Syracuse football notebook: The heat was on in the Carrier Dome

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Multiple players suffered cramps in a steamy Carrier Dome on Friday

A little of this, and a little of that as we try to cool off after spending almost five hours (one hour of socializing and four hours watching the game) from Syracuse University’s 62-28 loss to the Louisville Cardinals in the sauna..oops, we mean the Carrier Dome on Friday night.

The Heat Is On

Earlier in the day, a media source reported that the Carrier Dome would finally get air condition as part of the renovation project. It couldn’t come too soon.

The temperature outside of the Carrier Dome was 84 degrees. Inside, it had to be close to 100. Complete dead air.

Hats off to the SU Strength and Conditioning staff for getting the Syracuse players in such top conditioning in the off-season, something that is needed with the fast-paced Dino Babers offense. And certainly, it will play to the Orange’s favor as the season goes on, as the team is in great shape. Not once during the game did a Syracuse player go down with cramps.

On the contrary, that can’t be said about the Louisville Cardinals. Or can it?

On four different occasions during the game when Syracuse had the ball, a Louisville player dropped to the turf with apparent cramps. This resulted in a shift in momentum for the Orange. Were they really cramps, or was it a way to slow down the Syracuse offense. One may never know.

“I can’t talk about the officials, or I might get fined,” Babers said. “But look at your watches. It might have been a lot shorter game if that didn’t happen.”

The game lasted three hours and fifty-five minutes.

A fan (who happens to be doctor) sat on the 40 yard line behind the Louisville bench. He commented to us that on all four occasions, the players were fine within minutes of coming off the field. Hmmm.

» Related: Syracuse football’s flaws exposed in 62-28 rout by Louisville

They Kept Competing

In a blink of an eye, or in less than five minutes into the game, Louisville had a 21-0 lead. Their stellar quarterback, sophomore Lamar Jackson had accumulated 212 yards of total offense and three touchdowns on four plays before the game was five minutes old. Syracuse trailed by 14 heading into halftime, and then again heading into the fourth quarter. The game got away in the fourth quarter, as the Cardinals scored 20 points, and held the Orange scoreless.

“I thought that our defense even though the numbers are not good, it was a 14-point game going into the fourth quarter with an amazing quarterback and an amazing football team and they’re playing an enormous amount of reps,” Babers said. “The energy that they’re using to stay with these guys is amazing and what we needed to do offensively when it came to the second half is find a way to get a touchdown, find a way to make it where they felt like they were in the game. As long as they’re sitting at 14 they’re not tightening up, and then eventually, they got away from us. So, could the defense have played better, heck yeah. Am I mad at them? Heck no.”

We like the spirit and tenacity of this team. Despite the large deficits, the team never did give up.

No Stopping Jackson

Jackson became the first player in FBS history to throw for more than 400 yards and rush for 175 yards. His 609 yards of total offense established an ACC record. Louisville ended up with 845 yards of total offense, another league mark. Jackson had eight touchdowns in week one vs. Charlotte.

“Obviously we’d like to tackle him, I’m not sure anybody could catch him. You get mad because they couldn’t catch that guy. He’s the fastest guy on the football field, on both teams. He’s an extremely talented football player.”

That he is. Syracuse will have their hands full with two other dynamite quarterbacks in Clemson’s Heisman hopeful DeShawn Watson and Florida State’s Deondre Francois. The Orange meet the Tigers on Nov. 5 in Death Valley and face the Seminoles at the Dome on Nov. 19. Hopefully, by then the secondary will have improved. Hopefully!!!

Where Are You?

The 13th ranked team in the nation. The first ACC opponent of the season. A Friday night game. An exciting and fast paced offense. An Orange Out. What more do people need to come out to a football game. Just 32,184 fans showed up for Friday night’s game. Only about 900 more than SU’s opening week opponent Colgate. Pretty pathetic.

And, after Louisville scored the first 21 points within the opening minutes of the game, we saw fans leaving. Really people.

We Are Glad You Are Here

Redshirt senior wide receiver transfer Amba Etta-Tawo registered seven receptions for 104 yards and two scores. Ettta-Tawo has recorded three touchdown catches in his first two games in an Orange uniform, matching the amount he had in his three season at Maryland. He’s a great option for quarterback Eric Dungey.

Etta-Tawo notched his fourth 100-yard receiving contest of his collegiate career, three of which have come inside the Carrier Dome. In addition, the redshirt senior wide receiver has recorded more receiving yards in his first two games in his Orange career (314) than he did last season at Maryland.

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