First, the scary.
Syracuse punter Rob Long will miss the New Era Pinstripe Bowl game because he needs surgery to remove a benign brain tumor, school officials announced.
Syracuse said told trainers he had been experiencing headaches for the past several weeks. He underwent an MRI performed on Thursday that revealed the tumor. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Rob and his family for a smooth recovery.
Long finishes his career ranked second on the Syracuse career punting average record list at 43.3 yards per punt. He averaged 44.0 yards per punt this season and was voted a team captain for a second straight year, a rare feat for a kicker. His punting is a big weapon the Orange will miss in the bowl game versus Kansas State, and he also serves as the holder on field goals and handles kickoffs. But of course, all that pales in comparison to Long's health and well-being.
Moving on to brighter news, Syracuse coach Doug Marrone was named the American Football Coaches Association Region I Coach of the Year on Monday. Marrone led the Orange to a 7-5 record in his second season and their first bowl game since 2004.
The AFCA named five regional coaches of the year. The other winners are Auburn’s Gene Chizik, Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio, Baylor’s Art Briles, Oregon’s Chip Kelly and Stanford’s Jim Harbaugh. Kelly and Harbaugh tied for honors in their region.