A quick take on Syracuse’s 38-24 loss to Duke on Saturday afternoon:
WHAT HAPPENED: After Syracuse had pulled to within six points on an Andre Szmyt 48-yard field goal with 10:14 left, Duke responded with a 12-play, 75-yard drive that ate up 4:48 of clock, ending with a Mataeo Durant 3-yard touchdown run. The Blue Devils added a two-point conversion to put the game out of reach, lifting Duke to its first win (1-4) of the season. Syracuse also lost starting quarterback Tommy DeVito after he absorbed a sack in the fourth quarter. He was helped off to the sideline, barely able to put weight on his leg, and later returned to the sideline wearing an air cast.
ANALYSIS: This appears to be a lost season for the Orange. There are no gimmies on SU’s schedule, but Duke, who had come in winless in four tries this season, represented a golden opportunity, especially within the friendly confines of the Carrier Dome. The Orange finishes its homestand against Liberty, which is 3-0 and as of the writing of this article, is up 24-0 on ULM. SU’s other best remaining opportunities for wins are home games against Boston College (2-1) and Wake Forest (1-2). The loss of DeVito for any extended period of time would significantly lessen those chances.
HERO: To give you an idea of how the game went in one sentence: Deon Jackson and Durant combined for 332 yards rushing and two touchdowns, while Syracuse combined for 286 yards of total offense on the afternoon. The Blue Devils gashed the Orange for 5.8 yards per rush and Chase Brice ended up with a solid afternoon, completing 22 of 38 passes for two touchdowns and an interception. Meanwhile, Duke’s defense limited the Orange to just 11 first downs, and only 1.2 yards per rush. DeVito could’ve had a standout day, but too many painful drops led to the quarterback finishing 13-for-26 for 255 yards and two touchdowns.
ZERO: When is the last time Syracuse football was +4 in the turnover category and still lost? Yes, its defense forced three fumbles (one resulting in a defensive touchdown) and picked off Brice, but there’s no excuse for giving up 645 total yards. The Blue Devils dominated possession time 39:43 to 20:17, and the Orange offense could never capitalize on the defensive turnovers.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse hosts Liberty at the Carrier Dome next Saturday.