Nassib struggles as Orange abandon run in 2nd half

first_imgAfter saying he felt his entire team was to blame for SU’s 45-14 loss to Pittsburgh, SU head coach Doug Marrone defended his quarterback. Marrone wasn’t satisfied with Ryan Nassib’s two-interception performance. But Marrone wouldn’t let him take the crux of the blame. He may be the quarterback, but he is still just one player. ‘How do you criticize the quarterback when it’s the whole team?’ Marrone asked following the game. ‘If the kid goes back there clean and throws an interception without anyone in his face, yes (it’s his fault), if it’s the wrong read. But hey, there are people back there.’ Saturday, Nassib had perhaps his worst performance of the season. He completed just 25 of 46 pass attempts. The sophomore was intercepted twice, including a game-clinching miscue at the 10:27 mark of the third quarter, resulting in an 80-yard interception return touchdown for Pitt’s Ricky Gary. The pick-six gave the Panthers a 35-7 lead and sucked all faith out of the Carrier Dome. Nassib attained career highs in both completions and pass attempts, but the numbers came as a result of SU needing to attack more through the air after giving up an early 28-7 lead to Pitt.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text In a battle of one of the Big East’s most surprising quarterbacks this year in Nassib and an underachieving Tino Sunseri for Pittsburgh, Sunseri posted by far the better numbers. With a first half in which he racked up 190 yards and three touchdowns, Sunseri propelled Pitt to the three-score margin at the half. In the first, Nassib only passed for 83 yards. In the third quarter, Nassib threw one interception, and it put to rest any thought of a comeback attempt. The throw was rushed. It came on yet another play in which Pitt’s defensive line, lead by linebacker Tristan Roberts, who had two tackles-for-loss, got to Nassib. ‘It was tough. We were in an empty formation, and I was just trying to get the ball away, and I didn’t think anybody was going to be there,’ Nassib said. ‘My body didn’t let me get it out of bounds, and the corner peeled off, and he made a good play.’ In a game in which Nassib needed the big play, the opening was never there. Though the quarter was an improvement, it will be remembered for the pick. And despite the fact that Nassib felt his game wasn’t a complete loss, it all comes back to the interception. Even for the quarterback himself. ‘I feel like I did all right, but I can do a lot better,’ Nassib said. ‘I definitely had a dumb mistake in my interception, my second one, and I just felt like I could have gotten the ball out faster a couple of times and made a couple better, more accurate throws. I’ll go from there.’ Failure to convert on third gives Pitt breathing room From the 6:54 mark of the first quarter until the 9:39 mark of the second quarter Saturday, Syracuse had four third-down attempts. On all four, the Orange failed. Over the same span of time, Pittsburgh had four offensive drives. Three resulted in a touchdown. At the start of the span, Syracuse was tied with the Panthers 7-7. By the end, SU was down 28-7. The game felt over before the half, and the constant stream of short passes from Nassib to the likes of Alec Lemon and Nick Provo were failing. The stretch in time in the first and second quarter propelled Pitt to a comfortable lead while taking the Orange out of the game and forcing SU to rush aspects of its game. It all started with SU’s failure to convert on third down. After the game, Nassib chalked up the failed third-downs to mere execution. Pitt’s base was wreaking havoc on SU’s base. Simple as that. ‘They weren’t doing anything special at all, they were doing their base,’ Nassib said. ‘Like I said, two of those three-and-outs were fourth-and-ones and fourth-and-maybe-less-than-one. They did a good job today of stopping the run game, and they had the game planned pretty well, and they just out-executed us.’ The span of SU’s failure to convert on third down came during the same time as when Pitt converted on four of five third-down attempts. What transpired in the first half put SU on the brink. ‘At halftime … it was a tough situation, but you can do it,’ Marrone said. ‘I try to come over to the sideline and paint that picture for them, it just didn’t work out.’ [email protected] Published on October 17, 2010 at 12:00 pm Commentscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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