The Syracuse Orange survived the storm that hit New Jersey on Saturday, but they did not survive the the 4th quarter storm created by the USC Trojans. Matt Barkley threw for three of his career high six touchdowns in the final quarter, just as the Orange were starting to get back in it, for 42-29 win at the at New York's College Classic at Metlife Stadium.
"People talk about the schedule being challenging and we've been open to that," said Head Coach Doug Marrone after the game, "We talked to our kids during the week about The opportunity to play a team like USC, which is one of the top teams in the country. To be able to go out there and compete, and, in my opinion, win a lot of plays during the course of the game is really exciting for me."
The Orange got to within five points late in the 3rd quarter after a Shamarko Thomas interception was followed by a Prince-Tyson Gulley seven yard touchdown run to make it 21-16 Trojans. Earlier in the 3rd quarter Ryan Nassib had also found Marcus Sales in the endzone for a three yard score. Nassib ran the ball in for a one yard touchdown late in the 4th quarter to cap off the scoring.
All-American Robert Woods finished with 10 catches for 93 yards, 200 all-purpose yards, and two touchdowns for USC.
"I think the so called experts had us picked to lose by 25 or 26 points," reflected Marrone, "At the end of the day, it was 13. We feel we could have done better than that. I think that they have three excellent players in quarterback Matt Barkley and receivers (Robert) Woods and (Marqise) Lee. They are elite college football players, first round type caliber draft picks. I was excited to go out there and compete."
"I am very excited about how our team did today, said SU Quarterback Ryan Nassib, "I mean I am disappointed with the loss. I think we did a really good job sticking with these guys and I know a few key plays didn't go our way. We were definitely in that game and some things go a different way and it could be a whole other story."
The game was delayed for about an hour before the second half could begin because of severe weather conditions in the New Jersey area. Players were sent back to the locker room while fans left their seats to take cover.
The Orange drop to 0-and-2 on the season, losing 42-41 to Northwestern last week. Their next game is next Saturday at 4 PM against Stony Brook back at the Carrier Dome, a team who beat Division II Pace on Saturday 77-7.