Syracuse returned to the Carrier Dome for the first time since their huge win over Virginia Tech. The Orange went into the game on Saturday knowing that they likely need to win two out of their final three to make that coveted bowl game (three 5-7 teams make a bowl game based on their academic standing). With a game against Florida State on the cards next weekend, Saturday looked an important game.
Syracuse’s Bowl Hopes Dashed
As mentioned above, Saturday was a massive game with significant bowl implications. With the loss, Syracuse finds itself in a very precarious position entering the final two weeks of the season. The Orange play host to Florida State next weekend, who may be underachieving by their high standards, but will certainly be heavy favorites. Syracuse wraps up the season with a visit to old Big East foe Pittsburgh. The Orange will now need to pull off the major upset victory over the Noles. Yes, it is possible, but things are looking quite bleak on the Bowl game front.
Syracuse Needs Eric Dungey
Whatever the result was going to be today, Syracuse fans were going to learn how important Eric Dungey is to the Orange. Yes, he missed most of last game and the Orange gut shut out but, let’s be honest with ourselves, Syracuse is getting smoked in that game regardless of who the QB is. Clemson is the number two team in the country for a reason. Without Dungey, the SU offense was streaky at best. Things got off to such a great start with Mahoney leading the Orange on a long TD drive to open the scoring. Things went downhill from there. Mahoney’s next pass was picked and the Orange entered halftime with only 88 passing yards and 100 total yards of offense, 46 of which came on one play. Mahoney finished the game with 190 passing yards and the Orange finished with 218 total yards. If Syracuse is going to compete with the Seminoles next week, things will need to be much better at the QB position and it seems like the only way to do that is to have Eric Dungey under center.
Major Question Marks Remain on the SU Defense
It was a weird game for Syracuse’s defense. They opened the game with a huge fourth game stop. Then, they bled some yards and points before ending the half with a huge takeaway. The opened the second half by giving up a two play TD drive and allowing the Pack to convert four third downs en route to a 10 minute TD drive to push the Wolfpack lead to eight after the Orange stormed back. Syracuse failed, with the exception of the pick at the end of the half, to come up with big plays when they were so desperately needed. The Pack went 10-18 on third down and several of their big plays were due to nothing other than poor tackling. This is a young, raw Syracuse defense and it seems to show that at the worst times. The Orange are facing a major uphill battle the last two weeks of the season, and especially if Dungey will be sidelined, the Orange defense needs to step up.
Syracuse has made major strides this season but is likely to fall short of the ultimate goal of a bowl game unless they can pull of a major upset.