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Final score: Wake Forest 64, Syracuse 43

Someone free me from this fresh new hell we currently inhabit.

NCAA Football: Wake Forest at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Wake Forest 64, Syracuse 43.

What the hell did we just watch?

You knew something was wrong when the Wake Forest Demon Deacons quickly ran down the field and scored on their first drive. And while they did so twice more in the first quarter, the Syracuse Orange were able to answer and at least looked capable on offense.

The defense woke up a bit, and held the Deacons to just three points in the second quarter, and a strong SU offensive effort led to a 38-24 lead at halftime. It could’ve been 38-21, but Syracuse’s defense was caught napping late and allowed a field goal to close the gap to 11. That would be the turning point, evidentally.

Despite a really impressive outing from Zack Mahoney (over 380 passing yards and three touchdowns), and strong run games from both Moe Neal and Dontae Strickland, it was impossible to keep up with a Wake offense that could not be stopped.

Or rather, wouldn’t be stopped, since the SU defense basically took the day off.

The Demon Deacons piled up yards at will, and John Wolford was able to make whatever plays were necessary to move Wake Forest down the field. Whether with his arm or legs, everything was available. SU’s vaunted third down defense could not play to its usual level, and Wolford found ways to convert multiple times when no one spied him.

NCAA Football: Wake Forest at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

He’d finish with nearly 500 total yards on the day, plus six touchdowns. Three Wake Forest receivers had 100 yards. Running back Matt Colburn ran for over 230 yards. It was an embarrassing effort all around.

To watch a display like this -- one that was more reminiscent of last year’s failures and the Pitt atrocity -- was the most stunning result you could’ve dialed up for the game. While the Orange defense is far from perfect, it had looked much better this year and Brian Ward had done a virtuoso job improving the unit on that side. But this calls all of that into question now. Was it all an anomaly? Or was the horrendous effort against a team like Wake Forest the norm?

We’ll have to wait and see next week.

I’m upset and disappointed, and you are too. This team’s bowl hopes are very much in doubt, but not for the reasons we’d expect. Without Eric Dungey, one would assume we’d be goners, but the offense was fine without him. The defense undermined us at every turn. I have no idea what to think.

While we’re all angry, please try to be nice to one another in the comments. More to come, unfortunately. Syracuse is now 4-6 and needs two wins to get to bowl eligibility. Seems less than likely after this display...