Charlottesville, Va. – A quick take on Syracuse’s disappointing 44-38 triple overtime loss versus Virginia, in front of a crowd of 39,223 on a gorgeous fall afternoon for football at the picturesque setting of the UVA campus in central Virginia:
WHAT HAPPENED: After Virginia kicker Ian Frye tied the game 24-24 on the final play of regulation with a 25 yard field goal, Syracuse (3-3, 1-1) got the first possession in overtime and scored on an Eric Dungey to Erv Phillips 7 yard pass play in which Dungey was again the target of a late hit. Because of the foul, Virginia began its OT possession on the 40 yard line, but the Hoos moved the ball and scored on a 36 yard TD pass to force a second OT. UVA scored on three plays to go ahead in the second OT, before Syracuse scored on a gutsy Dungey to Steve Ishmael TD pass to tie the game at 38-38. After the Orange failed to score on its third overtime possession, Cole Murphy missing a 48 yard field goal attempt, UVA quarterback Matt Johns led the Cavaliers to the winning drive culminating with Jordan Ellis’ winning 3 yard TD run.
ANALYSIS: The Virginia offense, kept under wraps for most of the game, awoke to score 10 fourth quarter points to force overtime. With a game under his belt coming off a September concussion, Dungey again demonstrated he’s a difference maker for the Orange offense. Whether it’s scrambling for yardage with his receivers covered, he finished with a game high 85 yards on the ground and his second quarter highlight touchdown run hurdling a defender at the goal line that’s going to be watched over and over, while the youthful defense secondary tightened up its play for most of the game with strong safety Antwan Cordy scooping up a second quarter fumble and rumbling down the left sideline for a 44 yard score. But in crunch time to rally UVA, Cavaliers QB Johns (24-37 – 234) had success with the short passing game against a tired Orange defense.
HEROES: The quarterbacks for both sides were gutsy day. Besides Dungey and his 14 for 20 – 134 yards in the air and controlled confidence in guiding the Orange, the junior Johns was just as confident in leading UVA back from a 10 point deficit, expertly picking apart the Orange ‘D.’
ZERO: The bad call against the Orange in the second half when a Dungey pass was ruled a fumble, despite the fact his arm was coming in motion, and Hoos safety Wilfred Wahee ran the ball 32 yards in for a score to put UVA up 14-7, while the defense struggled against the short pass in the fourth quarter and overtime as the Cavaliers made their comeback to win in overtime.
WHAT’S NEXT: After two weeks on the road, Syracuse returns home to face longtime rival Pittsburgh next Sat, Oct. 24. The surprising Panthers (5-1, 3-0) won a back and forth affair at Georgia Tech Saturday afternoon 31-28 on a 56 yard field goal with 1:11 left in the fourth quarter, to stay atop the Coastal standings. Going back to Paul Pasqualoni’s last season of 2004, Pitt has defeated the ‘Cuse in every game except a 14-13 Dome win in 2012. Game Time: 12:00 p.m. ET / TV: ESPNU.