Syracuse Football: A series of unfortunate events, heartbreaker in bayou


This could’ve been a fairy tale ending for the Syracuse football team. Instead it was a heart-breaker in the bayou. ITLH breaks it all down.

Let’s start this story off at the end for the Syracuse football squad.  Final score 35-26.  Now for those of you he did not watch the game and are only looking at the box score it does not come close to telling the story of what I believe is a turning point for the Syracuse University Football team.  Let me break it down for you.

Syracuse doesn’t do helmet stickers but today I am going to recognize members of the team that would get them if I was head coach for the day.  I will call them Otto’s (so consider that trademarked).

This game was the coming out party for the Orange and Is the New Fast and it was made possible by the defense.  

Over the past year and a half we have talked about how great the new offense is and how it has made Syracuse relevant again.  Well consider the flip side of that, when the offense is clicking, it is a beautiful thing, but when they aren’t, they are the fastest team in the nation with the 3 and out.  

This places the defense back on the field sometimes within a minute of trotting off.  On Saturday night the entire defense gets Otto’s.  

They put constant pressure on whoever was behind the center, stuffed the running of All American Juice or Guice or whatever his name is, produced turnovers and PUT POINTS ON THE BOARD!  

The safety with the score setting at 28-10 was the impetus for the Orange comeback.  Ok, Ok they

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essentially had two breakdowns (in almost back to back plays) but without their staunch effort the game wouldn’t have been close.

They were led by the dynamic duo of Zaire Franklin and Parris Bennett and it was a beautiful thing.  An eye-popping stat that will summarize their effort is the LSU Tigers had 10 offense plays in the first quarter which yielded 11 total yards.  No that isn’t a typo 11 total yards, 1.1 average yards per play.  Amazing job to our unheralded and much maligned defense!

I will get to the offense in a minute, but the next squad to get some Otto’s is our Special teams.  Specifically the punting unit.  Countless times they pinned LSU deep into their own territory, twice inside the two yard this allowed our defense to stuff the Tigers for a safety and swing momentum back on our side.

The next Otto goes to, you won’t believe it, Dino Babers.  

I will be the first to say that I completely disagree with the decision to go for a surprise onside kick with about 6 minutes left in the game.  The defense had shown what they could do and we should have pinned them down and given them a better chance.  Beyond that: his scheme, techniques and a few trick plays are what put our team in the best position to win.  

It is fine for all the Sunday morning quarterbacks to second guess his decision but give credit where credit is due and without Dino’s recruiting, development of OITNF and discipline he has brought with him we would have been blown off the field.

With the exception of two plays.

Eric Dungey and his offense played as close to perfection as humanly possible.  Of course those two plays deprived the Orange of a touchdown and gave the Tigers their first points.  14 costly points that would have been the difference in the game.  The nation’s leader in receptions going into the Week 4, Steve Ishmael delivered with 11 receptions for 123 yards and a score and his stable mate Ervin Philips also had 11 grabs for over a hundred yards and a score.  The most amazing thing about the offense is they came into the game with LSU knowing what they wanted to do and executed.  

It goes without saying that our QB deserves an Otto.  

Eric Dungey showed his toughness, tenacity and why he is a true contender for the Heisman, leading his team with his actions.  This was never more present than when he threw an interception on the first play from scrimmage he was the one making the tackle preventing an immediate pick-6 (and committing a minor face mask infraction).  

He immediately went to the sidelines not to sulk but to get his offense fired up and went out an executed a solid drive putting points on the board.  From his tough running, to his stunning jump pass; he was on his game and delivered.

There is one group that was on the field Saturday night that didn’t deserve an Otto but need to be held accountable.  I am normally not one to talk about them but I feel compelled in this instance: the officials.  The ones that should be seen and not heard and definitely not make an impact on the game.  

Here are a few items of note:

  • Slow to put the ball ready for play.  This slowed down the tempo of OITNF and on one occasion prevented them from a quick QB sneak that would have sustained a drive.
  • Eric Dungey finally slides and still gets racked in the back of the head.  News flash to the refs: it doesn’t matter if the knee the LSU defender put in the back of our Heisman hopefuls head was intentional or not it should have been a personal foul.  Dungey, rightfully so, was angry and pulls his helmet off and they made him leave the field for a play.  Mind boggling incompetence.
  • Late in the final drive of the game LSU ripped the helmet off Dontae Strickland’s head.  Not only did they not call a face mask … they made him leave the game.

Next: Syracuse Football: Top-5 bitter sweet oranges from loss to LSU

I do not want this to be the focus and frankly these are only a few of the blow calls but this could not go without being said.

In summary anyone watching this game not from Central New York now understands that we have something special going on.  There are plenty of tough games ahead and the season is only a third of the way but in this writers opinion we put New York college team back on the map last night.

I wish we could have pulled out this W but like you hear in the Dome: Be Loud, Be Proud, Be Orange.