With no fight left, Syracuse makes its nightmare complete against Louisville

Syracuse will miss a bowl game for a fourth straight season
Syracuse will miss a bowl game for a fourth straight season

Same opponent, different season, same result.

For the second consecutive year, Lamar Jackson led Louisville to a rout over Syracuse highlighted by a string of explosive scoring plays. This time around, the Cardinals (7-4, 4-4 ACC) did so at home, rolling up 727 yards of offense en route to a 56-10 victory over the Orange (4-7, 2-5) on a rain-soaked day. Every Louisville touchdown covered at least 19 yards and four of their scores went at least 43.

Without starting quarterback Eric Dungey for the second straight game, SU saw their postseason hopes all but washed away on a day with a lightning delay of 47 minutes in the second quarter. Trailing 21-3 at the time, any hopes of adjustments to turn the tide in the additional intermission were wiped out by two more Louisville scores before halftime.

The fourth straight loss by the Orange eliminated any chance of reaching six wins on the season and coveted bowl eligibility.

The first two plays into the game created a feeling of déjà vu, as Louisville got a 29-yard run followed by a 46-yard touchdown burst. A mere 36 seconds into the game, the Cardinals held a 7-0 lead.

» Related: Syracuse football turns to backup Zack Mahoney, with mixed results

Syracuse got on the board on their second possession when Cole Murphy drilled a 51-yard field goal. The bomb from the left hash came six minutes after the opening Cardinal tally and clipped the margin to 7-3.

Just as the second quarter started, the floodgates opened. Lamar Jackson capped a Louisville drive with a 43-yard touchdown sprint. The Cardinals followed an Orange three-and-out with another score, this one coming on a 33-yard touchdown run. The latter game the Cards a 21-3 lead four minutes into the second.

Following the first play of the ensuing drive, the game was paused due to lightning, sending both teams to their locker rooms and fans searching for cover.

Neither team was clicking when the action resumed and Louisville ended the second SU possession after the break by intercepting a Zack Mahoney pass, their second pick of the half. The next play, the Cardinals slipped back into gear, connecting on a 72-yard touchdown pass and the rout was back on.

Rex Culpepper replaced Mahoney at quarterback, but fared no better. After Culpepper’s first drive ended in a punt, Louisville struck once more, getting a 35-yard touchdown pass. The extra point gave the hosts a 35-3 lead late in the second quarter.

After Culpepper threw an interception on the first drive after halftime, Louisville scored on a 19-yard run, pushing the lead to 42-3. Late in the third, a 56-yard run added another touchdown to the Cardinals’ ledger and led to liberal substitution by the hosts.

Five minutes into the fourth, the Louisville reserves tacked on a big scoring play of their own, getting a 29-yard touchdown pass and extra point to make the score 56-3.

The Orange turned the subsequent drive into their lone touchdown of the game, marching 71 yards in 11 plays to reach the end zone. Erv Philips had the scoring honors, zipping around the left side on a fourth down jet sweep from eight yards out. Murphy added the extra point to close the scoring with just over five minutes to play.

Moe Neal led SU with a career-high 98 yards on 19 carries. Rex Culpepper and Zack Mahoney combined for only 13 completions on a total of 34 attempts. Each threw a pair of interceptions.

Devin C. Butler was the leading receiver for the Orange with five catches for 63 yards. Steve Ishmael had two receptions, giving him 94 on the season, which ties Amba Etta-Tawo for the single-season record at Syracuse. Erv Philips’ 13 receiving yards boosted him over the 2,000 yard mark for a career.

Parris Bennett led the Orange with a dozen tackles. Zaire Franklin and Ryan Guthrie shared the lone SU sack.

The Orange close their schedule next Saturday when they host Boston College. The Eagles (6-5, 3-4) have won four of their last five games, including a 39-16 win over Connecticut in which freshman A.J. Dillon ran for 200 yards and a pair of scores on 24 carries. Dillon has 1,239 rushing yards and ten touchdowns this season and his performance in the UConn game was his third time rolling up at least 196 yards on the ground.

The game, which will be televised by the ACC Network and available online at ESPN3.com, will have a 12:20pm Eastern kickoff.

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About Jim Stechschulte 894 Articles
A 1996 graduate of Syracuse University, Jim has reported on Syracuse sports for the Syracuse University Alumni Club of Southern California on nearly a decade. He has also written a fantasy basketball column published by NBA.com. He currently resides in Syracuse.