kcleach's Blog

Syracuse basketball takes transit uptown

Halftime Snack saw simple basketball beat difficult opponents for the Orange men's basketball team this weekend at the 2K Sports Classic Benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer. SU beat ranked opponents from both sides of the country, topping California and North Carolina.

Remember back in gym class, during basketball, when the teacher would assign two people to pick sides? The tallest kids in the class were always picked first. The thought: closer to the basket, the more easily that person would put the ball in.

Halftime Snack read Jonathan Abrams’s article in this morning’s New York Times about the pick-and-roll, and the many NBA players who use the play to get open shots.

Those same thoughts go through the head coaches of the big-time college basketball: what is the easiest shot my team can get? This nightly puzzle was on display at Madison Square Garden Friday night when defending national champion North Carolina played Syracuse in the 2K Sports Classic Benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer.

Carolina brought one of the tallest frontcourts in the country, college or NBA, to the Garden (an average of 6-feet-10 ½ inches per player—OK, we ignored 6-foor-4 senior forward James Gallagher, but he has only logged three minutes this season), and all head coach Roy Williams wanted was to get the ball as close to the rim as possible. Williams gets his Tar Heels to run, run, run, whether it’s after made baskets or, even better, missed ones.

The point guard, in 2008-09 it was the flawless All-American Ty Lawson, pushes the ball towards the rim while the big boys find a defender to make contact with. If the point guard is stopped by the defense from attempting a lay-up, he just drops it to off to a waiting big man, ready to shoot from point-blank range.

The Orange has adhered to parts of the UNC philosophy early this season, taking the steals and rebounds it collects on the defensive end and racing the ball up the floor. By getting a jump on the transition defense, Syracuse always has an extra player advantage with 3-on-2 and 2-on-1 situations.

On Friday night it was Jim Boeheim and the Syracuse high-flyers who solved the puzzle. UNC kept committing careless turnovers (you can’t shoot the ball if you don’t have it) and the Cuse used its formula to post a 22-1 run at the start of the second half.  The flurry of points was capped by a Scoop Jardine teardrop shot in the lane over the UNC trees; cries of "Scoooooooooooop” from the Orange-oriented crowd rang through the Garden rafters. Syracuse took the Coaches vs. Cancer championship, winning 87-71.

Two games against top-10 teams and you put up 90.5 points per game? The SU transit offense is Coach Boeheim's ticket uptown; he sure picked the right kids for his side.

Football Friday - Rutgers

The bruised and battered Orange (3-7 overall, 0-5 Big East) plays No. 25 Rutgers (7-2, 2-2) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, the final college football game in the Carrier Dome this season. Here’s hoping for more highlights from Delone Carter and fewer from Rob Long.

"Although we've come 'til the end of the road / still I can't let go," sang Boyz II Men. Another SU football season closes.

LONG EXONERATION: SU head coach Doug Marrone started his weekly press conference with another impassioned speech in support of a scrutinized player. This time, holder Rob Long, known in national circles as an All-American candidate at punter, was at the center of the game-deciding play at Louisville last Saturday. Following the game, Marrone said that Long had dropped the snap on the extra-point attempt following Delone Carter’s touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Further evaluation prompted Coach Marrone to change his mind, letting the media know it was the a wild snap by second-string snapper Max Leo, who was forced into action after starter Dalton Phillips was hurt on the previous kickoff. For some happy news on Long (who was involved in more than one crucial special teams play Saturday), check out Donnie Webb’s profile of the punter in the Post-Standard (hint: Long can kick a ball up to the speakers in the Dome).

STUFFED SIDELINE: A total of seven upperclassmen (two current seniors and five going-to-be's) will watch from the Orange bench Saturday. The Grim Reaper infiltrated the Orange roster the last three weeks, picking off defensive tackle Art Jones and, just recently, leading tackler Derrell Smith, ending their seasons via injury. Also cut down were starting strong safety Max Suter, big right tackle Jonathan Meldrum, tight end Cody Catalina (already replacing the injured Nick Provo), Mike Jones, and the aforementioned Phillips.

DIRTY JERZ: This weekend's Dome visitors, the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers, have elevated their football program up, up and away, sitting a couple levels higher than the hometown squad. But the pride of the New Jersey state education system is not without its critics, who point to the salary of head coach Greg Schiano and his use of a helicopter for recruiting.

DANCE, DANCE: Halftime Snack is admittedly late to a new dance, the Stanky Legg, made famous by the rap group, GS BOYZ. Highlighted by an awkward knee bend and the reverse Humpty Hump shake, the flair and ingenuity makes us long for football leagues to allow the players a chance to celebrate touchdowns. The emotional release of crossing the goal line is already accelerated by stadium fireworks, music from speakers or a band and full-throated crowds; let the players express join the fun. Might even start a new dance!


            Game: Rutgers 31, Syracuse 10 – Another weekend with no clue where SU touchdowns could come from. The Scarlet Knights can put eight, and even nine, players in the box to stop Delone Carter and the dink-and-dunk SU offense. Let’s just enjoy the band playing the alma mater for one more week and start the countdown to the fall 2010.

            Game of the Week: Kansas at Texas. The Longhorns (10-0) should be kept awake against the Jayhawks—the KU football team dotted publications all over the country in 2008 while Texas is still trying to figure out how it couldn’t get in the Big 12 championship game. Star quarterback Colt McKoy has a chance to add a four-touchdown game to his Heisman Trophy resume. Ol’ Colt won't come up short on this shot at a national title. (Longhorns 42, Kansas 17)

            Campus Quirk: We finally get why all the lovely ladies on campus sport those rubber rain boots. The drainage system along Crouse and University avenues has limited capabilities, creating rivers off each curb that span almost two feet. Halftime Snack was confused, though, by the lack of rubber boots before Thursday’s rain—just more of those fluffy snow boots that will not be named.

            They Said It: ““I’d rather play at the Garden every day. ” —Orange point guard Scoop Jardine, who crossed up the World’s Most Famous Arena Thursday night. It’s nearly impossible for Syracuse to play a better basketball game than it did in a 95-73 win over ranked California. Read the account on SI.com.

It's a basketball bonanza

College basketball season hits its stride today with 24-hour coverage by ESPN.

It’s a good day when SU sophomore Lynnae Lampkins is the main photo on the local paper; basketball season is speeding up court in the same manner as the fast Orange point guard.

ESPN has put the pedal-to-the-metal with college basketball coverage, broadcasting 24 consecutive hours of action. Its second year of round-the-clock basketball started in Los Angeles last night with Cal-State Fullerton showing the rest of the country how far UCLA has fallen. Read the ESPN release on its 38 hours of total coverage across the various platforms.

Before the ESPN roundball rotunda started, Lampkins and her teammates posted another victory in the Dome on Monday night, zooming past visiting Presbyterian College, 97-56. It was the most points scored by the Orange women in the Carrier Dome.

Lampkins, harnessed by FDU’s extended zone looks last Friday, got her engine running against PC. The silky soph scored 12 points in 15 minutes, hitting all three of her attempts from beyond the arc while collecting a pair of steals with two assists. Full box score. (pdf)

Halftime Snack is guilty of altering Tuesday’s schedule to fit in more basketball. After coffee and Cheerios with Drexel at Niagara this morning (Bruiser, your man was in-bounds on the rebound, despite LaPhonso Ellis’s blind analysis), we got bored with Clemson at Liberty. The action should pick up with Northeastern at Siena at noon (read Tyler Dunne’s pre-season story about the Saints in The Daily Orange). 

The Bird Library beckons Halftime Snack this afternoon—would like to see Greg Monroe from Georgetown show Temple how to run the Princeton offense—leaving plenty of time tonight to get early look at potential Elite Eight teams like Connecticut, Gonzaga, Louisville, Michigan State and Kansas.

Full speed ahead!

(Lampkins photo courtesy of SUathletics.com)

The 10 things Halftime Snack did rather than watch SU football

The forecast was a dreary one Saturday, both in eastern New York weather and on the football field in Louisville, Ky. The two truths held up: Saratoga County got drizzle all day, while the Orange and the Cardinals slogged to a 10-9 score (in favor of Louisville).

Instead of watching the two teams work on punting the football, Halftime Snack found distractions elsewhere:

1. OK, we were following the football game on this wonderful invention called radio! The Syracuse radio station WTKW-FM (99.5) is the home of Orange sports, a place where Matt Park ’97, the “Voice of the Orange,” and former SU All-American Chris Gedney can be heard. “Boundary” Park made a dreadful first half less than a snooze, seemingly poking at Gedney to inject any type of analysis. There was nothing to analyze and Gedney saved his best lines for the “Professor Gedney” segment where he hands out grades for the different phases of the SU performance.

2. Before leaving the house, Halftime Snack washed the dishes, took out the garbage and shrunk our carbon footprint with some good old-fashioned recycling.

3. Put snow tires on the car. Halftime Snack has gambled thus far, waiting rather late in the season to make the switch to winter safety. All this warm weather is the calm before the big snow storm.

4. After the radio station faded out around Little Falls, N.Y. (once considered the linchpin for a travel in the Eastern United States), we threw in Pearl Jam’s newest CD, “Backspacer.” PJ closed down the Spectrum in Philadelphia over Halloween weekend, and thankfully Eddie Vedder and company went back to the alternative rock roots. We recommend the slow track No. 5, called “Just Breathe.”

5. Wrote an article for Advanced Writing 617 class about campaign financing. Took Professor Gingerich’s advice and took a national story (NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg), and paralleled it with a local story (the Syracuse three-horse mayoral race).

6. While writing the wonderful “document” story, Halftime Snack indulged in a podcast of “The Preston and Steve Show,” the top morning show in Philadelphia that is broadcast on WMMR-FM (93.3).

7. Upon arrival in Saratoga County, Halftime Snack clicked on the Ohio State – Iowa college football game with the sweet sounds of Newhouse alum Sean McDonough on the mic.

8. Went to dinner with Mother at the C&R Restaurant. Had the hot turkey sandwich with gravy and a Scotch whiskey on the rocks.

9. Played with two family dogs, ZuZu and Merlin. Everyone needs a canine in their life.

10. And finally, read Arthur Krystal's research article in the November 16 edition of The New Yorker on the screen-writing career of F. Scott Fitzgerald. A must-read for any student deep into graduate-level research project.

Football Friday - Louisville

The Orange (3-6, 0-4 Big East) travel to Louisville (3-6, 0-4) Saturday for a noon game that will be broadcast on BIG EAST Network.

Syracuse football is a wounded deer, limping into the Southern zone this mid-November. Players are hurt, players have left and so has the attention. When Halftime Snack feels the blues, we turn to music.  What songs are out there:

I CAN’T DRIVE 55: Sammy Hagar’s fast paced number hasn’t been referenced in New York papers this much since Michael Jordan made a triumphant return to Madison Square Garden. Coming out of his first retirement in 1995, Mike dropped a double-nickel on the Knicks. The Daily Orange and the Post-Standard had that number in nearly every article about the Pittsburgh game. Check out Haggar’s driving.

FIXING A HOLE: The Beatles hit from the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album is the ring tone on head coach Doug Marrone’s cell phone. OK, that statement has no factual merit, but it’s a easy sing that lifts your mood. Marrone's injury-riddled group bears little resemblance to the squad he spent the summer molding. The latest big move was inserting third-string running back Averin Collier at tight end (fancy pants name: “U” tight end).

JUMP AROUND:  The football team’s drama has been wiped off by the high-wire act taking place on the Carrier Dome hardcourt this week. Perhaps inspired by this 1990s House of Pain joint, the Syracuse men’s basketball team looked like the Harlem Globetrotters in wins over Albany and Robert Morris. Halftime Snack especially loves the two-foot, one-hand Statue of Liberty dunk that Wes Johnson has been serving on defenders. Watch my man Everlast get his career started in a Larry Bird jersey.

RUSSIAN ROULETTE; Rihanna is back, gracing the cover of Glamour, after a well-publicized beating. And so are the two Syracuse quarterbacks, who thus far have run a battered Orange offense. “Take a breath, take it deep, calm yourself,” the beauty sings on her hit single. Greg Paulus and Ryan Nassib have combined to complete 35 of 59 passes (59.3%) in two road games in 2009, amassing just 88 passing yards per game with one touchdown and five interceptions. Play this at halftime on Saturday for comfort.


            Louisville 6, Syracuse 0  - Welcome to the bottom of the Big East. I just hope Delone Carter is not the next senior getting a visit from the Reeper. The race is on between Marrone bringing in his own talented players and the end of the world (according to the Mayan calendar, it is 2012). Who will win? We'll take Coach Marrone.

            Game of the Week – Steve Spurrier's Gamecocks chomp a piece out of the visiting Gators. Pete Thamel of The New York Times recently wrote about there being "no elite team that scintillates the masses."

            Heisman Watch – Freshman wow! Pittsburgh running back Dion Lewis makes faster cuts than any college back since LaDainian Tomlinson was raising up dust storms in west Texas. Are Tony Dorsett’s Pitt records safe? (UPDATE: Halftime Snack had incorrectly stated Noel Devine was the Pittsburgh running back - we regret this error.)

            They Said It – ““If you’re watching the news and this comes on, turn the channel.” —Lousiville basketball coach Rick Pitino, talking about his adultery scandal, and not the football game on campus this weekend.

            "I think I'd have moved it.“ —Mike Pereira, head of NFL’s referees, conceding that Donovan McNabb got robbed of valuable yardage on a sneak against the Cowboys.

Whiteboard Video: Cincinnati's fourth down touchdown

Halftime Snack's Kyle Leach explains how a botched field goal attempt turned into another TD in last week's game against Cincinnati.

Click Here for coverage of SU vs. Cincinnati

Syracuse Vs. Cincinnati: Halftime Snack Whiteboard from NewsHouse on Vimeo.

Orange feel it in the Pitt of stomach

Delone Carter ripped of a career-best 58-yard run to start the game. And there’s not much to say after that. Syracuse lost to first-place Pittsburgh, 37-10, Saturday afternoon at sunny Heinz Field.

Sometimes, less is not more. With fewer players, a limited playbook and no roof over their heads, Syracuse football had little to fight with against the Panthers Saturday afternoon.


CURSE OF GREG: The legacy of Greg Robinson still haunts the program into November. The new Greg in town, Mr. Paulus, found himself bent over the sink, splashing water on his face to wake up from the nightmarish first half Saturday afternoon in Pittsburgh: the deft ball fake freezes even his own receivers, the tipped pass turns into an interception TD return (by another Greg, Pitt's Williams), the intentional grounding penalty, and then holding the ball for a long sack. Splash that water, three more games left.

GAME OF THE WEEK: Ohio State at Penn State – Halftime Snack was so consumed with the World Series, we forgot to put out a national focus prediction. Even though the baseball crown traveled north to a new, yet familiar, home, the party remains in Pennsylvania. Terrell Pryor, a legendary two-sport schoolboy from the Keystone State, brings the Ohio State Buckeyes home with him to face another strong Joe Paterno team. Darryl Clark is a Donovan McNabb clone, headed toward a Big Ten Player of the Year award, while the real Super 5 tries to go to 3-0 in the NFC East against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night. The Buckeyes need a big play to win at State College. Look for it to come from the OSU defense.

WHO PLAYS IN THE DOME? Pitt special teams battled the sun Saturday afternoon, making adventures out of three kick returns. First Cameron Saddler catches a kick off and immediately steps out of bounds, then Aaron Smith drops a fair catch on a punt, followed by Sadler trying to use his facemask to field a punt of his own. Even Lucy came out with a tee to hold the kick for Charlie Brown: Pitt needed a man to hold the opening kickoff.

BREEDERS’ CUP: New York Racing Association is in a bad spot in trying to acquire a chance to host the richest day in horse racing. The weather in the northeast part of the U.S. usually ranges between cold and colder, yet this weekend temperatures approached 60 degrees with a high sun. Global warming is helping someone.

CONGRATULATIONS, COACH: To accumulate 800 victories, you must motivate. Coach Boeheim probably wanders through, up and around DeWitt on his nightly drive home. The Jesuit of Le Moyne stares down the hill and Dolphins cascade over his hood as Coach B prepares for the home opener versus Albany Monday night. He made a sacrifice (played man-to-man defense) and has felt loss (three top scorers from ’08-’09), but Coach Boeheim will again have the last laugh, winning at least once in the NCAA Tournament at season’s close.

THEY SAID IT: "The year is not what we want it to be. We're 3-6 now, we can still finish this year at 6-6." SU head coach Doug Marrone, recalling what he said to the team after the game. On cue, the SU logo background at the post-game press conference fell down behind him.

"I've never looked up there. Only to see the down and distance, the time and the score." Quarterback Greg Paulus when asked if he ever looks up to see himself at the JumboTron.

Football Friday - Pittsburgh

The Syracuse football team flows down one of the three rivers into Pittsburgh on Saturday. A game is the best thing for this troubled squad.

This road trip, ironically also to western Pennsylvania, is just the second away game for the Orange (3-5, 0-3 Big East). The Pittsburgh Panthers are tied for first place in the Conference at 4-0, with a 7-1 overall mark and No. 14 ranking.

MIKE WILLIAMS: He left. Halftime Snack has a replacement.

1959: For the eighth game of the season, the Syracuse football team celebrated its new No. 1 ranking by taking on in-state rival Colgate. A long football tradition existed between the two schools, with the Red Raiders spoiling perfect Orange seasons at least five times. The atmosphere leading up to the game filled with pomp and splendor. Co-eds on both sides engaged in various traditions, including scalping. (see below)

The SU football team, ranked tops in the nation for scoring (33.9 points per game), offensive (420.3) and defensive yardage (101.4), showed no mercy toward Colgate, winning 71-0. It was the ninth-largest margin of victory in school history. And get this: the Monday edition of The Daily Orange had no recap of the slaughter. OK, poor word choice, just jump to the SCALPING SCARE, two topics down.

The school paper cut the issue, saving the money for the impending Cotton Bowl issue. Check out the 2009-10 basketball guide that “just dropped” with photography by Mitchell Franz.

DEPTH PERCEPTION: Five more players (one quitter, three suspensions and an injury) will be unavailable for Sunday’s game in Pittsburgh. Coach Doug Marrone started the season with a speedy roster, but the suspensions  will bring slower players onto a field full of Panthers. As I’ve heard, though, what’s better than one Will Dugan?

SCALPING SCARE: Marv Albert ’64, the longtime voice of the New York Knicks (and most of professional basketball, for that matter), got a handful of bylines in his first semester on campus (fall of 1959). Here’s Marvelous covering the scalpings: “For some reason, though, the students who are in the process of taking an involuntary haircut don’t seem to be enjoying themselves—not even a crack of a smile is evident. Oh well—they’re just sore losers…” (The Daily Orange, Nov. 13, 1959, pg. 3)


            Game: Pitt 37, Syracuse 6 – Unless Delone Carter gets 30 carries or Mike Jones runs back a kick, the Orange won’t find paydirt. Potent running games run time off the clock. “Fact of the matter is, your chances of going up against that mob, and coming back, is as slim as a garter snake,” Butch, from HBO’s “The Wire,” said to Omar, sitting on a bench discussing how to jump Avon Barksdale in the third season. Halftime Snack is hooked.

            Heisman Trophy: Let’s look at a freshman running back that made the home fans forget about the last guy who was drafted in the NFL. Pitt fireplug Dion Lewis just got named a semifinalist for the Maxwell Award, given to the College Player of Year. Read about the history of this “other” award.

              The Year of the Woman: Congratulations to SU graduate Stephanie Miner, who was the first female elected mayor of Syracuse on Tuesday night, joining Susan B. Anthony, SU Chancellor Nancy Cantor, former N.Y. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Harleigh Chwastyk as pioneering local women. OK, the last one is a bit of nepotism, but who cares: congratulations on the first playoff win in Swarthmore volleyball history, Big Sister, a 3-1 win over Muhlenberg on Wednesday night!

               They Said It:

                            “You can never know enough smart people,” Christie Hefner, former president of Playboy in Newhouse III on Wednesday night

                             “All of my friends come to see me last night,” Jerry Garcia, Black Peter.”


Halftime Snack still has football eligibility

Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone announced Monday that star wide receiver Mike Williams quit the team. Halftime Snack reaches out to Coach Marrone.

Re: Immediate vacancy. wide receiver, Orange football team

Dear head coach Doug Marrone,

My name is Kyle Leach and I am a master’s candidate at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. I recently heard there was an opening at wide receiver on the Syracuse University football team, and given the program’s new precedent of recruiting former college basketball players for the football team, I thought it would be prudent to alert you of my football skills.

Some of my athletic qualifications you would be interested in:  I am 6-foot-5, 240 lbs.  I played college basketball at a private four-year research university. The team made the NCAA tournament twice and an appearance in the national semifinal during my senior season. I made over 60 starts and led the team in turnovers (above the 90-mark in 26 games freshman year) and charges drawn. All answers to your words of inspiration this week: “What more would you ask for if someone give you everything they had?”

More of my formidable education points to the graduate student-transfer-hoopster you wish you had more of: my college basketball coach started his coaching career at a military school (Navy), beat that plebe coach over at Army and won the 1991 national championship. And I was a captain who got benched his senior year. I can stand strong the tough moments that are athletics: loss, injury, departed teammates. 

Your quote about my classmate Greg Paulus included words I sought from my coach: “I just know that I love the players on our football team and I just want everybody to know how much I love my players.”

I know a lot about the love around football: I was involved in the Rochester football program for all four years, moving up the depth chart.  A starter on the chain gang, I moved up to program distribution and locked down head student worker the final two years. The fabled football fraternity on campus, Theta Delta Chi, extended an invitation to pledge their ranks during sophomore year, and AC/DC’s “Back in Black” never sounded the same. I’m familiar with throwing the football, should you want to do something in the “Stallion” with my skills; I once out-threw the university backup quarterback in an old-fashioned game of “Over that House.” 

Syracuse is now “New York’s Team,” it can take in another local product. I scored 1,000 points in a New York State public school, twice earning All-State honors and selection for the USA Today top-50 high school players in New York. I have a New York State Regents diploma.  Did they have one at your school in the Bronx?

I am familiar with other New York cities, including Syracuse. I’ve played in the Carrier Dome twice already. My big friend, Craig Forth, won a national championship here. I even played a high school All-Star game at the Great New York State Fair, but this was before SU Athletics came over to sell tickets. My workouts during the fall have consisted of H-O-R-S-E games every week over on Roosevelt Street, sometimes down at Barry Park. Due to my schoolwork and heavy course load, I was forced to cancel an appearance at Patrick Alvarez’s charity basketball game benefiting hunger on Sunday.

What you say about education—it reminds me of my class attendance policy in graduate school: “They have a responsibility; I want to make sure they go to class.”

I would make a strong addition to your family, on and off the field.  Give me this chance, Coach.

As always, best of luck with the rest of your 2009 schedule.



PS – My academic clock may have expired (check the NCAA regulations) but I’m confident Syracuse can be the first to have this situation too. Grant me this chance and I will not run away from you (like Mike WIlliams, #1).


Photo by Mitchell Franz, TheNewshouse.com

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, TheNewshouse.com