jflaboon's Blog

Toledo wants Saturday's game vacated

The University of Toledo filed a formal request to the Mid-American Conference to have their loss to Syracuse vacated.

The Big East announced Saturday night that Syracuse kicker Ross Krautman missed an extra point in the final minutes of the game. Game officials reviewed the attempt at the time, but did not overturn the call.

Toledo's athletic director Mike O'Brien filed a request to the commissioner of the Mid-American Conference, John Steinbrecher, to contact the Big East Conference and have the victory granted to the Rockets, according to Toledo Athletics.

The extra point gave Syracuse a 30-27 lead with 2:07 left in the game. Toledo marched down the field after the official's review and notched a field goal in the closing seconds to send the game into overtime. If the official overturned the call, that field goal would have given the Rockets the win in regulation. Instead, Syracuse defeated Toledo in overtime on a field goal from Krautman. 

If you watch the replay closely, you can clearly see the ball does not disappear behind the upright on the left of the screen. 


Video from the Big East.

SU and Pitt heading to ACC

It's official, the Atlantic Coast Conference officially accepted the applications Syracuse University and the University of Pittsburgh Sunday morning.

The Atlantic Coast Conference confirmed during a teleconference Sunday what everyone in the country already assumed, Syracuse and Pittsburgh are joining the conference. The most telling note to take away from the announcement, though, is that the ACC and both schools said they intend to honor their contractual commitments to the Big East Conference, which include staying in the conference 27 months after notifying the league of a move. Syracuse accepted the invitation. 

Mike Krzyzewski, head coach of Duke basketball, praised the additions of Pitt and SU.

"I am so proud of (ACC Commissioner) John Swofford and the leadership of the Atlantic Coast Conference being proactive at a time of tremendous change in intercollegiate athletics," he said. "For us to have such strong leadership in place within our conference is magnificent. The addition of two prestigious academic institutions such as the University of Pittsburgh and Syracuse University, coupled with their great tradition in athletics, is a real coup for the ACC."

Coach K loves the move. Tell us your opinion.  

Reports continue to surface, SU seems ACC bound

The Atlantic Coast Conference announced a Sunday morning teleconference in what many believe will be the official acceptance of Syracuse and Pittsburgh into the conference.

Absolutely stunning. This time yesterday, Syracuse and Pittsburgh were full-fledged members of the Big East Conference. Now? That's debatable. 

Pete Thamel first reported around midnight Friday the two schools were in talks with the Atlantic Coast Conference.

In the past 24 hours since his first report, we have learned the following:

1. Both schools already submitted application letters to join the ACC. Multiple schools talked to the ACC, but only Pitt and SU submitted applications. - Gary Parrish, CBSSports.com

2. John Marinatto, commissioner of the Big East Conference, admitted he had no clue the schools were planning a move. 

3. The president of Florida State University confirmed both applied for admission into the conference. - Aaron Beard, Associated Press

4. The ACC voted Saturday morning to admit Pitt and SU. - Kelly Whiteside, USA Today

5. The ACC has now announced a 9:30 a.m. teleconference for Sunday in what many assume will be the official announcement. 

Some logistics to note, a school needs to provide a 27-month warning and pay a $5 million exit fee before leaving the Big East Conference. 

Oh, and by the way, Syracuse lost to Southern Cal tonight, 38-17. 

SU and Pitt rumored to be in talks with the ACC

The New York Times reports the two Big East schools have talked about leaving for the ACC.

Syracuse became one of the seven founding members of the Big East Conference in 1979. Three years later, the University of Pittsburgh joined to become the ninth team in the conference. Both schools, though, are currently in talks with the Atlantic Coast Conference, Pete Thamel of the New York Times reports. Losing SU and Pitt would significantly damage the Big East. Neither school has offered a comment at this time. 

SU nearly joined the ACC in 2003 along with Boston College and Miami, but a push by the Virginia legislature led the conference to invite Virginia Tech as the final expansion team instead of Syracuse. 

Running out the clock: Week 1 Edition

News and notes from Syracuse’s Week 1 victory against Wake Forest.

- My recap of last night’s game, which SU won 36-29 in overtime. “And if you wound up leaving, you missed a great game.” – Doug Marrone

- Paid attendance was 40,833. Quite a few fans headed for the exits after Antwon Bailey fumbled the ball in SU territory to start the fourth quarter, but some late heroics made this a memorable home opener.

- SU had a whopping two-first downs in the first half, but finished with 15, including seven in the fourth quarter. Defensively, SU allowed only three first downs in the second half.    

- The Orange punted only once in the second half after six times in the first. At least we know special teams got enough minutes. The unit only allowed 12 return yards on seven punts.  

- Not a good performance on third-down for the offense. The team converted on only 3 of 11 attempts. A .273 conversion percentage won’t fly with such a veteran offense.

- The defense struggled to stop Michael Campanaro, who had 7 receptions for 79 yards and 1 touchdown. Campanaro plays out of the flanker position, which is a wide receiver lined up off the line of scrimmage. This could be a weakness.  

- Fullback Adam Harris scored his first career touchdown last night on a 2-yard pass from Ryan Nassib. The team voted Harris a team captain before the regular season.   

- Wake Forest quarterback Tanner Price went down in the fourth quarter. Defensive end Chandler Jones recapped the play in the postgame:

“There was a story with that. I wrapped around, actually it was a holding call. My coaches always tell me if I think I’m getting held to keep running, if you run the referees will call it. So I was running, I was wrapping around but as he was holding me he had to let me go. As he let me go, all the momentum that I had went right to the quarterback’s legs. So I hope he’s alright, I hope he’ll be back for the season. But when the quarterback went down, that’s when I felt like that was our time to just take it up a notch and start to get the ball moving.”

- Antwon Bailey rushed for 123 yards on 25 carries, including 2 touchdowns. Alec Lemon led the team with 7 receptions. Ryan Nassib threw for 178 yards and 3 touchdowns with a .714 completion percentage.

- Strong safety Shamarko Thomas lead the team with 10 tackles. Linebackers Dyshawn Davis and Marquis Spruill each had 8 tackles.  

- Bailey is the first SU player to rush for over 100 yards in a season opener since Walter Reyes ran for 191 in the 2003 season opener against North Carolina – oddly enough, the ’03 opener was the last time Syracuse defeated a team from the Atlantic Coast Conference before Thursday.  

- Syracuse evened the all-time series with Wake Forest at 1 win each. No future game is currently scheduled between the programs.

- Next week the Orange host the Rhode Island Rams out of the Division I Football Championship Subdivision. The Rams went 5-6 last season. Quarterback Steve Probst amassed 600 rushing yards last season in addition to his 1,876 yards through the air. The linebackers need to play a large role for the Orange to contain Probst. The game is slated for a 4:30 p.m. start in the Carrier Dome and will air on TWC Sports.     

The “Old Gold and Black” invades Orange Country

Syracuse starts the 2011 regular season at home against Wake Forest, and Doug Marrone and company hope to open strong by shedding their woes at home.

Syracuse University’s first bowl win in nine years ushered in a new era for the Orange, or at least, fan hope it did. The win came in the inaugural after a controversial penalty helped SU hold on to beat Kansas State, earning them an 8-5 record, the program’s best finish since 2001.

Doug MarroneBut while SU fulfilled two big goals in 2010 by finishing above .500 and winning a bowl game, head coach Doug Marrone has his eyes set on winning consistently.

“We are trying to change the culture of our football program so that a couple of years from now I am going to stand up and say we have done this and we have done that and recent history will be on our side,” Marrone said in his press conference Saturday. “That is the greatest challenge we have as a program.”

Thursday marks the first opportunity for SU to continue moving forward as Wake Forest University visits the Carrier Dome for a primetime game on ESPN3.com. A home game against a team that finished 3-9 last season is hardly a test, but considering SU’s lackluster record against the Atlantic Coast Conference, Wake certainly offers a challenge. SU’s last win against an ACC team came in 2003 when Boston College, Miami University, Temple University, and Virginia Tech were still full-fledged members of the Big East. Their losing streak against ACC teams at home stretches much farther.

Marrone hopes to return to the days when teams feared visiting the Dome. The squad’s lone home wins last season came against a pair of Division I Football Championship Subdivision teams, Maine and Colgate.

“What I think we forget sometimes, or take for granted, is that from 1983-2004 we never had a losing record at home,” Marrone said. “That is what we want to do with this football program is get back to that consistency that we had shown in the ‘80s and ‘90s with our program.”

For the Orange to start the 2011 campaign strong at home, though, the defense needs to pressure Wake’s quarterback Tanner Price early and often. Price started nine games for the Demon Deacons last season as a true freshman. Much of Wake’s success will depend on how he develops in his second senior under center.

Price will be protected by an experienced offensive line composed of four seniors and one junior. Syracuse right end senior, Chandler Jones, should command much of their attention. Jones led the team with 4.0 sacks last season and made 9.5 tackles for a loss, second only to former-linebacker Doug Hogue.

Mikhail Marinovich (Sr., left end), Marquis Spruill (So., MLB), Phillip Thomas (Jr., FS), and Shamarko Thomas (So., SS) join Jones as the only returning starters on SU’s defense.

But the rest of the defense won’t just be a group of underclassmen as seniors Dan Vaughn (LOLB), Kevyn Scott (CB), and Deon Goggins (NT) take over as starters. Marrone expects the competition for starting nose tackle to continue into the regular season.

“The last scrimmage we had, the Ernie Davis scrimmage, he really played well,” Marrone said of Goggins. “It is almost like that is when the light came on and you are hoping that light stays on. We are excited because we needed him to step up, but we will have a lot of people playing in that position until someone emerges or someone who deserves more playing time.”

Senior quarterback Ryan Nassib leads an offensive unit returning eight starters. Antwon Bailey (Sr., RB) adds a dual-threat to the offense in taking the place of Delone Carter. As Carter’s backup in 2010, Bailey rushed for 554 yards and pulled in 35 receptions, second to senior wideout Van Chew.

The offense faces a 3-4 defense led by Kyle Wilber (Sr., ROLB). Wilber shined with the new scheme last season, leading the team with 6.0 sacks. SU’s offensive line will have a difficult time containing Wilber, but if they can, it should put them in a good position to win.

While Wake may not have finished with the best record last season, Marrone won’t take them lightly.

“I think the scenario of a team coming off a disappointing season; they will be ready to play,” he said of the Demon Deacons. “A team coming off a winning season, it really does not mean that much to us right now what we did last year. It is what we have been preparing for and how we have been preparing for Thursday night. That is what we have been trying to focus on with our players.”

Syracuse vs. Wake Forest, Thursday at 8 p.m. in the Carrier Dome

TV/Web: ESPN3.com

Your 2011 team captains and injury updates

A trio of seniors take over as captains and an update on the injury front.

Runningback Antwon Bailey, cornerback Kevyn Scott, and fullback Adam Harris will be SU's team captains for the upcoming season. Bailey will represent the offense, Scott the defense, and Harris special teams. Their teammates selected the trio in a team vote. 


Bailey, a senior back from Landover, Maryland, accumlated 1,087 rushing yards and in his first three seasons at SU. Bailey takes over the starting role from Delone Carter. Bailey can hurt defenses on both the ground and in the passing game, making him a valuable dual threat to the offense. Last season, he brought in 35 receptions for 306 yards and 3 touchdowns, all career highs. 


Scott, a graduate student defensiveback from Tamarac, Florida, missed nine of SU's 13 games last season with an injury. He's intercepted three passes in his SU career and made 61 total tackles. 


Harris, a senior from Towanda, Pennsylvania, transferred to SU from Cornell and joined the team as a walk-on linebacker in 2009. He switched to fullback prior to the 2010 season. He rushed for 21 yards on 8 carries and caught 4 passes for 36 yards last season.


In injury news, freshman cornerback Jaston George suffered a groin injury Thursday. He will be out of action indefinitely.

Here's the current list of player injuries this offseason:

Sophomore RB Prince-Tyson Gulley - Stabbed

Sophomore OT Sean Hickey - Out for Season with left knee injury

Sophomore CB Keon Lyn - Dislocated right shoulder 

Senior OG Jarel Lowrey - Torn posterior cruciate ligament and partial ACL tear

Freshman OT Kristofer Curtis - Left ankle injury




A new age of Big East football on display at 2011 media day

The eight coaches of the Big East converged on Newport, Rhode Island for the conference's annual pre-season media day. With so much change on the horizon in the conference, now is the time to shine.

In an off-season where no conference was safe, the Big East somehow managed to not only lose any teams to the expanding Big Ten and the rumors of mega-conferences, but also add Texas Christian University, reigning Rose Bowl Champion, to its conference roster.

Couple this expansion with the conference’s fifth consecutive winning postseason record, and the Big East has every reason to be confident. Commissioner John Marinatto stressed this confidence and competitiveness Tuesday at Big East Media Day in Newport, Rhode Island.

“The Big East Conference is stronger and has more vitality today than it ever has in its 32-year history,” Marinatto said in his opening remarks.  

The conference faces a landmark season in 2011. This is the last full football regular season before TV negotiations open up next fall. Marinatto called this time a “13-month runway to what I believe will be the most important television negotiations in our history on September 1, 2012.” The landscape of college football is changing drastically at the moment. Conferences are in an ongoing fight for the national spotlight.  


In a conference with so much parity, anyprogram can legitimately call themselves a contender. Even a squad like Syracuse, who had not had a winning season since 2001, can make an unexpected rebound. Head coach Doug Marrone was clear that the school’s 8-5 record in 2010 was only a step in the right direction.

“We had great tradition at our school and we needed to get back to it,” he said in an interview with Big East TV. “We needed to get back to a bowl game, which we did. We needed to have a winning season, which we did. But now we need to be competitive year-in and year-out, so it creates a lot of challenges for us, and we’re excited for these challenges.”  


While SU became a national darling, Greg Schiano and Rutgers fell far from their winning ways. The Scarlett Knights finished 4-8 last season, ending their streak of five consecutive winning seasons.

Schiano, the most tenured coach in the conference, believes staying close to home is the key for Rutgers to once again become a premier program in the Big East.    

“I strongly believe that when you recruit around our school, you make fewer mistakes that way and the other point is you bring in a lot of fans,” Schiano said to Big East TV. “When Johnny from your town goes to Rutgers, now the whole town goes to Rutgers on gameday.”


Despite Rutgers off-year, no team had a worse change of direction than Cincinnati. In 2009, the Bearcats won 12 games and made an Orange Bowl appearance – losing monumentally in the process. But in Butch Jones’ first full season at the helm, the Bearcats won only four games, tying for last place in the conference with RU.

While experience is often thrown around in college football as a reason why a team succeeds or not, Jones doesn’t like that to use that as a clutch.  

“We return all of our starters on defense,” he said, “And I told them, ‘It’s one thing to be older, but we have to be better. How are we going to respond when we give up that first score? How are we going to be able to handle adversity or sudden change opportunities?’”


Louisville stunned the Big East in 2006, only their second season since making the jump from Conference USA with Cincinnati and USF, by wrapping up with a 12-1 record and an Orange Bowl victory.   

Three subpar seasons followed, but last season, the Cardinals seemed to have found the head coach to return them to the top in Charlie Strong. Strong led the team to a 7-6 record in his first year, a mark he hopes to build upon in 2011 with defense.   

“The whole game has changed now,” he told Big East TV. “You have to play defense. And if you can’t play defense, you will be giving up 60 points a game and you won’t be winning many games.”


Unlike Strong, USF head coach Skip Holtz came into a program already at its peak. While Strong had some wiggle room to show long-term success, Holtz took over a program that made five straight bowl appearances.

It was a challenge he faced when he first started, but he knew about the caliber of talent he had from the start.  

“I told the players when I was first hired there, ‘You didn’t choose me, I chose you. It’s my job. I chose to be here…’” Holtz said at media day.


Media day also saw the debut of three new head coaches at the three schools that tied for the conference championship - Connecticut, Pittsburgh, and West Virginia.  Dana Holgosren at West Virginia, and Todd Graham at Pittsburgh.

Paul Pasqualoni returns to the conference after six seasons in the NFL by joining Connecticut.

They already have an impressive program in place, but Pasqualoni is confident they can build a winning tradition similar to the ones created by the other sports on campus.   

“I think we have a chance to try to accomplish what Geno (Auriemma) and what Jim (Calhoun) has done, and what (baseball) coach (Jim) Penders is in the process of doing right now,” he told Big East TV.


New Pittsburgh head coach Todd Graham, however, joins a school with an extensive football tradition, which he’s already felt in his short time at Pitt.   

“It’s just been humbling to walk into a situation, to be able to walk down the hall with places where people like Mike Ditka walked down that hall,” he said.


Pre-season rankings have Pittsburgh in second place in the conference behind bitter rival West Virginia and new head coach Dana Holgorsen. In a time in the Big East when every team is fighting for the limelight, WVU defensive back Keith Tandy welcomes the pressure of being the pre-season team to beat.

“I’m pretty sure there’s a bulls-eye on us,” he told Big East TV. “We’ve got to do everything we can in order to stay on top.” 


Sales faces drug charges

SU football wide receiver Marcus Sales faces drug charges after police arrested him and his brother Friday.

With only 32 days until Syracuse's season opener against Wake Forest, the status of one of SU's top offensive weapons became very hazy Friday night. Police arrested Marcus Sales, one of three senior wideouts on the team, along with his brother on drug charges around 9:45 pm, according to Syracuse.com and police reports. 


Police stopped Sales and his brother Michael Sales Jr. after they ran a red light. The officer found drugs and drug paraphernalia in the car and took the Sales brothers in. Sales did not have his driver's license, but presented the officer with his SU Id, according to Syracuse.com. He also admitted to drinking from a cup of gin in the car. 


In total, the charges include possession, intent to sell, use of drug paraphernalia, running a red light, drinking while driving, and violation of the open container policy. He was released after his arraignment Saturday night. 


“We are aware of the charges against Marcus Sales," SU head coach Doug Marrone said in a statement from SU Athletics. "We will continue to work with the proper authorities and the university, and will handle the matter internally, according to university and Athletics Department policies.”



Sales is a Syracuse native and attended the Christian Brothers Academy. He finished the 2010 season with 414 yards, second most on the team behind Van Chew, 26 receptions, and 4 touchdowns despite only appearing in 11 games last season. Three of Sales' touchdowns came in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl win against Kansas State.  







Gulley stabbed Friday morning

Prince-Tyson Gulley was stabbed Friday morning at a South Campus party.

Sophomore running back Prince-Tyson Gulley was stabbed Friday morning at the sight of a South Campus party. The SU Department of Public Safety, or DPS, responded to a call at 1:22 a.m. Friday morning.


An ambulance took Gulley to Upstate University Hospital, according to Syracuse.com and the Associated Press. His injuries are reportedly not life-threatening.


The suspect fled the scene and is not believed to be a SU student, says DPS. 


Gulley appeared in 10 games for Syracuse last season. Though he primarily served as a kick returner in 2010 - 29 returns for 633 yards - he averaged 5.7 yards per carry on the ground and scored his first career touchdown in a win against Colgate. He is currently listed between Antwon Bailey on the running back depth chart.