Syracuse started the game against Louisville with an interception, the same way they started every road game this season. Things never got better, and the Syracuse Orange lost to the Louisville Cardinals 56-10.
So what does this mean? Three takeaways:
It was too good to be true
Every year Syracuse fans wait and wait, hoping this moment never comes (it usually does). Today, it happened. Syracuse will not make a bowl game in the 2017 season. Dino Babers gave us all hope through seven games when the Orange knocked off No. 2 Clemson in the Dome. We all began to feel that Syracuse football was not going to fail us.
Four straight losses broke the hard truth. Blame whatever you want (injuries, bad luck, losing to MTSU), but this is the most important thing we learned today.
SU can’t hang without Eric Dungey
In the first half against Wake Forest, Zack Mahoney looked like he might be able to carry this team to the two wins they needed. A fruitless second half and a brutal first half today showed he just doesn’t have it. He threw two picks with only 5 completions (yes the weather was bad, but still). Rex Culpepper came in and did not do much better, but that won’t mean much going forward.
With Dungey this offense was fluid and confident, they had a leader in the backfield. Without him everyone was out of sync, from receivers dropping passes to Moe Neal struggling to get out of the backfield.
Mahoney has had a weird career, and he actually has looked decent in a handful of ways. Dungey’s heart and toughness is as important as his skills, and he can’t use any of that without being on the field.
Yes, they were without Dontae Strickland as well... but Dungey is the heartbeat no matter what.
Orange don’t like tackling Cardinals
This was evident on the first drive. A handful of SU defenders bounced off of Malik Williams with Scoop Bradshaw diving at his ankles last to let him trot in for a 46-yard touchdown. On Lamar Jackson’s first touchdown, he carried Devin M. Butler for four yards before breaking free for another score.
From there things followed suit. Lamar Jackson ran for 120 yards and two touchdowns, he threw for another 270 and two scores. Williams had 180 yards on the ground and a pair of scores as well . Many untouched receivers, running backs and former Heisman winners alike ran all over Syracuse.
So that’s what we learned from the loss that ended Syracuse’s chances at making a bowl game.