It was a second quarter to forget for the Orange in its 45-20 loss to South Florida. Just one week removed from a 62-28 loss to 10th ranked Louisville, Syracuse stormed out to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter and it seemed like all order had been restored in Dino Babers kingdom. Until Rodney Adams came to crash SU’s homecoming party. The wide receiver led the charge for 28 unanswered Bulls points in the second quarter to give them a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Adams scored three touchdowns in the quarter, including two on the ground. The Orange’s crippled defense couldn’t keep up with the senior’s speed as he beat them time and time again around the edge.
Syracuse couldn’t go punch for punch with USF. The Orange delivered the opening blow, but the Bulls gave it two back with unanswered strings of 28 and 17. Aside from Adams, running back Marlon Mack took the wind out of SU’s sails as well. Despite carrying the ball just nine times, the junior racked up 115 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including a 52-yard dagger on fourth down to push USF’s lead to double digits.
After Syracuse got out to its 17-0 run, it could only muster up a field goal. Despite having 104 more yards than the Bulls, SU couldn’t capitalize and turn that yardage into points. That came largely in part to Babers’ dice rolling with five fourth down attempts and only converting on two. The usual suspects put up their expected numbers. Eric Dungey returned to form with 350 yards and two touchdowns, but did have a pair of interceptions that halted crucial Orange drives. Amba Etta-Tawo submitted another big yard game with 123 yards on eight receptions. But the big surprise came in the running game courtesy of Dontae Strickland. The New Jersey native eclipsed his entire 2015 total in this game with 127 yards. Strickland contributed to the balanced offensive attack that got Syracuse out to its early lead. This was the first quality rushing game for SU.
The Orange has its first losing streak of the season, but a winnable game sits on the horizon next Saturday against a UConn team that doesn’t have a convincing win on its campaign.