Syracuse 38, Virginia 44 (3OT) — What we learned

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Syracuse couldn’t stop Virginia on Saturday

Syracuse dropped to 3-3 with a 44-38 3OT loss to Virginia on Saturday. Here are a few thoughts from the game:

BOWL HOPES DIM

Syracuse’s bowl hopes went from faint to bleak after the loss to Virginia. SU’s upcoming game will begin its toughest stretch of the season, with No. 25 Pitt (first in the Coastal Division) coming into town next week. A two-game road trip follows after that, which starts at 6-0 and No. 9 Florida State and finishes with a trip to Louisville. Syracuse will then host No. 6 Clemson before finishing at NC State and hosting BC. The Orange may not be favored in another game all season, and will need to come up with three wins of that bunch to make a bowl game. “I feel like we are not a 3-3 team,” linebacker Zaire Franklin said. “But that is our reality.”

» Related: Syracuse football loses third straight, this time in triple overtime

DEFENSE CAN’T STOP VIRGINIA LATE

Syracuse had Virignia on the ropes with just under seven minutes left in the fourth quarter, and the Cavaliers pinned on their own four yard line. But Virginia embarked on a grueling 19-play drive at the end of regulation, and kicked a game-tying field goal as time expired to send the game into overtime. Syracuse’s best shot to end the game came with and the Cavaliers facing a third and 15 situation on the six play of the drive. Matt Johns completed a 6-yard pass underneath to Albert Reid, which was well short of the first down. But a backbreaking facemask penalty on Ron Thompson kept the Cavalier drive alive. The Cavs added had a fourth down conversion. “The best way I could describe it is us not capitalizing on opportunities,” Franklin said. “Throughout the drive, we put them in second down and long, third down and long opportunities. We just didn’t capitalize.”

DUNGEY DAZZLES

It wasn’t all bad for Syracuse, with quarterback Eric Dungey once again displaying his incredible athleticism. With 24 seconds left in the first half, Dungey went on a 26-yard scamper to the endzone, hurdling a Virginia defender before getting layed out in the endzone. But he still scored to send SU to the locker room with a 21-14 lead. Dungey, a true freshman, finished the day with 85 yards rushing and was 16-for-22 for 150 yards and a pair of TDs. “I told him when I recruited him that I didn’t want him jumping over people anymore, but he didn’t listen to me on that one,” Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer said. “That was a hell of an athletic play.”

Brad Bierman contributed to this story with reporting from Virginia.

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Wes Cheng

About Wes Cheng

Wes has worked for Rivals.com covering the New York Knicks, as well as for Scout.com covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also worked for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005. Follow him on Twitter @ChengWes.
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