If you’d told me yesterday that the Syracuse Orange would have four interceptions in the first half, I’d be banking on a blowout win for the No. 8 Miami Hurricanes. And yet, with some staunch defensive play and a little bit of luck, the Orange were down just 13-3 at the half, certainly within striking distance.
While they pushed throughout the second half and got within one point, it wouldn’t get any closer. Syracuse fell 27-19 despite some late field goal heroics by Cole Murphy, hitting from 53 with a little over five minutes to go.
Behind an offensive line that quickly collapsed against a fierce Miami blitz, Eric Dungey found himself under siege throughout the afternoon. He was hit repeatedly, in part leading to SU’s rough day through the air. Dungey had what was his roughest start to date for the Orange, going 13-of-41 for 137 yards and four picks.
However, where he fell short throwing, his running ability helped lift Syracuse in the second half. He had 100 yards on the ground on 20 carries. Between him and a resurgent Dontae Strickland -- rushing for a season-high 105 yards -- it was the run that surprisingly carried the load for SU while keeping up with Miami.
Syracuse’s offense was challenged all game, and leaned heavily on the defense to keep them in it. While they rarely got to Malik Rozier in the backfield, they had a capable rush and disrupted the flow of the Miami offense. SU also held a strong Hurricanes rushing attack in check (for the most part), with 140 yards for the ‘Canes.
It was, predictably, big plays that did SU in. Some choice deep balls and a few big Travis Homer runs were really the difference in a one-score finish.
We can be mad about losing, but you have to commend Syracuse’s ability to go punch-for-punch with any opponent, despite early struggles in this one. Dungey’s a machine, and he very much needs this week off coming up.
Syracuse is 4-4 overall and 2-2 in ACC play. They’ll face Florida State in two weeks.