AJ Long put Syracuse in a position to win today’s game against NC State but two costly second half turnovers from the true freshman resulted in a Wolfpack 24-14 victory.
The win was NC State’s first in conference play and once again raises serious questions about the Orange’s offense.
After a slow start in the first half, Syracuse was down 9-0 before Long drove his team 96 yards in 12 plays to make the score 9-7. The drive culminated in a beautifully-thrown 15-yard touchdown pass to Ben Lewis in the front corner of the end zone. At the start of the second half Long once again lead Syracuse on a touchdown drive. This time, the QB threw a 25-yard TD pass to Steve Ishmael to put Syracuse up 14-9.
On Syracuse’s next offensive possession, Long and the offense seemed to once again be in a good rhythm. The unit moved the ball 44 yards on just six plays, but then disaster struck.
Long made a complete rookie mistake and threw a pick six to Wolfpack defensive end Pharoah McKever making the score 17-14 after NC State converted a two-point conversion. A few drives later Long fumbled under pressure and lost the ball on his own 35. As a result of that, the Wolfpack scored another touchdown on an 18-yard Jacoby Brissett pass to Shadrach Thomas.
Syracuse never should have lost this game. Coming into today, NC State gave up the second most points in the ACC at just under 30 per game. Syracuse may have a multitude of injuries and a true freshman quarterback but the offense is making the same mistakes it has made all season. Adjustments need to be made; this is inexcusable. Long once again held on to the ball for too long today, there were far too many penalties and the run game was once again non-existent.
Syracuse now must win its remaining three games to reach a bowl. With a game at home against 24th ranked Duke and games away to Pitt and BC this will be an extremely tough task. Barring a miracle, this season is all but over.
Posted: Connor Morrissette