Let the warm waters of a SU victory was over us! The Orange pull in the first win of the Doug Marrone era in dramatic fashion as freshman Ryan Lichtenstein’s 42-yard field goal as time expired gave Syracuse a 37-34 win over visiting Northwestern Saturday evening before 40,251 fans at the Carrier Dome.
THEY SAID IT: “The 12th man played a huge part today,” SU linebacker Derrell Smith, who had 10 tackles and forced two fumbles Saturday said about the Dome crowd.
WHAT A SHOW: The college football experience went through the roof: the SU marching band warmed up revelers in front of Hendricks Chapel, the Orange men’s lacrosse team unveiled its 11th national championship banner in between quarters, the Orange offense went razzle-dazzle with two fake hand-offs on a 66-yard bomb to Mike Williams, legendary head coach Dick MacPherson was honored at halftime and the Wave circled the Dome midway through the third quarter. SU Athletics gave a little something for everyone!
ALL EYES ON YOU: Three NFL scouts representing the Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts and Tampa Bay Buccaneers were at the Dome Saturday night, mostly likely to get a look at how two stellar defensive lineman were doing: SU captain Arthur Jones (below, #97 Photo: Syracuse University Athletics) and Northwestern captain Corey Wootton. Jones was a mad man during the game (two tackles, one for loss, forcing his way through double teams while drawing one holding call against and one scary clipping) and a spotlight in postgame, shining brightly with his smile and his words: “I love [my teammates], we’re all brothers, I love those guys.” Wootton used his height (listed at 6’7”) to block a Lichtenstein field goal attempt while recording three tackles.
BEST PLAYER: Mike Williams. Halftime Snack is biased in its love for the SU senior wide receiver and all of the Big East will be singing his praise come Monday. 11 catches, 209 yards and two touchdowns—all career-highs. Williams is as hot as the bright red shirt he wore to the post-game press conference, moving to third all-time at SU with 17 touchdown catches. “Coach told me in the middle of the week that I wasn’t the receiver I was supposed to be,” said Williams. “He asked me, ‘Did I lose it?’” Halftime Snack has a hard time not seeing Williams getting Big East Player of the Week
FASTBREAK FOOTBALL: The Wildcats brought Arena Football to the Dome, going no-huddle on offense, often with an empty backfield and four, and five, wide receivers. Quarterback Mike Kafka (35 for 42, 390 yards, 3 TDs) mastered the pace, turning a 17-0 first quarter deficit into a 21-17 lead in just over ten minutes. Northwestern did not a have a drive over three minutes long until the end of the third quarter. Big Ten football sure has changed.
BOUNCE BACK: Syracuse tried its best to shoot itself in the foot. Four bad snaps in shotgun and three punts dropped, yet no turnovers. The QB-center exchange was frightening: the Deuce saw a snap fly past his ankle on third down at the NW 26 and he was able to fall on it and preserve a 43-yard Lichtenstein field goal (career-long). Same problems occurred when SU had the ball at the NW three-yard line: the Deuce came away from center without the ball and Orange fullback Cody Catalina wrestled it from a Wildcat defender. Crazier still: the Deuce got separated from the ball by a Northwestern linebacker but it bounced up into the hands of SU running back Delone Carter who nearly got the first down.
Photo of Arthur Jones (#97, above) courtesy of SUathletics.com