FB : Cohen: SU’s comeback win product of luck more than performance

first_img Published on September 5, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Michael: mjcohe02@syr.edu | @Michael_Cohen13 Comments I won’t let Syracuse get away with this one. It wouldn’t be fair. It wouldn’t be right.To sit here and say the Orange deserved that season-opening win Thursday night against Wake Forest simply isn’t true.Would you disagree?Well, consider this: The team that racked up 406 yards of offense (or 107 more than its opponent), ran 26 more offensive plays and forced six three-and-outs in the first half alone left the Carrier Dome 0-1.That team which was forced to finish the game without its starting quarterback looked up at the scoreboard in disbelief as it read Syracuse 36, Wake Forest 29. SU was nothing but lucky to steal that win away from the Demon Deacons on a night when the visitors were far and away the better side.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text‘Honestly, I do not know,’ Wake Forest nose guard Nikita Whitlock said of the fourth quarter. ‘All I know is there was a lot of ‘ifs,’ ‘ands,’ and ‘buts,’ and ‘shouldas,’ ‘couldas,’ ‘wouldas’ that were not to our advantage late in the game.’In Whitlock’s list, the ‘ifs’ and the ‘wouldas’ are the most relevant. If starting quarterback Tanner Price hadn’t gotten hurt, Wake Forest woulda won.Plain and simple.Price crumpled to the Carrier Dome turf after Orange defensive end Chandler Jones rolled up onto his knees, forcing redshirt junior Ted Stachitas into duty.The fact that Stachitas is most famous for being the quarterback to succeed Tim Tebow at Nease High School in Florida puts the magnitude of the change into context.When Price left the game on his team’s opening drive of the fourth quarter, everything changed.The previously unstoppable Wake Forest offense sputtered with Stachitas under center. His four possessions at quarterback resulted in a punt, an interception, the end of regulation and a turnover on downs to end the game in overtime. Sixteen total plays with 29 net yards and zero points on the scoreboard.‘I think it was a big momentum shift, it was hard to get the momentum to slow down at all,’ Whitlock said of the injury to Price. ‘I think it was a big part of the game.’Prior to the injury, Price abused the Syracuse defense to the tune of 289 yards and three touchdowns through three quarters and three minutes. He and wide receiver Chris Givens toyed with the Orange secondary, hooking up six times for 162 yards and two scores.The shortest reception was 13 yards, and every single one resulted in a first down or touchdown for the Demon Deacons. Givens finished the game with 170 receiving yards — he later caught an eight-yard pass from Stachitas — good enough for fifth-highest total in the country among wide receivers for Week One.Both of his touchdowns exposed flaws in the Orange defense. The first — a 60-yard bomb in which he beat the double coverage of Phillip Thomas and Keon Lyn. The second — a quick pass out to the left sideline that he took 22 yards to the end zone after running right by SU cornerback Kevyn Scott.‘I think the coaches did a great job preparing me for this game with film study, and I was really comfortable with what we were doing offensively,’ Price said.It showed as he picked apart a defense that ranked No. 7 in the country a season ago.But Stachitas was visibly uncomfortable. As the momentum began to swing in SU’s favor, he looked rushed in the pocket. He forced his second pass to Givens, and it was picked off.On the final play of the game, he flung a desperation heave toward Givens in the back right corner of the end zone, but Scott’s provided good coverage and Givens couldn’t haul it in, giving Syracuse the win.SU head coach Doug Marrone will tell you the team ‘accomplished a lot in this game.’ He said as much in his postgame press conference.It was the first time the Orange won back-to-back season openers since the 1999 and 2000 seasons. And the first win over an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent since 2003.Yet Marrone also points out how easily the game could have gone the other way.‘We didn’t make plays early in the game, and we were very fortunate to win that game,’ he said.If Price stays in, the Demon Deacons probably keep rolling, and the SU head coach is suddenly forced to explain why his team can’t win at home for a second consecutive year.But it didn’t happen like that. Somehow, Syracuse won when it shouldn’t have.I’m left wondering just how much a team can accomplish in a game it was lucky to winMichael Cohen is the sports editor at The Daily Orange, where his column appears occasionally. He can be reached at mjcohe02@syr.edu or on Twitter at @Michael_Cohen13.center_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

US Open 2017: Sharapova Knocked out by Sevastova

first_imgSharapova, ranked 146th after returning from a doping ban in April, was given a wildcard into the main draw.The 2006 champion had played just one match since May coming into Flushing Meadows, with injuries forcing her out of the grass-court season and US Open build-up.She played superbly to upset world number two Simona Halep on the first day of the tournament, and then beat Timea Babos and Sofia Kenin on her way to the last 16.Sevastova proved too strong, however, the 5ft 5in Latvian’s defensive skills and ability to create angles ultimately derailing the Russian.“The first set was very close, it could have gone either way,” said Sevastova.“She played unbelievable throughout the first and second set and I just kept fighting, running every ball, and just stayed there.”Sharapova ended the match with 51 errors to 42 winners as she pressed too hard in trying to break down Sevastova’s brilliant defence.The Latvian went close to taking the first set after coming back from 4-1 down, but Sharapova clinched it with two magnificent forehands in game 12.The momentum had already begun to swing though, and Sevastova would level thanks to a single break at 2-1 in the second – in one rally lobbing Sharapova twice, prompting the Russian to scramble left-handed in desperation.A six-minute bathroom break ahead of the decider apparently did not have the desired effect as Sharapova quickly fell 3-0 down.She had said after her opening match that “this girl has a lot of grit”, and it was in evidence as she cut the deficit to 3-2, but in the end Sevastova had too much.Sharapova fought off three match points before a big first serve left the five-time major winner flailing at a return that flew wide after two hours and 17 minutes. Maria Sharapova’s first Grand Slam tournament in 19 months ended with defeat by Anastasija Sevastova in the US Open fourth round.Latvia’s Sevastova, the 16th seed, won 5-7 6-4 6-2 to reach the quarter-finals in New York.The 27-year-old will play Sloane Stephens in the quarter-finals, after the American beat Julia Goerges. Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more