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Virginia 44, Syracuse 38: 5 Takeaways from Orange's 3rd Straight Loss

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Here are some observations from today's game.

Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

Here are five takeaways from Syracuse's 44-38 loss in triple overtime to Virginia on Saturday:

1. What was he thinking?

Down 24-21 late in the fourth quarter, Virginia faced a third-and-15 deep in its own territory. Quarterback Matt Johns dumped the ball off to Albert Reid, who was gang tackled after six yards by several SU defenders. But Syracuse's Zaire Franklin committed a facemask penalty, extending the drive. Later in the drive, UVA's Ian Frye kicked the game-tying field goal to force overtime.

It was reminiscent of Kielan Whitner's personal foul penalty in the fourth quarter last week, which extended a South Florida drive that resulted in a touchdown to put the Bulls up 14 and ultimately put the game away.

2. Missed opportunities early

Despite threatening to score on three consecutive drives to start the game, Syracuse came up empty each time. On SU's first play from scrimmage, Dungey ran for 28 yards into Virginia territory. But on the very next play, he fumbled and the Cavaliers took over.

On Syracuse's next drive, it again got the ball into Virginia territory, this time to the 28-yard line. But a holding penalty put SU out of field goal range and the Orange were forced to punt.

But Syracuse's best opportunity that went for nothing came on its following drive. The Orange faced a third-and-goal from UVA's one-yard line, but freshman running back Jordan Fredericks was stuffed on two consecutive carries, giving the ball back to the Hoos.

3. The Dungey Show

Eric Dungey wasn't perfect on Saturday -- he lost two fumbles, including one that was returned for a touchdown in the second quarter. But he consistently provided SU's offense with the spark it needed, both with his arm and legs.

With the Orange locked in a 14-14 tie late in the second quarter, Dungey took off from Virginia's 30-yard line and found a world of open space in the middle of the field. As he neared the five-yard line, he hurdled UVA's Quin Blanding before bouncing off another defender and landing in the end zone.

Dungey also threw for two touchdowns, both of which came in overtime. In all, he went 16-of-22 for 150 yards and ran 18 times for 85 yards, a game-high.

4. More Dixon greatness

In the second quarter, Syracuse punter Riley Dixon successfully converted a fake field goal or punt for the third consecutive game. This time, on fourth-and-4 from SU's 43-yard line, Dixon pulled off a fake punt and ran to the right for 15 yards. The Orange would later score a touchdown on a one-yard run via Fredericks.

Dixon also had success with his leg on Saturday. He had two punts, which pinned Virginia at its own 12- and four-yard lines. Consider the Dixon for Heisman campaign in full effect.

5. Bowl hopes out the window

Even if Syracuse had won today, its chances of making a bowl game wouldn't have been through the roof. But with a loss, playing in December looks like an impossible task. The Orange are technically on pace to finish 6-6, but the schedule is about to get much more difficult. You can probably chalk up both the Florida State and Clemson games as losses, which means SU will need to go 3-1 against Pittsburgh, LouisvilleNC State and Boston College. You don't exactly have reason to feel good about those odds.