Monday, August 15, 2011

My Top Five Sporting Experiences While at Syracuse University

By Louis Milman

Having graduated from Syracuse University this past May, I thought it would be fun and nostalgic to take a look back at some of the best games I had the fortune to attend while at SU. In reminiscing I realized just how many great moments I was able to be present for. If there’s one thing this list will teach any incoming freshman, it’s to make sure you go to every game you can.

Over the span of my four years, I was at 55 home basketball games, 2 NCAA Tournament Games, 8 Big East Tournament Games, 26 home football games, 2 road football games, and a bowl game (never thought I’d get to say that.) Here are the top 5 games I was able to attend:

5) (TIE) Men’s Lacrosse vs. University of Virginia 2/27/2009 and Men’s Lacrosse vs. Maryland (NCAA Quarterfinals 5/16/2009):
I spent the longest time trying to determine which of these games was more deserving of being on the list, and at the end of the day, I couldn’t leave either one off. The two games couldn’t be more different.. I remember the Virginia game specifically because we packed The Dome that night with nearly 17,000 fans. It was the loudest and rowdiest lacrosse game I went to. Then, when you add in a frantic near-comeback that resulted in a one goal game? The UVa game was my informal introduction to big time lacrosse, and boy was I hooked.

The game against Maryland later that year was one of the biggest roller coasters of emotion I’ve ever been on. I was so excited that the NCAA tournament was at Hofstra, right in my Long Island backyard. Upon arrival, that excitement went down the drain when John Galloway was nowhere in sight. With backup goalie Al Cavalieri playing the game of his life, SU was able to move on. 

4) Football vs. Northwestern 9/19/2009:

After suffering through the final two seasons of Greg Robinson (and trust me, that was more than enough) Doug Marrone had taken over SU Football. Honestly, any coach that wasn't G-Rob would have given SU fans hope, but when Marrone came in and nearly defeated Minnesota in his first ever game, most of us knew that we had something special in Doug. Two weeks later after a not-so-terrible 28-7 loss to Penn State, The Dome was rocking as the two best communications schools in the country took the field. It may not have been the prettiest game, but no one who was there will ever forget the image of Ryan Liechtenstein’s winning field goal sailing through the uprights. Amazing.

3) Men’s Basketball vs Villanova on Gameday 2/27/2010:

34,616. I really don’t have to say any more. With College Gameday on campus, the biggest crowd in Carrier Dome (and on-campus basketball) history, and the top two teams in the country losing earlier in the day, I still cannot imagine The Dome any louder than it was that day. John Wallace, Derrick Coleman, Lawrence Moten and others came back just to be a part of it. People were sitting in the opposite end zone! And at the end of the day, we were #1! Unforgettable.

2) Football vs. Kansas State (Pinstripe Bowl) 12/30/2010:

It was the culmination of four years of football, and in reality couldn’t have been scripted better than this. Taking over Yankee Stadium, first bowl game in 6 years, and the best possible send-off for the Seniors. It was cold. When Kansas State’s running back reached the end zone in the opening minutes, there was doubt. Who could help but wonder if Syracuse Football was ready for this? But they were ready. Three Marcus Sales touchdowns, plenty of Delone Carter rushes, and one misguided salute later, Doug Marrone had delivered a bowl championship in Year 2. Incredible.

1) Men's Basketball vs. UConn (Big East Tournament Quarterfinals) 3/12/2009-3/13-2009

Undeniably the greatest sporting event I have ever been to. SIX OVERTIMES. When Eric Devendorf’s regulation buzzer beater swished the net, the SU student section went NUTS. Standing on chairs hugging everyone in sight, only to have the basket waved off. I felt, as I told one friend, that the best moment of my basketball life had been taken away. “You can have it back in five minutes” she replied. Well, it took longer than that. By the end, everyone I knew was watching. Relatives in Florida and friends in California had all turned on the game that wouldn’t end. I could write an entire series of articles on this game alone, but nothing can compare to the un-ending adrenaline rush of six overtimes in 
Madison Square Garden. Unbelievable.

Are you a Syracuse University Alum? What were the top five events YOU attended?  

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