爱上海XQ

first_img Published on November 25, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Michael: [email protected] | @Michael_Cohen13 The free fall continues.Four games removed from the program’s biggest win in a decade, this is perhaps rock bottom for Syracuse. Saturday’s 17-point loss to Cincinnati, a team without its starting quarterback, left Doug Marrone without solutions.A month’s worth of mental mistakes, poor execution and missed opportunities culminated with the fourth consecutive loss for the Orange and landed its head coach in arguably the low point of his three-year tenure at SU.‘Right now,’ Marrone said, ‘not a lot of answers right now.’The team that played essentially a perfect game to obliterate the No. 11 ranked team in the country Oct. 21 has vanished. In its place is an ineffective alter ego dwelling at the bottom of the Big East standings. Syracuse’s 30-13 loss to Cincinnati (8-3, 4-2 Big East) gave the Orange (5-6, 1-5 Big East) its first four-game losing streak since the Greg Robinson era and leaves SU with one final chance to clinch bowl eligibility next week. A crowd of 38,159 inside the Carrier Dome was disappointed once again, as SU’s offense continued its regression ever since hanging 49 points on West Virginia.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text‘I guarantee you don’t have any idea how I’m feeling right now,’ Marrone said. ‘The reason why: I can’t believe I’ve disappointed the fans, the people, everyone. It’s my responsibility. That’s why I don’t think people can understand it.’The downward spiral stretches from being on the cusp of cracking the Top 25 for the first time since the end of the 2001 season to Saturday’s fourth consecutive failed attempt at clinching bowl eligibility.And it’s been the Syracuse offense that has withered right alongside the Orange’s season.Marrone and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett both said this week’s game plan against the Bearcats was a reversion to plays and schemes instituted on day one of training camp. It was supposed to be simple and easy for the players so that they wouldn’t have to think out on the field.The result was a 4-for-15 performance on third down, four sacks of quarterback Ryan Nassib and the second-lowest point total of the season.‘We’ve just got to change some calls, change some plays,’ Marrone said. ‘Because obviously we can’t execute what we’re doing even when we have guys open or guys coming free.’With two weeks of preparation for the Bearcats, coaches and players were hoping for an improved offensive performance after struggling for the previous three games.But from the opening play of SU’s first possession of the game — a play-action bootleg pass toward Nick Provo just a few yards beyond the line of scrimmage — the offense looked eerily similar.The inability to get the ball deep down field remained: Nassib’s longest completion was 27 yards. The failure to make plays in the red zone persisted: Nassib overthrew an open Provo on a third down in the second quarter, and Alec Lemon couldn’t bring in a touchdown pass early in the fourth. And another slow start hampered the Orange: 65 total yards in the first quarter.‘We made a good amount of mental mistakes and just didn’t make enough plays,’ Nassib said.Nassib made likely the biggest mental mistake of all on SU’s first possession of the fourth quarter. Syracuse scored a touchdown to claw back within 23-13, and the defense made a stop to give the Orange offense a chance.But after marching the team down the field, the drive came to a halt with a fourth-and-12 play. Nassib rolled right and completed a pass to Dorian Graham, five yards short of the first down.Both Jarrod West and Lemon, the two primary targets on the play whose routes were beyond the first down marker, were ignored. Nassib didn’t even give Graham a chance as he was tackled immediately for the turnover on downs.‘He could have picked either one, and both of them looked like they had a chance,’ Hackett said of West and Lemon.The demoralizing turnover set the stage for a 69-yard touchdown reception by Isaiah Pead to put the game out of reach.For the fourth straight game, Marrone was asked why his team continues to underperform and seemingly take steps back with each successive week. The frustration and anger were perfectly clear, with a hint of embarrassment now evident in his voice.Syracuse has plummeted through its worst stretch since 2007, and there’s only one chance left to right the ship. The season that is already a disappointment when assessed by the preseason goal of competing for the Big East championship is beginning to look like a lost cause.‘I don’t think I can even explain how I feel,’ Marrone said. ‘Losing four straight games is unacceptable.’[email protected] Commentscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more