SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Alec Lemon has been red hot while Syracuse has been cooling off.
One week after setting a career high in receiving yards, Lemon did it again in Syracuse’s 37-17 loss to South Florida. The junior finished with 10 catches for 179 yards and two touchdowns and was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise forgettable game for SU.
“It starts in the week with (quarterback) Ryan (Nassib) and my connection and seeing spots in the defense during film week and just having that connection,” Lemon said. “What I see and what Ryan sees is the same thing, we’re on the same page.”
A week ago, Lemon caught nine passes for 157 yards and a touchdown in a 28-21 loss to Connecticut. He was named to the Big East Weekly Honor Roll for his effort.
He’ll likely be honored in a similar way this week.
“He’s just been really stepping up his game,” Nassib said. “We are calling some good plays for him. Have him run routes he’s very good at. He just keeps winning so I can’t help it but give him the rock.”
But for the stellar night that Lemon had, it was the 11th catch that he didn’t make that he will be thinking about.
With SU trailing 23-10 early in the fourth quarter, and the Orange facing a 4th and 13, Ryan Nassib found Lemon for what would’ve been a momentum changing touchdown. But Lemon dropped the pass, effectively putting the game out of reach.
Of course, Lemon wasn’t alone. Both tight end Brad Stevens and wide receiver Dorian Graham had dropped passes that could’ve been touchdowns.
“We just didn’t get the job done today,” Graham said. “We executed well but we just did not make the plays.”
It has been a difficult stretch for Syracuse. The Orange has lost three straight after a 49-23 win over then-No. 11 West Virginia on Oct. 21. The Orange is 5-5 overall and 1-4 in the Big East, tied for last with South Florida.
Syracuse will host Cincinnati in two weeks before finishing the season at Pittsburgh. The Orange will need to win one of those two games to become bowl eligible.
“It’s frustrating,” Lemon said. “With a three game loss, you want to play the next day and get off this losing streak.”Wesley Cheng