Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on September 14, 2019 at 11:20 pm Contact Andrew: [email protected] | @A_E_Graham The near-record Carrier Dome crowd roared, adding to the chaos of what just unfolded. Syracuse had the swing it needed early in the third quarter: Offense on the field, goal-to-go from the Clemson 9-yard line after a Chris Fredrick interception and return. With a touchdown, the Orange could cut Clemson’s tenuous lead to four. Tommy DeVito took the snap, left the pocket to his right like so many plays before and fired down the sideline. Where he expected a receiver, the ball found Clemson’s Mario Goodrich. As DeVito convened with his teammates on the sideline following another of SU’s best chances — and one more wasted — to score a touchdown, he told them, “That’s on me,” while pointing at the “13” on his chest.That two-play sequence served as the microcosm of Syracuse’s (1-2, 0-1 Atlantic Coast) 41-6 loss against No. 1 Clemson (3-0, 2-0) in the Carrier Dome on Saturday night. The Tigers uncharacteristically gave the Orange chance after chance to stay in the game, almost daring another upset bid. But every time SU had a chance to punch in a touchdown, to close the gap on Clemson — to show it was closing the gap on Clemson’s program — the Orange were repeatedly beaten by their own mistakes. “We left a lot of meat on the bone out there,” head coach Dino Babers said. “There were some balls that went through some people’s hands and some decisions that you wish you had back. And when you’re playing against somebody that hasn’t lost a bunch of games, you have to get ahead of them.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textMax Freund | Staff PhotographerTwo years ago on the same field, a seismic college football event occurred. Syracuse didn’t finish the season strong, but on the night of Oct. 13, 2017, SU took its biggest step from doormat to contender under Babers. It showed the world Syracuse was changing for the better and more wins would come. A week after getting blown away by Maryland, the Orange were saddled with the unenviable task of proving its worth against a team that Babers said could be the best of its era. Despite surrendering 17 points by halftime, SU largely held Clemson’s potent offense in check, limited Travis Etienne and squeezed just enough out of the offense to think in the second half, the Orange could finally turn red zone chances into touchdowns.But the warning signs of a blowout were evident, too. DeVito rarely had enough, if any, time in the pocket. He was sacked six times in the first half. On one play in the first quarter, DeVito managed to finagle his way from a collapsing pocket and roll out to his right, eventually getting dragged down by Isaiah Simmons. The offensive line was still called for holding on the play. Even when DeVito threw into open windows, his receivers struggled. Taj Harris dropped a crossing route for a first down on SU’s opening driving, forcing a punt instead. At the end of the first quarter, DeVito ripped a long ball to the end zone that dropped through Trishton Jackson’s outstretched hands. A flag would’ve negated the play but the drop still elicited an exasperated “Oh” from a raucous crowd.Four times the Orange reached the red zone and four times it failed to score a touchdown. In the first half, while SU hovered within a couple scores of the Tigers, Babers twice opted to kick field goals in the red zone. “My thinking was, based off of who we’re playing, based off the down and distances, based off of where we’re at, let’s take the points,” Babers said. “Defense is playing well, let’s get the game to the second half. And I’m sure there will be opportunities in the second half if we need them.”Max Freund | Staff PhotographerBabers was right. Twice more, SU ended up inside the Clemson 10-yard line, both courtesy of Trevor Lawrence interceptions. The first was Fredrick’s. The second came late in the third quarter as Lawrence stared down Trill Williams before throwing the ball right to him. Williams returned the interception to the Clemson 3-yard line, juking Lawrence in the process. The Carrier Dome erupted in cheers, 50,248 orange-clad fans springing to their feet. Three straight rushes followed — two handoffs and a snuffed-out bootleg — setting up a 4th-and-goal that Babers deemed worthy. As DeVito opted to not throw the wheel route to Abdul Adams and cut upfield into a thicket of bodies, the first-year starter was swallowed up by Clemson’s defensive line. Two interceptions left Syracuse with two short fields — three and nine yards, respectively — and both times, SU failed to score a single point. Clemson scored touchdowns on both ensuing drives, stretching the score to three possessions.DeVito took some of the blame for the Orange’s struggles, saying that he’s “just trying to be the best leader possible and try to move the offense down the field.” And while he did throw a pick, four missed touchdown attempts from inside the 20 is not solely the quarterback’s, or anyone’s, entire responsibility. Regardless, it cost Syracuse. Max Freund | Staff PhotographerIn 2017, just not getting blown out was enough to show improvement. Instead, the Orange pulled a shocking upset. In 2019, two years and one glorious, 10-win season removed from that upset, covering the spread wasn’t enough anymore. Syracuse had a chance to show that 2018 wasn’t a fluke, but the new normal. For two and a half quarters, it succeeded. The Orange may have done enough to prove they’re not a pushover, even if the missed chances left a bitter taste. “I’m obviously a little disappointed on the point production,” Babers said. “We had the ball on the three-yard line, we ran it in there two times, and we hardly got anything. You want to get mad.” As Babers emerged from the tunnel just before kick off, his team trailing behind him, he paused and stood at the threshold of Ernie Davis Legends Field. The fourth-year head coach turned and examined the whole arena, acknowledging the sold-out crowd revving up for the biggest game in Syracuse in 20 years. It was everything he’d hoped to build, everything he laid out in his introductory press conference speech — where he asked those in attendance to close their eyes — that boomed over the loudspeakers. Babers basked in the noise before taking the field. Except Saturday, the eyes were open, and they were on the Orange.SU stood in and held up as long as it could. But eventually, when it really mattered, Syracuse blinked. Comments
Former Black Stars skipper, Stephen Appiah, has revealed that former AC Milan midfielder, Gennaro Gattuso, was the most challenging opponent he came up against in his professional career.Appiah faced several midfielders in his time in Italian football which lasted from 1997 to 2005 and then from 2009 to 2011. In those two spells, he played for Udinese, Parma, Brescia, Juventus, Bologna and Cessena.Despite the number of opponents Appiah played against, he believes that Gattuso gave him the most problems especially during the Ghanaian’s time at Udinese.“The toughest player I faced was Gennaro Gattuso and that was when I played for Udinese. We faced Salernitana, a team from the Southern part of Italy and that was where Gattuso was playing at the time.He was so difficult to play against and he even broke my tooth by the time match came to an end. He just would not allow you to go away with the ball.He was really the toughest among the likes of Emerson, Demetrio Albertini and the many others I came up against.”Appiah was speaking on Betway’s Live Instagram chat with fans on Saturday, May 9.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — No matter who is managing in the other dugout, nothing can derail the Los Angeles Dodgers these days.Zack Greinke pitched three-hit ball into the eighth inning and Hanley Ramirez homered to lead the streaking Dodgers to a 4-0 victory over new manager Ryne Sandberg and the slumping Philadelphia Phillies on Friday night. The defeat capped a tumultuous and emotional day for Philadelphia. Charlie Manuel, the winningest manager in club history, was fired earlier in the day by general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., who broke down when delivering the news.“It was a roller coaster of a day emotionally,” Sandberg said. “It affected me and I think it affects the players.”Sandberg, the Hall of Famer and former Cubs second baseman, was promoted from third base coach to interim manager. But the Phillies, who have lost 20 of 24, didn’t play any differently for Sandberg. The Dodgers didn’t play any differently, either.Ramirez’s two-run homer in the fourth was all the offense Greinke (11-3) needed to lead Los Angeles to its season-best ninth straight win and 18th victory in its last 19 road games. The Dodgers are 41-8 since June 22.Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly said his club’s approach is simple: just win.“The plan is intact, just win every night,” he said. “I want to win every day.”Jokingly asked if all the winning has gotten boring, Mattingly said, “Are you kidding me? It’s been great.”Greinke won his third straight start while outpitching Cliff Lee (10-6) in a matchup of former AL Cy Young Award winners. The right-hander struck out three and walked four.“I felt pretty good. I was just trying to make pitches,” Greinke said. “I’m just trying to do my job and the bullpen has been incredible. Lately everybody is talking about it. Nothing is going bad. The pitching, the defense, the hitting and the bullpen have been great. We’ve won a lot of close games. You expect to win. That’s how it’s been.”It’s been the opposite for the Phillies, even on days when they get a strong pitching performance.Lee, who entered 0-3 with a 5.63 ERA in his last four starts, looked more like the $120 million pitcher he is by tossing eight strong innings. He allowed three runs on five hits with six strikeouts and one walk.Ramirez had one of those hits, a drive to left in the fourth that put Los Angeles ahead 2-0. He is 8 for 16 with three homers against Lee.“Other than that, I was pleased,” Lee said.But no one who spoke in the Phillies’ clubhouse was happy about Manuel’s departure.“I definitely enjoyed Charlie and liked playing for him,” Lee said. “I thought he did a good job. It’s definitely our fault. We weren’t getting it done.”And they couldn’t get it done against the Dodgers.Los Angeles added a run in the seventh on Mark Ellis’ double and another in the ninth on Scott Van Slyke’s single.“Everybody’s just trying to do their job, not try to do too much,” Ramirez said.The Phillies, as has been the case for most of the second half, had no answer. Sandberg questioned the team’s focus before the game, calling its play “lackadaisical” at times lately. Philadelphia’s batters appeared to be trying, but they couldn’t produce runs off Greinke or three Dodgers relievers.The Phillies finished with just three hits while being shut out for the 11th time.“Not executing and lackadaisical play are completely different but look the same,” Philadelphia shortstop Jimmy Rollins said.The Phillies threatened in the eighth, loading the bases with two outs before Ronald Belisario struck out Darin Ruf.It’s been that kind of season for Philadelphia, especially lately.Manuel paid for it.The 69-year-old skipper was in the final year of his contract and wanted to manage another two or three seasons.“I never quit nothing and I didn’t resign,” Manuel said, making it clear he was pushed out the door.Phillies fans responded to the news by bringing impromptu signs to the game thanking Manuel for his tenure. One of the loudest cheers of the evening went to a young boy shown on the electronic scoreboard wearing a T-shirt that read: “Thanks Charlie. I’ll Miss You.”Sandberg managed the Phillies’ Triple-A team at Lehigh Valley the previous two seasons. He was part of one of the most lopsided trades in baseball history when the Phillies traded him and Larry Bowa to the Cubs for shortstop Ivan DeJesus in 1982.Amaro said Sandberg takes over on an interim basis and would be evaluated after the season. Sandberg inherited a team that entered Friday 20½ games out of first place in the NL East.“These guys are professional players, they’re getting paid well,” Sandberg said. “Sometimes players have to dig deeper, play with pride, play with heart and for the name on the front of the uniform.”Manuel won his 1,000th game as a manager on Monday in Atlanta. Two days later, he sat in the dugout knowing it would be his last game after Amaro informed him of the decision not to extend his contract. The Phillies had planned to honor Manuel on Friday by presenting him with a base signed by every member of the team. Those plans were canceled.Manuel led Philadelphia to the franchise’s second World Series title in 2008 and brought the team back to the Series in 2009, when the Phillies lost to the Yankees in six games.Manuel was 780-636 with the Phillies and won five straight NL East titles from 2007-11. He also spent three years as manager of the Cleveland Indians, winning the AL Central in 2001.NOTES: It was the Dodgers’ 15th shutout of the season. … Dodgers C A.J. Ellis took a foul ball by Ruf off his left knee in the eighth. A limping Ellis remained in the game. … The Dodgers recalled Van Slyke from Triple-A Albuquerque and optioned shortstop Dee Gordon to their top farm club. Van Slyke went 1 for 4 with an RBI. … Philadelphia placed left-hander John Lannan on the disabled list with left knee tendinosis and recalled right-handed reliever B.J. Rosenberg, who has a 12.00 ERA in three appearances this season. … Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw (11-7, 1.88 ERA) opposes Phillies RHP Kyle Kendrick (10-9, 4.48) on Saturday night. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error