A quick take on Syracuse’s 33-25 loss to NC State on Saturday afternoon in North Carolina:
WHAT HAPPENED: Up 26-17 early in the fourth quarter, NC State went on punishing 10-play, 65-yard drive culminating in a one-yard touchdown run to take a 33-17 lead. On the ensuing drive, Syracuse ran a trick play to tight end Ravian Pierce in the endzone on fourth and 10 but the pass fell incomplete (more on that below). Syracuse would later add eight points on a late touchdown and two-point conversion with 4:39 left, but the Orange couldn’t recover the on-side kick, and NC State ran out the clock.
ANALYSIS: Syracuse had no problems moving the ball against the Wolfpack through the air, amassing 385 yards passing as part of 444 total yards. But the Orange can only point to themselves as the reason for a second-straight heartbreaking road loss, after they committed 12 penalties for 93 yards. Also, for the second consecutive week, quarterback Eric Dungey threw an interception on the first drive of the game, putting SU in a 13-0 hole early in the first quarter. It’s clear that Syracuse has the talent and the understanding of its philosophy to compete against similarly situated teams in the ACC. But until Syracuse understands how to execute its offense without silly mistakes, it will be doomed to similar results.
HERO: Ervin Phillips set a school records for 17 receptions for 188 yards. Steve Ishmael racked up a fifth straight week of 100 or more receiving yards with 120 yards and a touchdown. For the Wolfpack, Nyheim Hines gashed the Orange for 19 carries and 115 yards, as NC State controlled time of play 36:29-23:31 with 256 yards on the ground.
ZERO: On Syracuse’s last gasp, a fourth and 10 play with just over seven minutes left, the Orange ran an end-around reserve play, using Devin Butler as the quarterback, to look for Pierce in the endzone. Pierce was clearly held by a Wolfpack defender before the ball arrived in what should’ve been an easy defensive pass interference call that would’ve extended the drive and given the Orange a chance to pull within a single score. But somehow, the officiating crew missed the call, and with it went the Orange’s shot of an upset.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse returns home to play Pitt on Saturday, Oct. 7 at 12:30 p.m.