first_imgEveryone was consumed by the fourth consecutive loss. For the moment, nothing else mattered.So as Antwon Bailey walked off the field Saturday following a crushing 30-13 defeat to Cincinnati, the fact that he had just rushed for a new career high on senior day in the Carrier Dome meant nothing.He quickly brushed aside the accomplishment to reiterate that the season isn’t over.‘Of course, it touches me in a way because it is my last game in the Dome,’ Bailey said. ‘But we still have everything in front of us. We have one more game, and if we win we will be bowl eligible.’Lost in the middle of SU’s longest losing streak since 2007 was perhaps Bailey’s best performance of the year. Though he didn’t find the end zone against the Bearcats, the senior tailback was the only bright spot of the Syracuse offense. He ran for 135 yards Saturday and eclipsed the 2,000-yard mark for his career.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textHe was also the second-leading receiver for the Orange, hauling in five passes for 43 yards.But his performance was overshadowed by the shoddy play of the offensive line in passing situations. Quarterback Ryan Nassib was hounded relentlessly by the Cincinnati defense, and everyone, including offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, lost sight of the fact that the run blocking was, in fact, effective.‘We had some good stats,’ Hackett said. ‘I didn’t even know we ran the ball that well.’Bailey was the catalyst on SU’s second scoring drive to take the lead 6-3. He ran the ball on four consecutive plays to move the ball from the Syracuse 49-yard line down to the Cincinnati 22.Overall, he accounted for 30 of the team’s 64 yards on that drive. For the game, he earned nine first downs by himself.Still, the senior was disheartened along with the rest of his teammates with the result. It wasn’t the way any of them envisioned leaving the Dome.‘I definitely had a lot of emotions running with it being my last game in the Carrier Dome,’ Bailey said. ‘I’ve got a lot of good memories in this place.’Syracuse struggles to defend running quarterbacksIsaiah Pead moved in motion across the Cincinnati formation from right to left. The ball was snapped, and everyone knew it was going to be a sweep handoff to Pead, like the Bearcats had been relying on all game.Wrong.Third-string quarterback Jordan Luallen pulled the ball out from Pead’s belly and took off moving right as the whole Syracuse defense went left with Pead. He broke out up the middle for a gain of 48 yards to the 1-yard line, and UC would eventually tack on a field goal to extend its lead to 14.‘We see (Luallen) in practice, we see the explosive plays,’ Bearcats head coach Butch Jones said. ‘He brings a little bit different of a spin to our offense.’That play, the longest rushing play of the game for either team, gave Cincinnati a two-score lead midway through the third quarter and highlighted SU’s inability to play disciplined football against Cincinnati’s running quarterbacks. Luallen and starter Munchie Legaux combined for 88 yards rushing en route to the 30-13 win over Syracuse.Both players used the zone-read play perfectly throughout the game, mixing in carries for Pead and tailback George Winn while keeping the defense honest with quarterback runs.The result was 189 yards rushing for the Bearcats.‘Both quarterbacks ran the same schemes,’ Marrone said. ‘It wasn’t like one quarterback was doing something different than the other one. They were both running the same type of schemes in the same situations. We have to do a better job.’It wasn’t until Friday that Jones announced Luallen would see playing time in addition to Legaux. The Bearcats opening-day starter, Zach Collaros, is likely out for the year with a broken ankle.Last week, it was Legaux’s turn to run the show against Rutgers, and the result was a 20-3 loss. But the addition of Luallen this week provided a nice spark and a change of pace from Legaux’s running speed.Luallen finished with 77 yards rushing and averaged 9.6 yards per attempt to frustrate the Syracuse defense all game.‘They gave me the opportunity to go in and play, so I tried to just go out and do what I do best: run the ball,’ Luallen said. ‘It’s one of my strengths.’[email protected]  Published on November 28, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Michael: [email protected] | @Michael_Cohen13 Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Commentslast_img

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