No. 1 Wake Forest defeats Syracuse, 1-0, after failing to win last 2 seasons

first_imgWake Forest junior Machop Chol raced down the right side of Syracuse’s penalty box before playing a ball across the center of the penalty area.Defender Dylan McDonald slid in for the block but was too late. Midfielder Simon Triantafillou tried to stop the ball with his outstretched foot, but he couldn’t. Demon Deacons’ striker Justin McMaster was all alone at the far post. As easy as his finish was to give Wake Forest the win, the Orange made life difficult for the nation’s No. 1 team the entire evening.One quality run behind SU’s defense, pass and finish proved the difference as No. 1 Wake Forest (6-1, 2-0 Atlantic Coast) defeated Syracuse (2-2-3, 0-1-1 ACC), 1-0, on Saturday night in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The Orange had been a difficult foe for the WFU the past two seasons when the Orange played them to a draw in 2017 and beat WFU 2-0 in 2018. “You’re on the road against an elite team, you’re going to absorb pressure,” SU head coach Ian McIntyre said. “We worked extremely hard, I thought the front three and midfield block were excellent, we really limited their chances.”Outside of what McIntyre said was a 10-to-15 minute stretch where SU was under heavy pressure, SU’s effective and selective pressing and solid defending kept Wake Forest out of dangerous areas.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWhen starting goalkeeper Christian Miesch was called into action, he made the necessary saves, including one in the 87th minute when McMaster was in on goal at the top of the box. Miesch kept the Orange in the game with a diving save in the 51st minute and another routine save on a swirling long-range shot in the 84th minute. SU probed the WFU defense, but never broke through. senior Massimo Ferrin’s late free kick whipped into the waiting arms of Wake Forest goalie Andrew Pannenberg. Once SU went down, McIntyre opted to pull off Ferrin and midfielder Ryan Raposo, giving them one final rest and instructions before putting both on with striker Luther Archimede for the final minutes. “I wanted to get them a breather,” McIntyre said. “We left it all out there. They had a couple chances in the last minute in transition once we were throwing everything forward.”The Orange switched their formation, McIntyre said, and he wanted to inform them of the switch. Archimede and Ferrin tried to hold up the ball and spark counterattacks the entire night. They created half chances, but never had one the moment like WFU had earlier in the half to grab the lead. When midfielder Julio Fulcar received a pass 12 yards from goal, he was unable to bring it down to his feet without an incidental strike of his hand, nullifying the chance. In total, the Orange produced eight shots, but just one on goal and only two in the second half.“It’s how you then go and support those front guys,” McIntyre said. “If I was going to be critical of one thing, our final pass could have been a little bit sharper tonight.”SU sent more numbers forward late, but never generated a high-quality scoring chance. The best opportunity came for Archimede, whose left-footed shot in the final minutes skidded wide of Pannenberg’s post.Wake Forest’s defending pair of Michael DeShields and Nico Benalcazar shut down most of Syracuse’s attacks before they entered the penalty box, and while the Orange were mostly successful in negating the Demon Deacons’ attacks in the opening frame, one  cross won Wake Forest the game.“Our back four really limited their chances,” McIntyre said. “We out connected passes, just that final delivery and final pass selection was not quite good enough. I think we went toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in the nation.”The Orange will now travel to Colgate next to take on the Raiders on Tuesday night at 7 p.m.  Comments Published on September 21, 2019 at 10:45 pm Contact Anthony: Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Defining Don Shula’s NFL all-time coaching greatness as a defensive genius, master of adaptation

first_imgAlong with being a Pro Football Hall of Famer, Shula was named to both the NFL’s 1970s all-decade team and 100th anniversary all-time team. He was a four-time Associated Press coach of the year and one-time Sports Illustrated Man of the Year. Both of his sons, Dave and Mike Shula, have had long careers coaching football in some capacity.There’s no doubt Don Shula will always be NFL royalty. These are a few of the amazing accomplishments that defined his greatness.MORE: Ranking Super Bowl-winning head coaches, from the legendary to the luckyDon Shula won more games than anyone else — and didn’t lose much eitherShula has both the most regular-season wins (328) and most total wins (347) than any coach in NFL history. Bears legend George Halas is next with 318 and 324. Patriots coach Bill Belichick has 273 and 304. Belichick would need to coach five more successful seasons without Tom Brady to have any shot of breaking Shula’s record.Shula posted a .677 winning percentage, which is incredible for that longevity. He had only two losing seasons, both with the Dolphins in 1976 (6-8) and 1988 (6-10) with his teams making the playoffs a whopping 18 times.He was destined to be a teacher of footballShula grew up just to the northeast of Cleveland in the Lake Erie town of Grand River, Ohio. He stayed local in playing football at John Carroll University, which is now home to the Don Shula Sports Center. After Shula, the program produced several NFL personnel of note, including London Fletcher, Josh McDaniels, Nick Caserio, Greg Roman, Tom Telesco and Dave Caldwell.Shula was a good running back in college and got drafted by the hometown Browns as a defensive back in 1951. Shula, well versed in sociology and mathematics and initially pursued a career as a high coach and teacher first —  after also considering Catholic priesthood — before getting his chance in the NFL.Before getting to the Colts in 1955, Shula was in the Ohio National Guard for the Korean War and also added a master’s degree in physical education from Case Western Reserve. By the time he retired in 1957 and was making his transition to coaching, Shula, playing for fellow Hall of Famers Paul Brown and Weeb Ewbank, gained a lot of invaluable early experience with schemes, tactics and team chemistry.MORE: Don Shula’s coaching career by the numbersHe knew how to put together a dominant defense on every levelShula’s first and only NFL coordinator gig was overseeing the Lions’ defense from 1960 to ’62. Detroit became very hard to score on and move the ball against because of him. From a ferocius front four led by Hall of Famer Alex Karras to a secondary led by Hall of Famer Dick “Night Train” Lane, the Lions could both disrupt the backfield and made big plays on the ball.The Colts came calling in 1963 after they fired Ewbank, because Shula left a lasting impression of coaching intelligence when he played under him. Baltimore’s defense was another top unit and was more effective as a complementary unit with Shula’s former teammate Johnny Unitas as the starting QB.During his seven seasons with the Colts as head coach, Shula’s scoring defenses were ranked No. 7, No. 1, No. 4, No. 3, No. 2, No. 1 and No. 6 in the league. Shula did it with limited Hall of Fame help, with Gino Marchetti early and Ted Hendricks late.That was a buildup to Shula’s work with the Dolphins, stamped by the “No-Name Defense” led by Hall of Fame middle linebacker Nick Buonoconti, defensive tackle Manny Fernandez and safeties Jake Scott and Dick Anderson. Shula’s genius was looking at how defenders could best complement each other to come up with a complete unit with several strengths and limited weaknesses. Many others, like Belichick, have also embraced knowing the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.MORE: NFL world mourns loss of legendary Dolphins coachHe is responsible for the NFL’s lone perfect seasonThe 1972 Dolphins have had many challengers, but as teams such as Belichick’s 2007 Patriots have come close and failed, there’s a growing appreciation for Shula leading the Dolphins to an unblemished 17-0 mark.Sweeping the 14-game regular season was hard enough, but then the Dolphins ground out three consecutive close playoff victories over the 10-4 Browns, 11-3 Steelers and 11-3 Redskins. The defense ultimately won the championship with a 14-7 win over Washington in Super Bowl 7.Shula did have some all-time quarterbacks in his employ, starting with Unitas and ending with Dan Marino. But setting the tone for what Belichick does, Shula was highly adaptable to his personnel. When he had top passers and receivers, he threw often. In 1972, when he had mighty interior offensive linemen in Hall of Famers Larry Little and Jim Langer blocking for Hall of Fame fullback Larry Csonka, he could also go ball control to complement his defense.He was the bridge from NFL coaching past to its present and futureShula learned everywhere he went and understood what kind of personnel it took to win games consistently and at the highest level. He won with all kinds of teams and knew how important it was to attach himself long-term to steady quarterbacks, with Unitas, Earl Morrall, Marino, with another Hall of Famer, Bob Griese in between. Don Shula died Monday on his 90th birthday. Given 2020 marks 25 years since he last coached the Dolphins, it’s a tribute to his legendary legacy that everything he accomplished as an all-time great still resonates in the NFL today.Shula spent 33 consecutive years leading a team, starting with the Colts from 1963-69 and ending with the Dolphins from 1970-95. He won an NFL championship in Baltimore, taking that team to Super Bowl 3, and went on to win two Super Bowls in Miami, sandwiched by two AFC championships. Shula got the Colts to Super Bowl 3 right before the official NFL-AFL merger and had the Dolphins rolling as successful organization soon after it. Shula, like the Cowboys’ Tom Landry and the Steelers’ Chuck Noll, with their long familiar tenures as contemporaries, where throwbacks to Halas and Curly Lambeau.In the modern game, Belichick and the latest Super Bowl winner, Andy Reid, have proved to have the same blend of steadiness and adaptability as Shula. As they stand out now as two-decade plus sideline exceptions, there’s a better recognition that what Shula did so well for so many years is very difficult to do.It’s easy to see that Shula’s big winning numbers were impressive. But the processes that got him to the all-time bottom line are what should really define how much he meant to the NFL.last_img read more