime is to just be truthful with the football team. I said, 'at the end of the day, this is your team. You need to stay in here and get yourself ready to go out.'”

SU did just that coming out of the tunnel. Carter continued his onslaught on the ground with a 9-yard touchdown run up the middle, making it a 21-0 game.

Raiders can't find momentum

It seemed as if Colgate tried to make it a fight after a 14-yard touchdown strike from Sullivan to Doug Rosnick on fourth down but it was ruled incomplete.

Colgate got the ball back after stopping SU's lively ground game, but could not muster any momentum as senior cornerback Da’Mon Merkerson picked off Sullivan.

It would be more Carter on the ensuing drive. He ran 45 yards on four carries to set up his series-capping, 12-yard touchdown run up the middle as a Colgate defender could only hold on to the number three on the back of his jersey.

Eachus rumbled for a 12-yard touchdown to put the Red Raiders on the scoreboard in the fourth. It would be all for naught, as Carter capped off the afternoon with an 18-yard scamper to the right. Freshman running back Prince Tyson-Gulley scored his first collegiate touchdown on an 8-yard run to make it 42-7.

On the day, Nassib completed 8-of-15 passes for 169 yards. Freshman linebacker Marquis Spruill led the defense with 12 tackles.

Looking at the time of the possession, it would seem that Colgate dominated the Syracuse defense. They had the ball for over 44 minutes compared to Syracuse’s 15:34. The Orange defense did hold Colgate to only five third-down conversions on 18 attempts.

“We only gave up one touchdown,” Marrone said. “I’m excited about that. Forty minutes is a long time for a defense to be on the field.”

Syracuse has a bye week coming up and will start Big East play when they visit South Florida in Tampa on October 9. After the game, Carter had the aura of a man ready to shock the conference.

“Just look out,” he said. “You can count us out, but we’re not counting ourselves out. We’re going to prove you wrong.”

Antwon the Showman

Antwon Bailey made perhaps the play of the day with his nose-diving touchdown in the second quarter.

Bailey said he envisioned the play before kick-off. His running mate Delone Carter said that’s just his personality.

“I knew that when Antwon gets near that end zone, he sees the cameras lighting up,” Carter said. “I told him when he got back to the sidelines, you’re a clown. I expect something spectacular every time he gets his hands on the ball.”

Bailey played coy, opting instead to praise the running tandem.

“It was a great scheme by the coaches,” Bailey said. “The quarterback made a great read. I had two defenders coming. It was the best way to get in. Whatever it takes. That’s what we practice and strive for everyday. When we’re out there, the D should be sweating.”


Chandler Jones and the Syracuse defense tackle Colgate's Nate Eachus after a short gain at the Carrier Dome Saturday afternoon Sept. 25th. (Photo: David Trotman-Wilkens)

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