Going into the Syracuse Orange’s game at the NC State Wolfpack, we knew that SU had to minimize mistakes to have a shot at an upset.
Instead, Syracuse committed 12 penalties and Eric Dungey threw an early pick to set the tone for what was a day of frustration for Orange fans and players alike. NC State won 33-25 on Saturday afternoon, dropping SU to 2-3 overall and 0-1 in the ACC. The Wolfpack are now 4-1 and 2-0 in ACC play.
State was up 19 at the half, by way of a strong rushing attack and some defensive issues from the Orange. While the Syracuse offense looked capable in spots during the first half, NC State was able to keep the ball away with long possessions. SU had just seven points through two quarters, though Cole Murphy did miss a 48-yard field goal.
Starting the third quarter with the football, Syracuse came out firing -- as they have in third quarters all year -- putting up 10 points and closing the gap to 26-17. Despite being shut out in the third, NC State finally broke through in the fourth, extending the lead back to double digits at 33-17. Despite an offense that continued driving into Wolfpack territory, the penalties just became too much to overcome. SU closed it to 33-25 but would not get any closer.
Dungey had a great all-around day, while under siege throughout the afternoon from the NC State front seven. He was 30-for-47 for 385 yards and a touchdown through the air, with another 44 yards and two scores on the ground. He also had a two-point conversion.
Despite playing second fiddle to Steve Ishmael for much of the season so far, Ervin Philips starred in the passing game against the Pack. He caught a Syracuse record catching 17 passes (breaking his own shared mark) for 188 yards. For his part, Ishmael extended his streak of 100-yard games anyway, with six catches for 120 yards. He scored a late touchdown in the fourth quarter, and had another one called back due to an illegal formation call.
Obviously the season’s not over yet, but this is a brutal loss for the Orange’s bowl chances. At 2-3, there are still four very likely losses on the schedule, and another very possible loss (Wake Forest). Without creating conspiracy theories, referees certainly didn’t help matters today either. But you can get past things like that by executing and not making unforced errors yourself.
More recaps to come. You have every right to be angry (I sure am). But be nice to each other, please.