A quick take on Syracuse’s 28-6 loss to Louisville at the Carrier Dome on Friday night:
WHAT HAPPENED: What didn’t happen? Aside from anything good.
A Syracuse fumble recovery immediately followed by a Terrell Hunt interception? Check! A drop in the end zone so egregious the Dome crew actually played the train whistle because it looked like a certain touchdown? Check! A safety taken (the first of two!) after Ritchy Desir bizarrely elected not to fair-catch a punt on the 10, allowing Louisville to down the ball on the 1-yard line instead? Check! The Orange dawdling at the line of scrimmage as time ticked away in the first half, not realizing they were out of timeouts, then Hunt fumbling the snap, recovering it, and uncorking a 39-yard pass to a leaping Jarrod West on the 2 yard line, only to watch time expire because of the aforementioned time-wasting and lack of timeouts? Check, check, and check! WR Ben Lewis rumbling down inside the 1-yard line immediately out of half, followed by a tackle for loss, two penalties in a row, two trick plays, the aforementioned end zone drop, and finally, almost insultingly, a field goal? BABY YOU BETTER BELIEVE THAT’S A CHECK! At least there weren’t any fights that we know of.
It was, depending on how emotionally invested you are in Syracuse football and how much you care about things like aesthetics and feats of athletic skill and “playing well,” either an abomination against the very idea of football or a highly entertaining surrealist comedy.
ANALYSIS: I’m going to preface this by saying I’m fully aware of how pretentious this is going to sound, but: the late David Foster Wallace wrote a pretty great essay (originally a speech) on humor and Franz Kafka. He describes “the really central Kafka joke” thusly:
[T]hat the horrific struggle to establish a human self results in a self whose humanity is inseparable from that horrific struggle. That our endless and impossible journey toward home is in fact our home….
[I]magine his art as a kind of door. [E]nvision us readers coming up and pounding on this door, pounding and pounding, not just wanting admission but needing it, we don’t know what it is but we can feel it, this total desperation to enter, pounding and pushing and kicking, etc. That, finally, the door opens….and it opens outward: we’ve been inside what we wanted all along. Das ist komisch.
All of which is to say: this is Syracuse football. Embrace it.
HERO: Otto and the Louisville mascot had a dance-off during a timeout that was kind of funny, I guess.
ZERO: The offense was pretty bad (Just 245 total yards). Terrel Hunt was pretty bad (17-32 for 196 yards and 2 INTs). The secondary was pretty bad (Allowing Reggie Bonnafon to throw for 174 yards). The defense in general was pretty good at times but also pretty bad at tackling and eventually got tired enough to be bad (Yielding 178 rushing yards). Special teams were pretty bad. (Riley Dixon: 0 offensive yards, COME ON.) Louisville was also kind of bad in that they managed the remarkable feat of not winning by 40 and took a zillion penalties (Well, not a zillion. But nine penalties for 75 yards is close).
WHAT’S NEXT: It’s tempting to say there’s nowhere to go from here but up, but Syracuse hosts defending national champion Florida State next week (Oct. 11, noon, ESPN). So.