FB : SAVING FACE: Syracuse defense redeems itself with overtime interception in win over Toledo

first_img Comments Published on September 23, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Michael: mjcohe02@syr.edu | @Michael_Cohen13 Same throw, same spot, same situation. Kevyn Scott recognized it immediately. Austin Dantin’s lofted pass in overtime to the back right corner of the end zone was a carbon copy of the desperation pass Wake Forest threw three weeks ago against Syracuse.‘It was kind of like déjà vu,’ Scott said.The pass designed to lead wide receiver Bernard Reedy in behind Scott’s coverage was identical to Ted Stachitas’ heave toward Chris Givens on Sept. 1. That pass fell incomplete due to Scott’s tight coverage. This time — the second time — he was even a step faster and swooped in front of Reedy to pick off Dantin’s pass.‘I was in my press coverage, and I turned around and looked for the ball,’ Scott said. ‘I saw that it was coming, and it was kind of like a baby seeing candy. I saw the ball coming to me, and I was just ready for it.’His interception in the end zone gave Syracuse (3-1, 0-0 Big East) the ball and set the stage for Ross Krautman’s game-winning field goal in a dramatic 33-30 overtime victory against Toledo. On a day in which the SU defense was torched, the interception by Scott provided 39,116 fans inside the Carrier Dome with an ironic twist to end the game. The unit that was paraded up and down the field by Dantin and wide receiver Eric Page madeAdvertisementThis is placeholder textthe game’s biggest play in overtime to seal a win for the Orange.With the win, SU begins the season 3-1 for the second straight year under head coach Doug Marrone.From the opening drive, Toledo’s (1-3, 0-0 Mid-American Conference) offense toyed with Syracuse. Dantin orchestrated a 22-play, 75-yard marathon series that took more than 10 minutes off the clock and resulted in a field goal for the Rockets.With just one play in excess of 9 yards on the drive, Toledo dinked and dunked its way downfield in whatever way it desired. Dantin rushed for 26 yards, Page caught three passes and running back David Fluellen racked up 27 total yards.‘After being on the field for a long drive, you know a long series, coach (Marrone) preached to us about getting three-and-outs and getting off the field,’ freshman linebacker Dyshawn Davis said. ‘Toledo did a good job of converting on third downs, getting first downs.’Though the Rockets never compiled a drive of more than 10 plays during the rest of the game, their ability to frustrate Syracuse through precise offensive execution continued. By the time regulation ended, Toledo’s offense ran up 438 yards just one week after Southern California churned out 501 yards.And as USC did with wide receiver Robert Woods, Toledo forced the ball into the hands of its playmaker — Page. The junior wide receiver finished with 14 receptions for 168 yards. SU’s top three receivers (Nick Provo, Van Chew and Jarrod West) combined for 149 yards.‘He’s a good ball player, and he presents a tough matchup for us all,’ Scott said. ‘Kind of like USC did with Woods, they kind of put him in different positions to get him the ball. Their offensive scheme is schemed around him.’Toledo’s use of bubble screens to either side of the offense created space for Page to showcase his ability the open field, SU safety Phillip Thomas said. Unlike Givens, who burned Syracuse on long passes, Page had only one reception longer than 27 yards.He took advantage of the flanks for chunks of 7, 8 and 9 yards at a time. He caught at least one pass on eight of Toledo’s 12 possessions in regulation.‘I don’t think you can ever stop a player like Page,’ Marrone said. ‘He’s a talented kid.’Though the Orange couldn’t contain Page from a production standpoint, it did keep him out of the end zone. All season long Marrone has been proud of his team’s red zone defense and preventing touchdowns deep in his own territory.Saturday was no different. Three-hundred passing yards by Dantin and fellow quarterback Terrance Owens were impressive until it came time to punch the ball in for touchdowns. The SU defense allowed only one touchdown in three red zone trips by the Rockets, including a crucial stop late in the game.Dantin drove his team down to the 9-yard line with time dwindling in regulation. Toledo had first-and-goal but failed to advance past the 3 and settled for a field goal to force overtime.‘We would have liked to have ended the game in regulation and stopped them,’ Scott said. ‘But at the end of the day, it didn’t happen.’Given another chance in overtime, though, the defense redeemed itself. The 60 minutes of abuse the unit suffered meant nothing once Scott came down with his interception.Its resiliency won out.‘It feels real good because we felt like we let people down,’ Thomas said. ‘So coming out with that big stop, Kevyn Scott with that big stop, it felt real good knowing we gave the offense a chance to get the victory.’mjcohe02@syr.educenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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