Syracuse failed to take advantage of several Connecticut turnovers in a disappointing 28-21 loss to Connecticut on Saturday.
The Huskies coughed up the ball five separate times in the first half with two interceptions and three fumbles. Yet Syracuse scored exactly zero points coming from those Connecticut miscues.
“You have to make plays and we weren’t able to make plays,” Syracuse coach Doug Marrone said to reporters following the game. “We wound up turning the ball over too.”
Running back Antwon Bailey fumbled on Syracuse’s first drive at the Syracuse 27. Fortunately for SU, defensive back Philip Thomas picked off Connecticut quarterback Johnny McEntee two plays later on the at the Syracuse 11.
The Orange would catch another break as quarterback Scott McCummings fumbled at the Syracuse 20 with 7:04 in the first quarter. Predictably, Ryan Nassib was intercepted just three plays later by Jerome Junior.
The second quarter wasn’t any better for Connecticut. Running back Lyle McCombs and McEntee would each have a fumble, but SU couldn’t take advantage, as it was forced to punt each time.
SU’s best chance to convert came with 25 seconds left in the first half as McEntee threw another interception to Thomas. The Orange was able to drive to the Connecticut 17, but Ross Krautman missed a 34 yard field goal to end the half.
It was a forgettable half of football, as the teams combined for seven turnovers and scored just seven points apiece.
“Credit to them, they did a lot of great things today,” Marrone said. “We got things going during the second half, and we had opportunities and weren’t able to take advantage during the first half.”
The second half seemed like a completely different game, as Connecticut didn’t turn the ball over. Instead, it was Syracuse committing a costly mistake, as Nassib was picked off with 9:05 left in the game.
But, unlike Syracuse, Connecticut took advantage, as quarterback Scott McCummings scored on a 7-yard touchdown run on the Huskies’ ensuing drive.
It turned out to be the game-winning score.
“It was a tale of two halves here,” Connecticut coach Paul Pasqualoni said. “The coaches and players did an excellent job at halftime trying to make some adjustments on both sides of the ball.”