FB : Former walk-on Acchione’s 1st career touchdown seals SU win

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Michael Acchione wasn’t supposed to catch the game-winning touchdown. His route was intended to open space for one of Syracuse’s more notable wide receivers to make a play.Quarterback Ryan Nassib was forced to scramble to his right. The Rhode Island cornerback jumped, and as Nassib rolled out of the pocket there was one receiver working with him — the former walk-on Acchione.‘He was supposed to have a clear route, but the corner jumped, and he worked with me on the scramble,’ Nassib said. ‘I was able to put the ball where only he could catch it, and he hung on for dear life.’Acchione made the catch as he fell to the ground in the end zone. It was the second reception of the day for the senior, and the second catch of his career as well. The former walk-on — who earned a scholarship this season — ended up making the game-winning play in the Orange’s 21-14 victory over Rhode Island.‘Words do not really describe it,’ Acchione said. ‘(Head) Coach Doug Marrone gave me a great opportunity here. I have thanked him a thousand times already. It is just overwhelming how much support you get from players and coaches.’AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAcchione made his first career catch in the first quarter Saturday. The Orange lined up with an empty backfield and five receivers, and Nassib threw a quick out to Acchione on the left side of the field for 7 yards.That may have been enough to satisfy the Syracuse veteran. After three years on SU with no game experience, making his first career catch was ‘wonderful.’But he resurfaced to top that first reception on the final play of the winning drive. His touchdown catch held importance on its own because it broke a tie. And it gave further gratification to Acchione, the SU wide receivers corps and most of the team because it was a play made by a hard worker and a former member of SU’s scout team.‘He has been working hard ever since I was a freshman,’ SU wide receiver Van Chew said. ‘Every day in practice he has been working hard. Also, he is a leader of the group since he is a senior.’Acchione played high school football six miles from the Carrier Dome in Solvay. His father, Garry, played for SU from 1978-81. Coming to Syracuse and getting a chance to be a part of the Orange was already a dream come true.Saturday was icing on the cake.‘Coming from a small town, you have a lot of expectations,’ Acchione said. ‘The coaches always had my back. The players always motivate me to get better every day. When my time came, I made the most of it.’***While a former walk-on caught the game-winning touchdown, a current walk-on saw increased playing time at linebacker.Dom Anene entered the game at weakside linebacker with about eight minutes left in the third quarter after starter Dyshawn Davis left the game injured with what Marrone said were cramps.The junior walk-on was on the field for most of the remainder of the game and was impressive.‘Dom Anene made a play for us, and people need to realize that those people have been with the program and played very well for us today,’ Marrone said.Anene was a big part of Syracuse’s final defensive stop. Rhode Island began its last drive at its own 47-yard line, needing to go 53 yards to tie the game. Syracuse sent a big blitz on first down, and both linebacker Marquis Spruill and Anene got to URI quarterback Steve Probst.The walk-on was credited with a half-sack, the first of his career.‘We called upon him, and we needed the play,’ defensive end Mikhail Marinovich said, ‘and he stepped up to the plate and really did a great job.’***With Saturday’s game being played one day before the 10-year anniversary of the tragedies of Sept. 11, 2001, multiple ceremonies remembering that day took place in the Carrier Dome.The first 5,000 fans in attendance were given pins with interlocking flags, one with the Syracuse block ‘S’ logo and one with the American flag. The Dome went mute for a moment of silence before the game.Michael Peterson, a Grammy Award nominee and the 2008 Bob Hope ‘Spirit of Hope’ award winner for his service to the nation and people of the armed forces, performed the national anthem. At halftime, he performed a song he wrote for veterans, titled ‘You Could Hear a Pin Drop.’[email protected] Commentscenter_img Published on September 11, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Mark: [email protected] | @mark_cooperjrlast_img