There would be no loading the box for Syracuse to stop running back Isaiah Pead the way Rutgers did last week. Jones would make sure the Orange had a lot more to think about than Pead by using two quarterbacks. "We went into this game pulling out all the stops," Jones said.
0. The number of times the Bearcats turned the ball over against Syracuse on Saturday. Munchie Legeaux performed as well as anyone could have hoped following the team’s loss to Rutgers last week. The true freshman didn’t have gaudy numbers, but he avoided the dreaded interception and allowed Isaiah Pead to carry the team to victory.
On defense, they were aggressive and came after the quarterback with ferocity. There are still major problems with the linebackers filling the gaps allowed by the defensive line, who played great by the way, but the run defense as a whole did enough to not allow Ryan Nassib to play off of that to get the passing game going. The only real time they were allowed to use the play action pass for big plays was when Antwon Bailey started running consistently between the tackles. Once Cincinnati bottled him up, the passing game became a moot point.
Quietly, very quietly the secondary has put together two pretty good games.
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"I started to get the inclination throughout the week," Luallen said. "They started to work me in a little bit more and then last night (offensive coordinator Mike) Bajakian, when we were going through our quarterback tests like we do every week, told me to stay prepared because I was going in in the second or third series. I wasn’t sure until last night. It didn’t give me a lot of time to get nervous."
"We just weren’t making plays. I hate to say it. There were opportunities there," said SU offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, who spent this game on the sidelines, rather than up in the box, in an attempt to communicate more directly with the offense.
Saturday, Pead’s 28 touches produced 246 yards – 21 more than UC had generated as a team a week earlier at Rutgers. Breaking tackles nearly every time he carried the ball and then finding an extra gear in the clear that left SU defenders in the dust, he averaged 8.8 yards per touch. "We had to pull some strings because they (SU) had two weeks to scout us and basically the whole season, so we had to do something," Pead said.
The season isn't over (yet) but it sure feels like it. We may yet still play in a bowl game. We might even win that game. Doing so would spread some soothing balm across what has been a disappointing swoon (just like in 2010). But given the 5-2 start and the way the team, especially the offense, has regressed this season, it's going to be hard to find silver linings for many SU fans.
Its never fun to check out on a season early. Nor is it fun to watch a promising season turn to shit over two agonizing months.
"That’s going to haunt me for a little while," he said. "I’m going to get a lot of (junk) from my teammates for it, but it was just great to get out there and run. I just wish I hadn’t fallen. I saw I had the angle on the safety and wanted to beat him to the end zone, so I tried to start running a little bit harder and my legs just gave out and I fell. Hopefully, ESPN doesn’t catch it and I make a top 10 list or something like that."