When the Syracuse Orange started the season 3-0, there was a ton of optimism regarding the blue and the orange, even though their roster was stacked with youth. However, youth has shown in the past two weeks when they lost to USF and Virginia in games where they should have won. Obviously, it was known that the Orange were going to experience bumps in the road, but with another loss on the road, the Orange will need to go back to the drawing board.
Again, there wasn't much good in this game for the second consecutive week. Freshman Eric Dungey played well, completing 16 of 22 passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 85 yards on the ground on 18 carries. But besides Dungey, there wasn’t really much to like out of this Syracuse team.
Syracuse put up over 330 yards of offense, but they failed to put up points on the board. Finishing with just 21 by the end of the half, Syracuse could've easily put up 10 more, but their inability to convert on 3rd & 1s and even a goal-line 4th & 1 proved to be monumental in this game. Also, the Orange didn't score a point in the entire fourth quarter and only three in the second half. This team looked happy with a 10-point lead against a desperate Virginia team. Where does the blame fall for this lack of aggressiveness?
When you have a freshman quarterback that shows potential to be a star, you need to give him time to let him go through his progressions and find the open man. The Orange failed to do that in this game, as Dungey was under pressure throughout the entire contest. To make matters even worse, the Orange were facing a 2nd & 6 in the third overtime, but two sacks led to a long field goal for Cole Murphy. The sophomore kicker would miss it and the Cavaliers would go down the field on their overtime possession for a walkoff victory.
Now at 3-3, if the Orange want to make a bowl this season, they will need to get their act together because a hot Pittsburgh team is coming to town on Saturday. The Orange have proved in their four home games that they like playing inside the Carrier Dome, but the past three losses have really exploited this Syracuse team. To shut down the Panthers, Syracuse will need to protect Dungey better and do a better job of getting after the opposing quarterback.