first_img Comments Van Chew’s numbers against Wake Forest didn’t threaten any of his career highs. He didn’t catch a pass in the first half. His numbers weren’t even the best performance by a wide receiver in Thursday’s game.But those four catches for 60 yards and a touchdown — plus a crucial two-point conversion were invaluable to Syracuse’s comeback.‘Van made some great catches,’ SU head coach Doug Marrone said. ‘He really did. He made some great catches, and it comes down to the same thing. It’s not rocket science. You go out there and someone has to make plays.’Chew was the hero of Syracuse’s 36-29 overtime win over the Demon Deacons Thursday in the Carrier Dome. After being held without a catch in the first half, the wideout came up with some key catches late to help SU forge the dramatic comeback. His two diving catches on opposite sides of the end zone provided the game-tying and game-winning points, respectively, for the Orange.Chew and quarterback Ryan Nassib struggled to connect in the first half. Their first connection didn’t happen until the opening drive of the second half.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textA feeble passing game contributed to the poor offensive performance of the first two quarters, prompting the leaders of the team to vocalize new goals for the second half.‘Basically, all the leaders were just talking, saying we need to pick it up because the defense was carrying us the whole first half,’ Chew said. ‘So we just had to look at the adjustments and just do them.’And Chew’s biggest contributions came when the Orange needed them most in the second half.After Wake Forest went up 29-14 with 11 minutes left, he had a key 24-yard pickup on the Orange’s next drive that eventually resulted in a touchdown. Antwon Bailey scored on a 52-yard touchdown run just more than a minute later to put the score at 29-27.That set the stage for Chew’s first diving grab. The original play on the two-point conversion broke down when Nassib was flushed from the pocket. Chew broke his pattern off early, and Nassib tossed him the ball in the back corner of the end zone. Chew launched himself toward the sideline, pulled in the pass and managed to drag his leg in bounds to tie the game at 29-29.‘The play was designed to get it out quick, and it went into scramble mode,’ Nassib said. ‘Chew created separation and made a great catch.’But that diving catch was just a precursor to the senior’s heroics in overtime.On SU’s first play of the extra session, he picked up 16 yards on a deep comeback to move the Orange inside the 10. Two snaps later, Nassib rolled left and got some pressure quickly. He said he just tried to throw the ball away to a spot where only Chew had a shot at it.The receiver laid out with full extension and snared the ball just before it hit the turf in the front corner of the end zone for the eventual game-winning score.‘I was just trying not to get a pick,’ Nassib said. ‘So I just threw it where only Van could get it. I’ve been with him for quite some time, and he makes those plays look easy, doesn’t he?’Adjustments spark comebackWake Forest caught Syracuse off guard with its game plan.‘First games are tough,’ Marrone said. ‘… They were the opposite of what they showed last year on film.’That led to a first half dominated by the Demon Deacons. But with some halftime adjustments, SU managed to storm back.Defensively, Syracuse switched from a heavy dose of zone coverage to mostly man-to-man in the second half. Wake Forest receiver Chris Givens finished the first half with 124 yards receiving but went for only 46 more after halftime.SU cornerback Kevyn Scott came up with an interception in the fourth quarter trailing Givens over the middle, something he likely wouldn’t do in a zone defense. And on the last two plays of the game, Scott and SU’s other corner Keon Lyn provided lockdown coverage on their receivers to force incompletions in the end zone.‘I got more physical and aggressive with (Givens) so he wouldn’t hit those underneath routes,’ Scott said. ‘We were giving him too much cushion in the beginning.’Offensively, the Orange’s biggest pickup of the day came on a play that wasn’t even in the original game plan. The offense struggled to hold off the Demon Deacons heavy rush throughout much of the first three quarters.But with all the pressure Wake Forest was bringing, SU tried a play to run around the pressure rather than straight through it. What resulted was running back Antwon Bailey’s 53-yard touchdown burst on a sweep down the left sideline that pulled the Orange within two in the fourth quarter.‘It was just a good way to attack pressure,’ Nassib said of the play call. ‘We didn’t run that all game, and it wasn’t in our game plan. It was an adjustment we made at halftime, and the rest is history.’[email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Published on September 5, 2011 at 12:00 pmlast_img

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