0 Comments Published on 11.14.2014 by Brian Harrison
This sums up the season nicely: Broke.
Syracuse never had a chance against Clemson in SC, despite how close the score was in the first three quarters. Syracuse did however have a chance against Duke in the Carrier Dome with the score tied 10 all. Unfortunately costly mistakes and bad play, coupled with injuries, allowed 17 unanswered points for Duke. They won handily 27 to 10.
Syracuse's offense was again anemic. Starting the 3rd string QB probably has something to do with that, which doesn't help. Austin Wilson (11/19, 68yds, 0 TD 2 INT) didn't have a good day overall, but did have a few nice throws down the field. The pleasant surprise to me was Mitch Kimble (6/13, 37yds, 0 TD, 0 INT). He played pretty well under poor circumstances. But both weren't particularly effective. Wilson's picked were particularly bad, failing to read the defense and throwing balls he never should have thrown. The receivers continue to do all they can, and PTG had a mediocre day. Overall, just nothing that special happening, and really nothing even mediocre. 4-16 on third downs... bad.
Syracuse basically only had defense in this game. They limited a pretty good Duke team to 259 total yards. And despite the Syracuse offense throwing picks and not being able to get first downs, the defense had the team in the game tied going into the Fourth Quarter. But defense can't do it all alone. They continue to be the only real bright spot of this Syracuse team.
It finally happened that coverage on punts broke down enough to allow a score, which gave Duke all of the momentum and the lead they never relinquished. Cole Murphy and Riley Dixon were solid enough. But not tracking down Crowder on punt and kick returns is tragic. Were it not for a holding penalty, Crowder would have had a kick return as well. Syracuse still doesn't have a full time Special Teams Coach?
The play calling, especially on third downs, was not good for Syracuse. Neither were the 7 penalties for 55 yards total, which hasn't really improved all year. Not sure it will get much better either. And that fake punt call was absolutely the wrong call in that spot, nor was it unexpected. There were four yards to gain for a first down. Unless it's a perfect situation where a fake punt catches the other team off guard, there was no way Syracuse was getting 4 yards. Why not just leave your offense on the field? At least it would be a higher percentage chance of converting.
This, more than any game this season, was disappointing. The high point in the season in the Dome was Villanova? What? Syracuse had the game tied with 15 minutes remaining. Then gave it away. This one stings. There have been embarrassing games this year, but this one beat them all. No bowl is now for certain, and not just an assumption. No extra practices for this team, that could definitely benefit. This game was great to watch, and then only 15 minutes remained. And Syracuse derped all over the field.
Syracuse can now defeat another bye week before heading to Pittsburgh to play the Panthers in the cold. That will probably go swimmingly. At least basketball starts.