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Final score: NC State 35, Syracuse 20

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North Carolina State v Syracuse Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

This was not Zack Mahoney’s offense. That was clear as the NC State Wolfpack beat the Syracuse Orange 35-20. Eric Dungey was out for the game and didn’t play a snap for Syracuse. That’s the story, really.

If you insist on diving in further, you’ll also see that SU’s offense really had just two drives. The first possession, totaling 61 yards, ended on a 10-yard Dontae Strickland touchdown run. Amba Etta-Tawo caught an 81-yard score in the third quarter. Beyond those possessions, SU had just 76 yards on the game.

Mahoney, whose best asset is his ability to run the football, had 13 carries for just two yards on the game. He was 13-for-24 passing the ball, for 190 yards plus a touchdown (to Etta-Tawo) and a pick.

NC State, leading from mid-way through the second quarter, finished with 544 yards of offense. Matt Dayes led the way with 108 yards and three touchdowns. Wolfpack QB Ryan Finley was brutally efficiently against SU. He was 20-for-29 for 340 yards and a score.

It all really came down to the third quarter for both teams. Finley’s far-too-easy 68-yard touchdown pass to Kelvin Harmon early in the third made it 21-10. Etta-Tawo quickly pulled SU within four. And a Cole Murply field goal (following a big blocked punt by the Orange) had Syracuse down just one shortly thereafter. But a series of consecutive third down conversions from State killed off much of the rest of the quarter. The brutal drive put the Wolfpack up 28-20. SU would get no closer than a touchdown pass-turned-chop block (yes, questionable) to put the nail in the coffin, really.

There’s cases to be made about questionable officiating. And sure, that would-be excellent catch from Alvin Cornelius could’ve tied it. But the Orange’s struggles were really what decided this game.

Syracuse is 4-6 (2-4) despite their best efforts. NC State’s 5-5 despite theirs too, really. More to follow after a pretty brutal defeat.