Running out the clock: Week 2 Edition

News and notes on Syracuse's Week 2 victory over Rhode Island.

-  My recap of Saturday’s game, which was previewed as a blowout in the making but turned into a hard-won 21-14 Orange victory over the Rhode Island Rams.

-  Attendance at the game was billed as 36,421, which seemed high considering the number of empty seats in the Carrier Dome.  

-  Head Coach Doug Marrone said in his postgame press conference that Syracuse went into the game planning to throw as much as possible, and there was a huge difference in each team’s rushing totals. Rhode Island made 34 attempts for 112 yards while Syracuse ran it just 25 times, for 36 total yards.

-  Rhode Island quarterback Steve Probst hit a pooch punt 51 yards. By comparison, the Rams full-time punter Louis Feinstein’s longest boot of the day was only 40 yards.

-  Despite a great individual game with two interceptions, Phillip Thomas deflected questions about his accomplishments and put all his success back on his teammates. It’s a testament to what SU’s coaches have been saying since preseason: that this team has bonded with each other and supports each other on and off the field.

Anthony Baskerville stood out for the Rams Saturday. He recorded seven catches for 88 yards and one touchdown. Still, Rhode Island had only 154 total passing yards; Syracuse’s Van Chew brought in 134 yards alone.

-  Seeing injured Chandler Jones watching the game from the student section was probably a welcome sight for the Rams, but the Orange definitely missed him on the field. While they managed to sack Probst three times, their run defense was shoddy and poor tackling gave Rhode Island some big first-down conversions.

-  Tackling should be a point of emphasis for the team this week, especially as they head west to play USC. Too many defenders tried to bring Probst, a mobile quarterback, down with lazy arm tackles. They rarely worked.

-  The Orange shockingly tried to convert on three fourth downs. While some might have interpreted this as Marrone having faith in the offense, he said after the game that it’s never a good sign to have to go for it on fourth down to keep a drive alive and keep yourselves in the game.

-  After Michael Acchione had the game of his career last week, nabbing his first catch and first touchdown, Marrone said this: “Acchione was a walk-on that became a scholarship player this year. People focus so much on the negative but sometimes there are great stories (like this) that get overshadowed.”

-  On Saturday, the Orange will take on the Southern California Trojans in FOX’s college game of the week at 8 p.m. USC is also 2-0, with victories over Minnesota and Utah. This game will mark the last in a three-week home stand for the Trojans at L.A. Coliseum. Junior quarterback Matt Barkley has amassed 568 passing yards so far this season, with a 70-percent completion rate and only one interception.

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