Welcome to another offseason Friday, where we discuss things that are at least loosely related to the Syracuse Orange — or try to, anyway.
This time around our topic comes from this tweet, which asks “what’s the worst college football game you’ve ever watched?”
Altering that idea a bit to fit our needs here, I’ll ask: What’s the worst Syracuse game you’ve ever watched live? This is probably going to be limited to football and men’s basketball. But if you have entries from any other Orange sport, by all means, feel free.
Also keep in mind that this isn’t necessarily the worst result you’ve seen. The GERG and Shafer eras provided plenty of those, as did the early parts of the Dino Babers era. What we’re talking about are bad games from a level of play and execution standpoint. Whether Syracuse won or not is irrelevant. Probably.
To start us off, we also solicit some responses from the TNIAAM staff, self included. We ended up with all football games because there are way more possible responses there than for basketball:
I’ve got to go with the Iowa game in 2006. This was all before my time in Syracuse. I drove out from Schenectady, where I was working, was drinking the early season kool-aid and was summarily disappointed as we all would be numerous times in the coming years. It was just in general not good football, Iowa had come in hyped and ranked, and he who shall not be named was in his second season.
Syracuse was hanging around the entire game which it seemed like no one at all wanted to win. They even managed to force overtime and then double overtime at a rousing 10-10 to end regulation. The last nine minutes of this game, in double overtime, take the cake and put this over the top as my worst Syracuse football memory ever.
The Orange decided to showcase the ineptitude that has become synonymous with that era as they pushed towards to goal line to tie up the game at 20. Instead, the Perry Patterson led offense decided to somehow not take advantage of two pass interference calls and the coaching staff ran six of the eight plays inside the tackles against a solid defensive front that hadn’t given Syracuse much all day. Somehow the Orange screwed up eight straight plays inside the five, most inside the two. I will in no way wish the frustration of that day upon anyone. The MVP of the game was Pat Shadle.
Syracuse vs Rutgers, 2011. 19-16 Rutgers. Just what the hell. This game was ugly in so many ways. ’Cuse lost in the stupidest way. There was absolutely nothing about that game that made me want to continue being a college football fan.
2007 against Illinois in the Dome. The final score of 41-20 doesn’t tell the story of the Illini’s dominance. I was sitting in their section behind guys who were friends of Mike Locksley as Illinois rushed for 378 yards on 51 attempts. Yes, they gained 7.4 yards per attempt and that was more than they averaged on their pass attempts. It was like watching a high school game where the bigger school just ran the same plays over and over against the small school and it was so bad the guys in front of me spent the second half complimenting the Syracuse campus in an attempt to somehow make the afternoon better.
While the Iowa game is a strong entrant, it was an exciting contest for a bit if you remove the fact that it destroyed my will to exist as a fan in my first game as a student at the Dome. So making a different choice, I’m actually going with a Syracuse win: when the Orange beat Wake Forest, 30-7 down in Winston-Salem back in 2014.
SU had 370 offensive yards in the game, yet I don’t think I can recall a single play despite being there. AJ Long was the only offensive player to score. The rest of the points came from three Cole Murphy field goals and two defensive touchdowns. Once we hit halftime (a 17-7 lead), the result never seemed to be in doubt, yet we still had to play another 30 minutes of football. My best memory from that game is the creepy Demon Deacon riding a motorcycle onto the field at the start.
Other contenders: Penn State 55-Syracuse 13 (2008), Syracuse 20-Maryland 3 (2013)
How about you? What’s the worst SU game you’ve ever watched live?