Here we go again.
That is what Syracuse fans (myself included) were thinking Saturday as they watched the Orange’s miserable loss to USF unfold. When it was all said and done, the game would be the team’s 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’s running game could give the range defense problems, and Marlon Mack’s 184 yards on the ground did just that. Quinton Flowers, whose passing game was supposed to be a weakness Syracuse wouldn’t 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’s 535 yards of total offense were the most allowed by Syracuse all year, and the Orange’s 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’t 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’s. Now? Not so much. Saturday’s game was a reality check for the fans who were already looking to a bowl game, and a cruel reminder that this team hasn’t done anything special yet.
Just look at the team’s resume so far. The Orange has three wins – against Central Michigan, Wake Forest and an FCS team. That’s what Syracuse has done this year. It’s also exactly what Syracuse did last year. I’m not saying this team is the same as last year’s team, but the Orange hasn’t done anything this year we haven’t seen before.
Here’s the moral of the story. With what we saw out of the Orange Saturday, don’t get too excited yet. Syracuse could still make a bowl game, but it could just as easily lose out.
Posted: Nathan Dickinson