Syracuse Football: Bid for bowl berth takes huge hit in embarrassing loss

Syracuse football (Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse football (Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports) /

I will always bleed Orange, and I love my Syracuse football team, but what transpired on Saturday afternoon from Cardinal Stadium was truly abysmal.

In no way, shape or form will I say that the ‘Cuse players weren’t playing hard or trying their best, because I believe that they always are.

However, to come off a bye week, with all that extra rest, and still get blown out by a solid, but not spectacular, opponent is perplexing to me.

For a Syracuse football squad that has suited up in numerous close games during the 2021 campaign, both in wins and losses, the ‘Cuse (5-5, 2-4) came out flat, and stayed flat, throughout the entirety of a 41-3 demolition at the hands of Louisville (5-5, 3-4).

Syracuse football was awful in a 38-point defeat to Louisville.

Against the Cardinals, the Orange couldn’t get anything going on offense, and the defense was absolutely shredded by Louisville’s dual-threat quarterback, Malik Cunningham.

Cunningham is really, really good, and he showed it versus Syracuse football. Wildly efficient, Cunningham only threw 18 passes, completing 13 of them, yet he tallied four passing touchdowns and no interceptions, according to a press release and statistics on the ESPN Web site.

By comparison, the Orange’s dual-threat QB, Garrett Shrader, also didn’t throw a pick, yet he managed only 46 yards through the air, which is dreadful, and he rushed 20 times for just 43 yards.

Consider this. Shrader and Cunningham each launched 18 passes in this Atlantic Coast Conference clash, but Cunningham had 209 passing yards, while Shrader registered a meager 46 yards. That sums up the entire contest.

Even Syracuse football star running back Sean Tucker was held mostly in check by his usual standards in the 2021 stanza, producing 19 carries and 95 yards.

Give some credit to the Cardinals, a group that dominated the ‘Cuse on both sides of the field. As I noted in a column a few days ago, these two ACC units had a lot in common, statistically speaking, prior to this match-up, which is why the final outcome is so surprising to me.

If the Orange went on the road and fell in a tight one to Louisville, hey, that’s a bummer, but it’s understandable. This performance was, simply, bad.

Now Syracuse football has to regroup – and fast. The team needs one more success in its final two regular-season games to secure post-season bowl eligibility, but it won’t be easy.

First up, the Orange heads to N.C. State on Saturday, Nov. 20. The Wolfpack is presently ranked. Then the ‘Cuse hosts Pittsburgh a week later, on Saturday, Nov. 27. The Panthers are currently ranked.

Yikes. A brutal slate for Syracuse football to close out its 2021 regular term.

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