The Syracuse Orange did not have a quality outing tonight. That goes without saying.
Within minutes of the game starting, they were down to the Louisville Cardinals, 21-0. Later in the second quarter, 35-7. And then in the third and into the fourth quarter, when there were some glimmers of momentum, they quickly turned a 14-point deficit into a 34-point one. They’d lose, 62-38.
Things were ugly, and really there’s no way around it. We got whipped.
It could’ve been worse, too.
Louisville lost three turnovers and we didn’t really make them pay for it. The Cardinals missed a field goal too, and we let them off the hook. Numerous Louisville wide receivers dropped easy passes. And yet, we were still no closer than 14 at any point over the final 57 minutes of the game.
Dino Babers warned us to be patient. After last week’s game, we weren’t willing to listen to that plea anymore. Perhaps we should’ve and this blowout loss wouldn’t have surprised as much.
For as much faith as we have in Babers and the coaching staff, that’s what we have to go on right now: faith. The defense, predicted to be run off the field by ‘Ville QB Lamar Jackson, made “good” on those thoughts, to the tune of 844 total yards (610 belong to Jackson in one way or another). Brandon Radcliff managed 155 yards on just nine carries, largely running untouched whenever he was given the ball. There wasn’t a goddamn thing the defense could do to stop anyone on the Louisville side. Made even worse by the fact that two of the team’s best defenders, Antwan Cordy and Juwan Dowels, were both injured and at least one of them seems unlikely to be back any time soon.
Offensively, the play-calling definitely wasn’t as sharp as we saw last week, and beyond Amba Etta-Tawo (eight catches for 103 yards and two touchdowns), it’s tough to really rave about anyone. The second-half O amassed just 45 passing yards and the run production was largely padded by some garbage time sprints. Picking up 414 yards is nothing awesome, especially when you run 93 plays.
Eric Dungey was 25-for-51 for 255 yards and three scores (plus an interception), which sounds great until you remember that 90 percent of all of that production was in the first half. The run game had 121 yards (yes, even with the extra garbage time yards) on 40 carries.
This isn’t to be super negative about what happened and how it relates to the coaching staff. We figured we’d lose and we did. Maybe by more than we thought. But still, we lost in a way that was expected. Syracuse couldn’t run the football, was not efficient throwing the ball, and couldn’t stop anyone on the Louisville side from gaining large chunks of yardage every time they touched the ball. That’s a recipe for disaster every single time.
But it is a bit worrisome for the rest of the year’s outcomes that we can’t really make tackles, or protect the QB, or run. Those, while in part, easy to blame on the previous regime, can also be brought up to the current staff too. Babers can’t make the players better, but him and his staff can certainly emphasize certain things a bit more in practice each week.
Let’s just hope the outcome is drastically different next week against USF...