After leading by 17 late in the first half, the Syracuse Orange looked prepared for a run-away victory. Instead, an awful second half showing by SU saw the Wake Forest Demon Deacons score at will in a 64-43 victory. Not ideal at all.
Three takeaways from a game you’d like to forget:
The defense looked absolutely atrocious
There’s no sugar coating this: Syracuse looked putrid defensively. Other than the second quarter, the Orange had no answer to literally anything Wake Forest did. Whether it was lapses in coverage, an inability to get off blocks, or simply just a lack of hustle, Wake Forest’s offense dominated this game.
In the second half, the Orange defense literally did not get a stop, not once. Somehow, Wake Forest scored on every second half drive, other than the last one where they ran out the clock.
Allowing over 730 yards, this type of performance was not expected at all. The Orange had toppled and stifled much better offenses than this, yet, somehow, they allowed this team to score 40 second half points.
This was bad, real bad. Let’s hope we never see this type of performance ever again.
Zack Mahoney was good, and then bad
In the first half, senior quarterback Zack Mahoney had me rethinking the decision to not start junior quarterback Dungey. His three touchdowns and over 200 yards lead the Orange to a 14 point half time lead. Yet, of course, he played awful in the second half, throwing two interceptions and leading Syracuse to only three points.
I don’t know what went wrong with the offense. Maybe it wasn’t quarterback play, but I think you have to blame Mahoney for some of the issues. I know he is not the starter and should not be expected to replicate Dungey’s type of performance, but what he did in the second half was not-so-impressive. He missed on easy throws, took bad sacks, and was unable to throw the ball accurately.
I know he was very solid in the first half, but that second half debacle is tough to get over in a game where we needed all the points.
If Eric Dungey is unable to play again next week, the Orange may be in serious trouble.
Kicking was bad
Perhaps the lone consistent throughout the game was Cole Murphy’s inconsistency. This is now his second straight game where he has missed at least two field goals. After starting off the season so strong with only five missed field goals in the first eight games, the Syracuse kicker has now missed four in his last two.
The two field goals today were understandable in some ways, as 45 and 51 yards are not exactly layups for anyone. Yet, the way he missed the second one, barely hitting the net at all, was hard to watch. He seemed to shank it off his foot, missing out on a chance to bring the team to within one point.
This is an issue that needs to be solved fast before the last two games of the season. If Murphy can not find his confidence once again, the Orange have a serious issue.