Instant Juice: Syracuse 20, North Carolina State 35

Orange fans can catch a glimpse of how Dino Babers 2017 roster is taking shape at the “Spring Showcase” event in the Dome April 22
Dropping to 4-6 for the season, it’s seemingly going to take wins over Florida State and Pittsburgh to make a bowl game for Dino Babers and the Orange.

A quick take on Syracuse’s deflating 35-20 defeat against North Carolina State Saturday afternoon, on Military Appreciation Day at the Carrier Dome in front of an announced crowd of 34,842:

WHAT HAPPENED: Syracuse’s bowl game hopes all but vanished with the loss, falling to 4-6 overall and 3-3 in the ACC with two games to play.  Trailing 28-20 in the fourth quarter, the ‘Cuse offense, under the direction of backup quarterback Zack Mahoney could not move the football with 7:00 to play, and two minutes later the Wolfpack put the game away on running back Matt Dayes third score of the day.

» Related: Can Syracuse make a bowl game?

ANALYSIS:  The Syracuse defense simply could not get off the field at key situations in the game, especially in the second half as N.C. State dominated time of possession, resulting in four of the five Wolfpack touchdowns coming on extended drives.  With starting quarterback Eric Dungey watching from the sidelines, Mahoney did the best he could in trying to evade a swarming ‘Pack defense, and had one bright spot in connecting with Amba Etta-Tawo on an 81 yard touchdown pass in the third quarter, but overall there was too little offense with not enough time of possession.

HERO: State’s senior back Dayes was a steady force on the ground the entire afternoon scoring three times, including the clinching score with 4:50 to play. He finished with 119 yards rushing on his 27 carries.

ZERO: The Syracuse rushing attack was practically non-existent with three backs combining for only 69 yards, allowing the NCSU defense to key on the SU passing game, limiting Mahoney’s options in key second half situations.

WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse concludes the home portion of its schedule taking on No. 18 Florida State (7-3, 4-3) Saturday, Nov. 19.  SU won the first game of this series back in 1966 at Archbold Stadium, and since then it’s been eight straight Seminole wins between 1978-2015, including all three ACC contests by an average margin of 47-14.  FSU walloped Boston College 45-7 at Tallahassee on Friday night. Game Time: 3:30 p.m. ET / TV: ABC/ESPN2.

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About Brad Bierman 848 Articles
Now in his sixth decade of covering SU sports, Brad was sports director of WSYR radio for eight years into the early 1990s, then wrote the Orange Watch column for The Big Orange/The Juice print publication for 18 years. A Syracuse University graduate, Brad currently runs his own media consulting business in the Philadelphia suburbs. Follow him on Twitter @BradBierman.