Syracuse players and coaches were deflated following a 30-13 defeat to Cincinnati on Saturday at the Carrier Dome. It was SU’s fourth straight loss since it toppled then-No. 11 West Virginia 49-23 on Oct. 21.
“Obviously, I’m upset,” Orange coach Doug Marrone said. “I don’t think I can even explain how I feel. Losing four straight games is unacceptable.”
The losing streak has left the Orange with plenty of questions, the main one being how a team went from being 5-2 and atop the Big East to 5-6.
“That is one of the greatest questions I have,” defensive end Chandler Jones said. “I really do not know. That is a great question.”
Another question asked was how Syracuse could be so sloppy coming out of a bye week.
“We went back to basics [...] and we weren’t able to execute,” Marrone said. “I don’t have a lot of answers right now.”
The offense once again had a rough afternoon, mustering just one touchdown when the game was already out of reach. It also couldn’t convert either of its fourth down attempts and hasn’t scored more than 21 points during its losing streak.
Quarterback Ryan Nassib was constantly pressured all afternoon, and was sacked four times.
“They did a good job of disguising their pressure and making sure they were not in any patterns,” Nassib said. “They did send a lot but we have to make plays against pressure. When they send it, we have to show them that we will gash them if they do.”
But the Orange didn’t.
Defensively, the Orange didn’t look any better as Bearcats tailback Isaiah Pead burned the Orange for 246 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns.
Even special teams struggled, giving up a couple of big returns.
“It is tough to explain how upset everybody is,” linebacker Dan Vaughan said. “Just mentally, after another loss like that, it is just tough to deal with.”
The Orange is still one win from reaching bowl eligibility, and will have its final chance when it it travels to Pittsburgh on Saturday.
“As far as next week goes, everything is on the line,” running back Antwon Bailey said. “It is like a playoff game. We either win or we go home. Everybody already realizes that tomorrow we put this loss behind us. We have to come in ready to work.”
Brad Bierman contributed to this article with reporting from Syracuse.Wesley Cheng