After sluggish start, offensive trio leads Orange in deciding final drive

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on November 14, 2010 at 12:00 pm Commentscenter_img PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Ryan Nassib, Marcus Sales and Antwon Bailey didn’t seize most moments Saturday. But Nassib seized one moment in the first quarter. And the trio seized multiple moments on Syracuse’s final drive as well. ‘It was really just, it was just the moment,’ Nassib said. ‘We did a great job of seizing the moment, the situation we were in, and what we needed to do.’ In a low-scoring defensive game, a half-dozen moments from the three were all that mattered, as each stepped up to help give the Orange 10 deciding points in SU’s 13-10 win over Rutgers Saturday. Seven points came thanks to Nassib’s patience in the first quarter, as he set up a Bailey touchdown pass on a dump pass within the five-yard line. And three — Ross Krautman’s field goal to win the game — were set up by a Nassib-led no-huddle drive that seemingly came out of nowhere. Surfacing for Syracuse on that final drive as well was 2:44 of some of the best football Bailey played all year. The best football he played Saturday. And it was 2:44 of the best football Sales, a reserve wide receiver who hadn’t played until SU’s fourth game of the season, played all season. He became the yard-churner on out routes the Orange was missing all game because of the sudden quick pace and his promotion to starter. Sophomore receiver Alec Lemon didn’t play in the game with a banged-up hand that was heavily taped.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text But Sales professed he knew he would be in the role all week and that he was ready for it despite the offense’s struggles throughout the game. It was the second time this season Sales was thrust into a job promotion due to an injury to another SU receiver. Before Syracuse’s 42-7 win over Colgate, Sales became SU’s third wide receiver due to Aaron Weaver’s season-ending injury. Then he promised he would get reps and just needed an opportunity. Saturday was much the same. ‘Whenever the time arises, you have to be ready to answer it, and that’s what I did today,’ Sales said. Sales, Bailey and Nassib didn’t answer it most of the game, though. Nassib threw for just 148 yards prior to the last drive. Sales — who finished with 73 yards receiving — only hauled in 35 yards prior to the final quarter, and Bailey ran for only 13 yards before the last drive. On that last drive, Bailey was the designated go-to guy. Four times in five plays, Bailey was handed the ball on identical plays to find seams in the Rutgers line. Thirty-seven yards later, he had. SU was at the Rutgers 16-yard line, and a game was about to be won. Even if the only offensive success the Orange had since Bailey’s last touchdown in the first quarter came in those final three minutes seized. ‘The last drive, we just stuck with the same play and ran with it down the field,’ SU head coach Doug Marrone said. ‘We were fortunate enough to get into good field position and make the field goal and then hold them and win the game.’ This and that With the win, Syracuse has won four Big East road games for the first time ever. … Syracuse qualified for a bowl at the earliest point in its season since 2001. … Ryan Nassib threw for a touchdown in his 10th consecutive game. … The Orange rushed for a season low 2.5 yards per carry. [email protected]last_img read more