It was a game of missed opportunities for the Syracuse Orange in their Big East Opener. The Orange turned over the ball five times against Rutgers, but it was the 5th and final turnover that ended the game, handing Syracuse a 19-16 double overtime loss. The Scarlet Knights' Edmond Laryea forced Antwon Bailey to fumble as the Orange were driving for the the game winning touchdown, after San San Te kicked the go-shead field goal on Rutgers' offensive opportunity. "Obviously we're disappointed in the loss," says Marrone, "I think it's very difficult to win football games when you have five turnovers, and a field goal gets blocked and a PAT gets blocked. Those things happen, and we lost that game because of those errors, and we weren't able to capitalize at times. We had our chance. With things that we worked on, we had chances to make plays, and I'm talking more offensively and special teams.
Rutgers Head Coach Greg Schiano admits his team struggled in many areas as well, but was more than happy to take advantage of SU's missed opportunities, "A few times it could have got out of hand," admits Schiano, "again, I think our kids showed up. We're beginning to grow up. We'll see. We're starting to show more maturity, which is good."
"We lost a football game, and they're a good football team," added Marrone, "I told our kids that they played hard, they didn't execute well. We have to hold our head up even though we're upset and disappointed in ourselves. When you lose football games, you have to come back and practice extremely hard and get ready to get back on the right path after we make the corrections."
Click on the video link for the story. The following is more from the Associated Press.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) - In a game replete with mistakes, it was only fitting that it ended on one.
San San Te kicked a 47-yard field goal in the second overtime and seconds later the Rutgers defense recovered a fumble by Syracuse's Antwon Bailey, giving the Scarlet Knights a 19-16 victory Saturday in the Big East opener for both teams.
"I'm proud of our players and our coaches for just staying calm," Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said. "Sometimes, it goes your way and sometimes it doesn't."
It went Syracuse's way a week ago. The Orange beat Toledo in overtime, benefiting from an extra point attempt in the final minutes by Ross Krautman that counted, even though replays showed it was wide and Big East officials admitted so hours after the game ended.
On Saturday, there was no need for a replay of an attempt by Krautman that failed in the third quarter - it was blocked cleanly by Jamal Merrell and proved pivotal because it allowed the Scarlet Knights to remain within 13-3.
"It was just mainly knowing my assignment," said Merrell, who also forced a fumble in the first quarter. "I saw that I was open, so I just took it."
Bailey began the game by losing a fumble and ended it just seconds after defensive back Khaseem Greene limped off the field with an injury. He was replaced by Edmond Laryea, who forced Bailey's fumble.
Bailey appeared to be down on a television replay, but the ruling on the field was upheld, sending the Scarlet Knights (3-1, 1-0) into a frenzy after they had huddled along their sideline waiting.
"It's a tough loss. As a team, we didn't play the way we had to," said Bailey, who finished with 124 yards rushing and scored on a 3-yard run in the third quarter. "I definitely feel the weight on my shoulders because of the way things went down."
Syracuse (3-2, 1-0) had overtime wins over Wake Forest and Toledo and set a Big East standard with its third overtime in five games. Pitt had three overtime games in its first eight games in 2004.
In the first overtime, both teams faced fourth-and-1 inside the 5-yard line and opted to kick field goals, with Krautman converting from 19 yards and Te from 27.
There were nine turnovers overall, including three lost fumbles and an interception by Rutgers. Krautman and Te also combined to miss five field goals.
Rutgers rallied to tie it after Merrell blocked Krautman's 44-yard field-goal attempt, but it wasn't easy. Marcus Cooper returned the block 60 yards for a touchdown, but a personal foul allowed Syracuse to survive for the moment.
At least a clutch play gave the Scarlet Knights the break they needed. They gambled on fourth-and-9 from the Syracuse 33 and Gary Nova hit a falling Quron Pratt for 13 yards on the right side. Jawan Jamison gained 17 yards on three carries and Nova hit Mohamed Sanu for a 3-yard touchdown pass to tie it with 2:09 left.
"We have total confidence in our defense that they will be able to make the play and we were just trying to stay in the moment, not get ahead of ourselves," Sanu said.
Ryan Nassib then threw his third interception of the game, and Steve Beauharnais returned it 44 yards to the Syracuse 34. But Te missed a 44-yard field goal with 6 seconds left.
Sanu, who had a conference-record 16 catches for 176 yards and two touchdowns in a 38-26 win over Ohio last week, had seven catches for 65 yards and the one score.
After Krautman missed a 39-yard field goal for the Orange midway through the third quarter, Rutgers got a huge break when Syracuse was called for roughing the kicker on a fourth-and-22 play. That drive ended with Nova trying to throw while falling backward and fumbling. Marquis Spruill recovered for Syracuse at the Rutgers 16.
Not to be outdone, the Orange gave it right back when Nassib's pass at the goal line ricocheted in the air and was intercepted by David Rowe, who returned it 27 yards.
"Too many," said, Nassib, who had only one interception in the first four games. "You can't expect to win the game when you have five turnovers."
Rutgers entered the game with a plus-10 turnover margin after forcing 13 in three games, and the Scarlet Knights kept the trend going, recovering their ninth fumble on the game's first play from scrimmage.
Bailey had a nice 8-yard gain over left tackle, but lost the ball when Merrell swooped in for the tackle. Merrell's helmet sent the ball flying out of Bailey's arms, and Merrell recovered at the Syracuse 30.
After an incompletion, the Orange returned the favor as freshman linebacker Dyshawn Davis made a crushing hit on Jamison as soon as he took the handoff in the backfield. The ball bounced right to Syracuse cornerback Ri'Shard Anderson, and he returned the fumble 66 yards for a touchdown less than a minute into the game for a 7-0 lead.
Bailey, held to 20 yards on seven carries in the first half, broke a 36-yard run around the left side on Syracuse's first possession of the second half to set up his own 3-yard touchdown run. Then Merrell worked his special-teams magic again.
Bailey finished with 124 yards on 23 carries, while Nassib was 15 of 32 for 169 yards and was sacked twice. Nova was 14 of 24 for 122 yards and one TD for Rutgers.
Nassib also was intercepted by defensive tackle Justin Francis, which set up Te's 27-yard field goal midway through the second.