If the Syracuse football offense could have found the end zone early on, it’s certainly possible that the Orange may have shocked UNC.
Syracuse football couldn’t take advantage of the opportunities it got presented with on Saturday afternoon in Chapel Hill, and as a result the Orange got smoked by No. 18 North Carolina, 31-6.
However, if a few things transpired differently, particularly in the first half when both teams looked relatively sloppy, who knows how this game might have ended up.
The ‘Cuse picked off Sam Howell, the Tar Heels’ stellar sophomore quarterback, on two occasions. The Orange recovered a fumble after a UNC player dropped the ball on a punt return.
A Syracuse football punt return for a touchdown, meanwhile, got negated because of a penalty.
Redshirt junior quarterback Tommy DeVito struggled with his accuracy throughout this contest, although his wide receivers also dropped some catchable passes.
Redshirt junior placekicker Andre Szmyt, one of the best at his position in the entire country, somewhat unexplainably missed a chip-shot field-goal attempt.
The Orange’s offensive line, stung by a few injuries, allowed the North Carolina defense to sack DeVito more than a half-dozen times.
The new No. 1 and No. 2 running backs for the ‘Cuse on its depth chart, redshirt freshman Jawhar Jordan and redshirt junior Markenzy Pierre, didn’t get much going at all. DeVito, in fact, led the team in rushing versus the Tar Heels.
Syracuse football committed penalties several times on third down that enabled UNC to extend its opening drive, in which the Tar Heels managed to find the end zone.
The Orange’s new 3-3-5 defensive system proved solid until it ran out of steam in the fourth quarter, as the ‘Cuse offense couldn’t do anything whatsoever in the final 15 minutes, which gave the defense not much time to rest.
That resulted in a 10-6 deficit heading into the fourth quarter translating into three touchdowns for the Tar Heels in the final period. Syracuse football would lose by 25 points after staying with North Carolina for much of the afternoon.
However, if the Orange would have cashed in on its opportunities, cleaned up the careless mistakes, and found the end zone on a couple of instances, it easily could have kept this bout close, or perhaps even sprung an upset.