Sales struggles in loss; Lemon sets program record for receptions

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Related Stories DIGGING A HOLE: Multiple turnovers, miscues cost Syracuse in 17-10 loss to MinnesotaMinnesota leads Syracuse 7-3 at halftime in low-scoring affair filled with penaltiesOffensive struggles cost Syracuse in 17-10 loss to Minnesota MINNEAPOLIS— The game was nearly over when Marcus Sales finally made his way onto the stat sheet.After turning in 100-yard receiving performances in each of Syracuse’s first three games, the senior wide receiver was held without a catch for the first 57-plus minutes of the game on Saturday night. The Minnesota secondary rendered Sales invisible in the Orange’s pass-happy, no-huddle offense for the first time in 2012.“We tried to move him around, get him in spots where we could get some one-on-one looks,” SU quarterback Ryan Nassib said. “But they had a plan for him and they did a good job taking him out of the game.“It’s something that we’re going to have to think about and game plan for.”Sales finished with two catches and a touchdown, but both came on the Orange’s meaningless scoring drive in the final minutes to cap a 17-10 loss to Minnesota at TCF Bank Stadium.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSales emerged as the team’s go-to receiver with his stellar play in the first three games. He easily found seams in the defense on slants and chased down lob passes for grabs during the streak of 100-yard games, but Nassib rarely looked his way on Saturday as the Gophers ran their game plan to perfection.“Mostly they clouded him and played a safety over the top,” SU head coach Doug Marrone said. “They did a nice job of that, take him out of the game and that’s what most people do to take people out.”Lemon sets program record for receptionsLemon returned to his 2011 form in the loss. After undergoing offseason shoulder surgery and dealing with a nagging lower-body injury early in the season, the senior broke through with nine catches against Minnesota.His performance moved him past Shelby Hill and Scott Schwedes to become Syracuse’s leader in career receptions with 145 — six more than the previous record. Lemon’s historic night went without any celebrations, as he and the team focused more on a disappointing 17-10 loss after the game.“It means a lot,” Lemon said. “It would mean more if we won the game. It’s nice to be on a list with people like that, but I don’t play this game to get individual records. We go out there to win the game.”Lemon’s first catch came midway through the first quarter with SU trailing 7-0. The wideout lined up with about 15 yards separating him and Minnesota safety Derrick Wells. Nassib hit a wide-open Lemon in the slot for a 24-yard pickup and then called his number on the next play for eight more yards.From there, Lemon became Nassib’s favorite target, just as he was in 2011.Bye weekHeading into the bye week, Marrone’s team isn’t where it wanted to be. Syracuse has fallen in three close games, and the program looks to be on the path to another losing season.Marrone tried to impress on his players the need to remain positive and continue to believe if they’re going to rebound from the bad start.“Like I told the players, we know that we’re a good football team,” Marrone said. “The perception of it is we’re 1-3 and the three teams we’ve lost to are a combined probably 11-1. That doesn’t make us feel any better.”Marrone said he stressed that the players can’t get caught up with outside expectations and distractions this week. Right now, the Orange can only continue to work hard and improve before taking on Pittsburgh in a Friday night game in the Carrier Dome on Oct. 5.The head coach still calls his group a good football team. To back up their coach’s statement the rest of the season, Nassib and his teammates know this week’s preparation is crucial.“We got to go into this bye with a full head of steam and try to get as much better as we can,” Nassib said. “We got to get our bodies back. We’ve been in four dogfights so far this year and we just got to get ready for the second half of the season.” Commentscenter_img Published on September 24, 2012 at 2:52 am Contact Ryne: rjgery@syr.edulast_img

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