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GOING BOWLING: SU becomes bowl eligible thanks to Krautman’s game-winning kick in win over Rutgers

first_img Comments Published on November 12, 2010 at 12:00 pm Facebook Twitter Google+center_img PISCATAWAY, N.J. – For the first time all day, Ross Krautman was lost. No longer could the freshman kicker stand by himself on the Syracuse sideline, preventing his eyes from wandering into the Rutgers Stadium crowd of 49,911. In the unfamiliar press room, he prepared to be peppered with questions concerning his 24-yard field goal with 1:07 left in the fourth quarter of Syracuse’s 13-10 win over Rutgers. The kick that sent Syracuse (7-3, 4-2 Big East) into bowl eligibility for the first time since 2004. Standing bewildered, Krautman’s status on the team, and just how special of a game this was, became painfully evident. On an evening in which Syracuse’s specialists won the game, Krautman was the hero. Under the familiar New Jersey lights, he kicked Syracuse into a bowl game. But he was still lost among the glitz of what this win truly meant for a starving program. He didn’t know where to go. ‘On the podium, Ross,’ a voice finally muttered from the press room crowd.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text Krautman found his way to the podium, just like he found his way onto the field for the two deciding field goals. The first-year kicker drilled a career-long 48-yarder with 3:19 remaining in the third quarter to tie the game at 10. And after the Syracuse offense finally put together a 66-yard no-huddle drive in the final minutes, Krautman connected on the 24-yarder for the win. But even if it was a win for a team, a university and a city, Krautman — in true kicker fashion — maintained the all-to-himself mentality. That is, after all, how he won the game. ‘I’m off on my own,’ Krautman said. Out of the spotlight all year, the freshman has quietly converted a Big East-best 15-of-16 kicks. But Saturday, Krautman was thrust into the spotlight. Before its final drive, SU only registered 242 yards on the day. Rutgers accounted for 280 yards on 73 plays. Both teams combined to allow 10 sacks on their respective quarterbacks. SU lost two fumbles, while Rutgers lost one. But the specialists for the Orange kept the game close and gave it the win. Krautman ended it, but it all started with SU punter Rob Long. He prevented Syracuse from losing control of the game early with his Rutgers-prepared change to his punting approach. The senior captain kept Syracuse from giving up special teams points with booming line-drive punts, averaging 44 yards. The line drives were with a purpose, as Long narrowly escaped RU’s rushers. ‘It wasn’t about the punts this game,’ Long said. ‘It was about not getting one blocked.’ For the Scarlet Knights, the center of an ugly first half came in the form of freshman quarterback Chas Dodd, who completed three passes. He was benched for sophomore Tom Savage for the second half. Savage provided the one spell of solid football for RU all day, orchestrating an eight-play, 85-yard drive to give Rutgers the 10-7 lead to start the half. For the rest of the half, both teams continued to struggle. ‘I kept thinking, ‘Why is this happening?” SU head coach Doug Marrone said. ‘Why can’t we go out there and execute?” The Scarlet Knights failed to execute for the rest of the game as well. It all led up to what could have been a moment for the other kicker. But Rutgers’ San San Te missed a 45-yard field goal. One Ryan Nassib, Marcus Sales and Antwon Bailey-highlighted drive later, Krautman trotted onto the field, head down, with the Nassib-described ‘moxie.’ The kick was made, and for one game, at least, Krautman lifted the weight off Marrone’s shoulder. The season goals of a winning season and bowl eligibility were achieved. And as the last person in the press room, SU running backs coach Tyrone Wheatley lost his train of thought as well. Wheatley admitted after the game that even though Marrone referred to the win as ‘one game,’ it did lift that weight. It was the one game, a game so important that as Wheatley walked back to the field, he asked who SU would play next and then who SU would end with. But thanks to the specialists, after those two games, the Orange finally has another ‘one more game’ to look forward to. Said Long: ‘Everybody knows what it means when he made that.’ [email protected]last_img read more