A quick take on Syracuse’s 27-10 loss to Duke at the Carrier Dome on Saturday afternoon:
WHAT HAPPENED: With the game tied at 10 in the fourth quarter of a defensive struggle, Jamison Crowder took a 52-yard punt return to the house. The wheels came completely off the wagon after that. As in all four spokes. At the same time. The Orange attempted a fake punt deep within its territory, which turned into a Duke field goal with nine minutes left. Then, just two minutes later, Anthony Boone threw to a streaking Issac Blakeney for a 54-yard score which put the Blue Devils up 27-10, and ended Syracuse’s football season.
ANALYSIS: The loss was Syracuse’s seventh on the season, eliminating them from bowl contention. SU will not play in a bowl for the first time since the 2011 season, when the Orange went 5-7 after starting the season 5-1. The Orange also couldn’t defeat a FCS team at the Carrier Dome this season, with its lone win coming against FCS Villanova — in overtime.
HERO: The Orange defense played hero for most of the afternoon keeping the Orange in it until the fourth quarter. The Blue Devils gained just 259 yards and broke Boone’s steak of passing attempts without an interception at 127. But the defense was forced to play with too many short fields behind it, and couldn’t make up for special teams and offensive mistakes.
ZERO: The Syracuse offense is in shambles. With Terrel Hunt and AJ Long sidelined with injures, the Orange turned to Austin Wilson, who threw two interceptions and got hurt before being benched in favor of fourth-stringer Mitch Kimble in the second half. Kimble led SU on its lone touchdown drive of the afternoon, but neither of them was particularly effective as the Orange gained just 217 yards on the day.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse will travel to Pitt next Saturday in its first meaningless game since Doug Marrone’s first season with the Orange.