A quick take on Syracuse’s 28-9 loss against Wake Forest on Saturday evening:
WHAT HAPPENED: Clinging to a 14-9 lead late in the fourth quarter, Wake Forest went on a six play, 78 yard drive, culminating in a Cade Carney 3-yard touchdown run to give Wake Forest a 21-9 lead. The final score did not reflect a relatively close contest, with the Demon Deacons tacking on a 83-yard fumble return for a touchdown after the game was already decided.
ANALYSIS: With rain falling in the first half in Winston Salem, Syracuse opted to pound the ball on the ground, with little to no effectiveness. Curiously, that continued into the second half, despite the rain stopping. The Orange rushed the ball 40 times for 158 yards. For all the times that Syracuse advertises its new-look offense, the play calling resembled those of a by-gone era, with the Orange running it 40 times, while throwing it just 26 times. The decision to not pass is even more strange considering the Deacons came into Saturday as the No. 12 team in the country in stuffing the run.
HERO: This loss certainly doesn’t fall on the Syracuse defense, which forced two turnovers. At the end of the first half, Wake Forest was at SU’s one yard line when Jonathan Thomas forced a fumble on four and goal. With just under 10 minutes in the third quarter, Jake Pickard picked off a John Wolford pass at midfield. The defense in the end allowed just 330 yard and 21 points, which at least kept SU competitive for most of the evening.
ZERO: Syracuse’s margin to make a bowl game significantly narrowed. With the exception of perhaps an Oct. 22 road game at Boston College, the Orange will likely not be favored to win any games the rest of the season. It was one of the worst games of Eric Dungey’s young career. He finished with 156 yards passing and an interception, which cost the Orange an opportunity late in the first half that could’ve sent the Orange into halftime with the lead.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse returns home to host Virginia Tech on Saturday for a 3:45 p.m. kickoff. TV: ESPNU.