Offense struggles as Syracuse loses to Minnesota

Saturday night, Syracuse put out a listless performance and received a loss for their efforts, dropping a 17-10 decision at Minnesota. The Orange (1-3) turned the ball over four times and committed ten penalties as they fell behind early and could never come back on the Golden Gophers (4-0). SU managed to outgain their foe, but their advantage in yardage was negated by their sloppy play.

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Sales was held at bay

Syracuse received the opening kick and quickly went about submarining their efforts to win. Ryan Nassib rifled a pass through the hands of Jarrod West on the first play from scrimmage and a Minnesota player made a spectacular diving interception. The Gophers could not turn it into points when they missed a field goal attempt, but the theme of the night was established. Minnesota scored a touchdown on their second possession to take a 7-0 lead with just over eight minutes elapsed.

» Related: Sales, Nassib quiet in loss

The Orange responded with a solid drive, moving 67 yards in 13 plays before settling for a 33-yard field goal from Ross Krautman with just under two minutes on the clock to slice the margin to 7-3. Minnesota missed another field goal attempt on their next possession, put it was the most effective drive from either team in the remainder of the first half. SU would only reach as far as the Minnesota 34 late in the second quarter, but a Nassib fumble ended that possession.

The Orange dug their hole even deeper to start the second half, allowing the Gophers to grind out a touchdown drive on the opening possession and extend their lead to 14-3.  Syracuse responded with their best threat of the game to that point, driving to the Gopher one-yard-line.  However, a poor running play on second down was followed by Nassib foolishly throwing an interception under duress on third down, ending the drive.  SU again marched deep into Gopher territory on their next possession, but this time, the drive was blunted by an Ashton Broyld fumble.

Minnesota would tack on a field goal on their second drive of the fourth quarter, moving their lead to 17-3 with just over three minutes on the clock.  The Orange got into the end zone on their next drive when Nassib connected with Marcus Sales on a 14-yard touchdown pass.  Krautman’s extra point made it a 17-10 game with 46 seconds left in the contest.  Syracuse opted for an onside kick, but could not recover it.  The Gophers ran out the clock from there.

» Orange lose third game of the season

Ryan Nassib completed 21 of his 31 passes for 228 yards and a touchdown, but his two interceptions and fumble hurt the Orange cause.  Alec Lemon was Nassib’s leading man, snaring nine passes for 106 yards on the night.  For the second straight game, Jerome Smith topped SU’s run game, this time collecting 52 yards on nine carries.  Siriki Diabate collected ten tackles in the game while Dyshawn had nine.  Cameron Lynch and Micah Robinson each had a sack.

GAME NOTES

  • Late in the second quarter, Alec Lemon made his fourth reception of the game, which nudged him past Shelby Hill and Scott Schwedes as the leading receiver in the school record book.  Lemon now holds the Syracuse record with 145 receptions.
  • The Orange will have a week off to get back to the drawing board before welcoming the Pittsburgh Panthers to the Carrier Dome for a Friday night contest on October 5th.  Pitt (2-2) has won their last two games, including a 35-17 victory over nationally-ranked Virginia Tech.  The action will get underway at 7:00pm and the game will be televised by ESPN.

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Jim Stechschulte

About Jim Stechschulte

A 1996 graduate of Syracuse University, Jim has reported on Syracuse sports for the Syracuse University Alumni Club of Southern California on nearly a decade, where he currently resides. He has also written a fantasy basketball column published by NBA.com. Follow him on Twitter @DSafetyGuy.
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