Syracuse Football: It’s how badly ‘Cuse is losing that’s most concerning

Syracuse football (Mandatory Credit: Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse football (Mandatory Credit: Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports) /

We all knew that Syracuse football would be facing a three-game gauntlet during the 2023 season, in which it was likely the Orange would go 0-3.

Having Clemson at home, then top-15 North Carolina and top-five Florida State on the road – that would be a brutal assignment for the ‘Cuse. After racing out to a 4-0 start in the non-conference slate, many Orange fans figured that the team would sit at 4-3 after facing the Tigers, the Tar Heels and the Seminoles.

Those fans were right in their assessment. I had hoped for a 1-2 mark during that stretch, but it wouldn’t have surprised me if Syracuse football, instead, went 0-3.

Yet even going winless in this brutal part of the 2023 season, which the Orange has, doesn’t by any means suggest that the ‘Cuse won’t get to at least six victories in the current term and qualify for a post-season bowl game for the second year in a row.

My issue here isn’t about three straight losses. It’s about how vastly outplayed Syracuse football has proven against top-notch competition, after the Orange beat up on Colgate, Western Michigan, Purdue and Army in the non-conference.

In week seven, Syracuse football once again got smoked by an ACC foe.

There is no shame in falling to Clemson, which is probably better than its record reflects, along with UNC and FSU. However, on Saturday afternoon in Tallahassee, Fla., with No. 4 Florida State on the opposite side of the field, the ‘Cuse displayed an anemic offense for the third Atlantic Coast Conference clash in a row.

The Orange’s Mob defense had some big stops versus the Seminoles to enable the ‘Cuse to somewhat hang around for a while, but ultimately, Syracuse football could get virtually nothing going on offense, and FSU would end up scoring a 41-3 manhandling of the Orange inside Doak Campbell Stadium.

In all fairness, according to media reports, senior quarterback Garrett Shrader was dealing with the effects of food poisoning that he suffered on Friday night, and he had to give way to redshirt sophomore Carlos Del Rio-Wilson early in the fourth quarter.

Even still, for this entire ACC affair, the ‘Cuse (4-3, 0-3 in the ACC) only managed three points and 261 yards of total offense. Florida State (6-0, 4-0 in the ACC), meanwhile, collected 535 combined yards on offense.

Sophomore running back LeQuint Allen Jr. had a solid output on Saturday afternoon, rushing 19 times for 110 yards, which translated to 5.8 yards per carry. But as a whole, the ‘Cuse offense failed to punch the ball into the end zone, and that spelled a recipe for disaster as Syracuse football had to contend with a high-powered Seminoles offense that came into this league meeting leading the ACC in scoring at 42.4 points per game.

To recap, in these three consecutive setbacks, the Orange has been outscored by a combined 112-24. You all know that I love our boys, but that’s really, really alarming. This collective scoring deficit translates to an average of roughly 37 points per contest for the team’s foes, and just eight points per game for Syracuse football.

Averaging eight points per affair, candidly, simply won’t do. To reiterate, falling in consecutive weeks to the Tigers at home, and then the Tar Heels and the Seminoles on the road, is understandable. What’s concerning, and frankly, unacceptable, is getting outscored 112-24.

To make matters worse, over the past two road losses to highly rated opponents, Syracuse football has been outscored 81-10.

Thankfully, now the ‘Cuse has some time to rest and regroup, with a bye week coming up. Then the Orange will travel to Blacksburg, Va., to suit up at Virginia Tech. Syracuse football and the Hokies are scheduled to kick off beginning at 7:30 pm on Thursday, Oct. 26, with television coverage on ESPN.

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