Unfortunately for the Orange (6-3, 3-2 Big East), they weren't able to execute enough of their plays during the game, so their postseason hopes will have to wait at least one more week.
Justin Burke was 13 of 25 for 143 yards, Jeremy Wright ran for 98 yards as Louisville beat Syracuse 28-20. Syracuse came into the game in second place in the Big East, surging up the standings against preseason expectations.
On this day, however, Louisville (5-4, 2-2) did everything right to get the win and break a 12-game losing streak in Big East games on the road.
"We missed some big plays. We made some, but we didn't make enough," Marrone said. "They were pressuring almost every play until the end."
Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib finished 19 for 32 and threw for 155 yards.
The Cardinals played without both their starting quarterback and running back, both injured during last week's defeat to Pittsburgh. Neither absence proved to be much of a problem for Louisville. Burke, who had thrown only seven passes this season as a backup, filled in admirably for Froman.
"This is a real good Syracuse team," Burke said. "They're on the rise just like we are. That was a battle out there."
Burke got some help from Wright, Powell's replacement, who from the beginning gave the Cardinals the type of running game they needed to overcome the Orange.
Syracuse was in good position to score in the first quarter with the ball at the Cardinals' 47. Daniel Brown hit Nassib one play later, forcing a fumble that Antwone Canady recovered for Louisville. That set up a 28-yard touchdown run by Wright to give Louisville the early 7-0 lead.
"I was a little rusty, as you can imagine," Burke said. "But when I have a running game like that, I really get into a rhythm."
After giving up the first touchdown, Syracuse answered on its next game in its next possession when Nassib connected with Alec Lemon for a 51-yard touchdown pass.
As they have for much of the season, penalties were once again a problem for the Orange. Louisville had second-and-nine at the Syracuse 47, but an Orange facemask penalty allowed the Cardinals to keep the ball. Burke's 29-yard pass to tight end Josh Chichester moved the ball to the 3 yard-line, and after a delay of game Burke hit Andrell Smith with an 8-yard touchdown pass for a 14-7 lead.
Delone Carter, who rushed for 107 yards and passed Hall of Famer Floyd Little on Syracuse's all-time rushing list, tied the game at 14 with an 8-yard touchdown run.
Louisville scored two more touchdowns, while Syracuse was able to muster just a pair of field goals.
A 23-yard field goal by Ross Krautman gave Syracuse its only lead, 17-14, in the third quarter, but Wright's second touchdown, a 12-yard run, put Louisville ahead to stay.
Syracuse nearly regained the led, but Lemon dropped Nassib's 30-yard pass in the end zone, and the Orange had to settle for a 42-yard field goal by Krautman that made it 21-20.
That turned out to be a crucial point in the game for Syracuse.
"I just took my eyes off it," Lemon said. "There's nothing I can do about it now. As a person, you put blame on yourself."
Even though Syracuse has to postpone its hopes of getting to the postseason, there's no worry that it won't happen. It's just a matter of time, Marrone said.
"I realized I was going to build this game up as a game to win," Marrone said. "But I wasn't going to build it up with very, very high expectations."