The second it became apparent Louisville defensive lineman Chris Williams was not getting up, the Carrier Dome erupted in a deafening chorus of boos.
The Syracuse Orange were driving down the field behind their no-huddle offense and had just recorded a first down to move into the red zone when Williams rolled over on the turf and grabbed his right leg with an apparent cramping injury.
Syracuse fans, however, were not buying it, as the timing of the injury appeared awfully convenient.
As Louisville trainers jogged onto the field to stretch out Williams’ right leg, the boos rained down upon the Cardinals lineman – the fourth Louisville player to go down with an injury during the middle of a successful Syracuse drive, stalling the Orange offense.
The frequent injuries not only helped slow down Syracuse’s fast-paced offense, but slowed down the game as a whole, with an elapsed time of three hours and fifty-five minutes – a fact that was not lost on Syracuse coach Dino Babers.
“You guys, look at your watches,” Babers said after Syracuse’s 62-28 loss to Louisville. “How long did the game take? It might have been a lot shorter if we wouldn’t have had so many people like that.”
The first Louisville injury occurred during Syracuse’s third drive of the game. After two straight three-and-outs, the Orange had finally found some momentum on offense. Following Dungey’s quick pass to running Moe Neal, who wiggled his way to Louisville’s 17-yard line, Syracuse attempted to quickly line up for another snap, but Louisville defensive lineman Johnny Richardson remained on the ground grabbing his leg.
Referees stopped the clock and refused to allow the Orange to run their next play, much to the dismay of a screaming Babers. Richardson eventually walked off toward the Louisville sideline under his own power and was back on the field at the start of Syracuse’s next drive.
The injury was the first of many. Each time the Louisville player didn’t need help from trainers to walk off the field, and each time the injured player was able to return to the game.
While Babers appeared agitated during his post-game press conference, he refused to criticize the officials or reveal his personal opinion regarding the convenient nature of Louisville’s injuries.
“That’s as far as I go,” Babers said. “Hopefully I don’t get hit with a fine for that.”