Over the past few weeks, maligned Syracuse coach Greg Robinson said he’s seen signs his team was coming around. With just three conference wins to his credit, coming around probably won’t be enough to save his job after the season.


 

Over the past few weeks, maligned Syracuse coach Greg Robinson said he’s seen signs his team was coming around. With just three conference wins to his credit, coming around probably won’t be enough to save his job after the season.

However, Robinson pointed to a 10-point loss to Pittsburgh and an 11-point loss at West Virginia before South Florida dismantled the Orange a week ago.

Now, Robinson appears at least somewhat vindicated, as Syracuse defeated Louisville this weekend, 28-21.

“I really felt like our guys on the offensive side of the ball, the defensive side of the ball and special teams did some good things,” he said. “The second half, we were able to finish the game the way we wanted to, which there were a couple situations earlier in the year where we didn’t finish the way we wanted.”

Robinson will probably have to win out, or at least three of the final four games to keep his job. Considering those contests are at Rutgers, UConn, at Notre Dame and at Cincinnati, there are long odds against another Syracuse win.

Cause for celebration

It proved to be quite the week for the West Virginia program.

By defeating UConn, it placed itself where many had it when the season began — the favorite to win the conference. With it came a return to the national rankings.

With some early season turmoil, the team is  responding to coach Bill Stewart in his first full season.

“Coach Stewart is a great coach and when he comes in at halftime, I love that he keeps his cool,” running back Jock Sanders said after Saturday’s win. “He comes in smiling, which brings everyone up, not like our old coaching staff. Not saying there’s anything wrong with how they coached, because he has his own ways of coaching… he came in and told us to keep our poise under pressure. We knew we would come out with a lot of momentum in the second half.”

You can read between the lines of Sanders’ remarks, but don’t think there weren’t a few smiling faces in West Virginia if former Mountaineers coach Rich Rodriguez’s Michigan team fails to reach a bowl game for the first time in 33 years.

Hitting stride

West Virginia boasts two of the three weekly award winners, as the Big East celebrates standout performances.

Quarterback Pat White continues to rack up impressive numbers. The conference’s Offensive Player of the Week, White had his hand in three touchdowns to lead the Mountaineers past the Huskies. His game-high 109 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries and 11-of-18 passes for 121 yards and a touchdown helped the senior reach a few milestones. White surpassed 4,000 rushing yards, 5,000 passing yards and 9,000 total yards.

Teammate Mortty Ivy captured the Big East’s top defensive honor.  Ivy recorded 10 tackles, a pass breakup and a third-quarter interception that led to a West Virginia score.

Pitt kicker Connor Lee is the Special Teams Player of the Week. Lee kicked five field goals, a school record, including the game-winner to beat Notre Dame, 36-33, in four overtimes.

Contact Joe Perez at jperez@norwichbulletin.com.