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Searching for the Positives in Syracuse’s Lost Football Season

Digging for diamonds in a miserable season.

Syracuse’s season to forget ends today against Boston College. After winning the Texas Bowl last year Scott Shafer targeted eight wins for his team. Whether Syracuse finishes with three or four wins, the final product will be a disappointment. But there have been some positives despite the overwhelming negativity surrounding the program.

Arguably the best player on offense for Syracuse this season has been freshman receiver Steve Ishmael. The Florida product leads the team with three touchdown receptions (including two against defending national champ Florida State) and sits second behind Jarrod West in catches with 27. Ishmael’s a playmaker and will be a main factor in the offense for the next three seasons.

SU’s secondary has been a bright spot this season. Syracuse’s defense ranks 43rd in the nation in passing yards allowed and 60th in turnover margin. Coming into the season the unit looked like a potential weak spot, but cornerbacks Brandon Reddish and Julian Whigham, safeties Durell Eskridge and Darius Kelly, have played well. All four players have an interception.

The Orange secondary has played above expectations, but the glue of the defense is linebacker Cam Lynch. Without Lynch on the field Syracuse might not have won a game this season. The captain leads the team with 63 tackles, ten tackles for loss and six and a half sacks. He’s played so well he has even worked his way into NFL draft talk.

No one knew what to expect from SU’s kicking game at the beginning of the season. A hip injury ended Ross Krautman’s career, which left Syracuse with the unreliable Ryan Norton. Walk-on freshman Cole Murphy took over the job halfway through the season and never looked back. He’s hit two kicks of 50-yards or longer and was listed as a finalist for the Lou Groza Award.

Finally, the Orange’s other big leg, punter Riley Dixon, has been solid. The redshirt junior got the season off to a strong start throwing the game winning touchdown pass on a fake field goal against Villanova. Dixon has pinned back SU’s opposition countless times this season and has become a fan favorite as a result.

The final record will leave every SU fan hoping to put this season in the past, but there have been a few bright spots to build on for 2015.

Posted: Connor Morrissette

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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