Here we go again.
That is what Syracuse fans (myself included) were thinking Saturday as they watched the Orange‚Äôs miserable loss to USF unfold. When it was all said and done, the game would be the team‚Äôs worst on both sides of the ball. Syracuse ran for only 73 yards, and Eric Dungey finished the game with a QBR of only 35.6. The Bulls, on the other hand,¬†could do no wrong. We knew USF‚Äôs running game could give the range defense problems, and Marlon Mack‚Äôs 184 yards on the ground did just that. Quinton Flowers, whose passing game was supposed to be a weakness Syracuse wouldn‚Äôt have to worry about, threw for 259 yards and two touchdowns. Even the plays you run in the backyard at Thanksgiving were working for the Bulls (A flea-flicker? Really?). USF‚Äôs 535 yards of total offense were the most allowed by Syracuse all year, and the Orange‚Äôs 305 yards of total offense was the second lowest on the season behind the LSU game. The dominating loss was unexpected, but it probably shouldn‚Äôt have been.
If Syracuse were sure of one thing after starting 3-0, it was that this team was at the very least better than last year‚Äôs. Now? Not so much. Saturday‚Äôs game was a reality check for the fans who were already looking to a bowl game, and a cruel reminder that this team hasn‚Äôt done anything special yet.
Just look at the team‚Äôs resume so far. The Orange has three wins – against Central Michigan, Wake Forest and an FCS team. That‚Äôs what Syracuse has done this year. It‚Äôs also exactly what Syracuse did last year. I‚Äôm not saying this team is the same as last year‚Äôs team, but the Orange hasn‚Äôt done anything this year we haven‚Äôt seen before.
Here‚Äôs the moral of the story. With what we saw out of the Orange Saturday, don‚Äôt get too excited yet. Syracuse could still make a bowl game, but it could just as easily lose out.
Posted: Nathan Dickinson