Syracuse loses to Wake Forest but finds potential spark in Morgan

Babers+GaTech
Sep 26, 2020; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange head coach Dino Babers looks on against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets during the first quarter at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Syracuse scored a touchdown to draw within three points late in the second quarter, but Wake Forest matched that score before halftime, then added two more trips to the end zone in the first two-and-a-half minutes of the third quarter to coast to a 38-14 victory Saturday afternoon. Similar to the previous week’s effort at Clemson, the Orange (1-6, 1-5 ACC) played well for a short span after falling behind early, but could not sustain that effort.
 
The Demon Deacons (4-2, 3-2) nearly doubled up SU in yards, 438-221.  The Syracuse total is slightly deceiving in that they tacked on an 80-yard scoring drive in garbage time, providing over one-third of their game’s output well after the outcome was determined.  The most notable thing about that drive was that reserve quarterback Jacobian Morgan connected on all seven of his passing attempts as he guided the Orange to the end zone.
 
Wake Forest needed just under five minutes to convert the opening kickoff into points and a lead they would never relinquish.  SU’s Tyrell Richards notched a sack to end the drive, but Wake was able to make a 33-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.  
 
Following a three-and-out by Syracuse, the Deacs strung together their second straight 12-play drive, this one reaching the end zone and pushing their lead out to 10-0 with a little under four minutes left in the opening quarter.
 
The two teams failed to score for nearly 15 points of game time, but Nykeim Johnson gave the Orange a short field with a 26-yard punt return.  SU needed just four plays to score, getting a 21-yard touchdown pass from Rex Culpepper to Johnson.  Andre Szmyt booted the extra point to cut the gap to 10-7 with just over four minutes left in the second.
 
Wake responded with a scoring drive in the waning minutes of the half, notching a touchdown and reinstating their 10-point lead at 17-7, which stood at halftime.

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Syracuse went three-and-out with the opening possession after the break and the Demon Deacons took advantage shortly after, exploiting a coverage bust deep downfield for an 81-yard touchdown pass.  The extra point made it a 24-7 game.
 
Wake added another touchdown on the following play from scrimmage, blowing the game open. Culpepper underthrew a pass, which was intercepted and brought back to the end zone.  The conversion made it 31-7 in favor of the Deacs with 12:32 left in the third quarter.
 
The guests added another touchdown before the end of the quarter, stretching their lead to 38-7.
 
Jacobian Morgan relieved Culpepper on the final Orange possession and led the team to a touchdown, connecting with Luke Benson on a three-yard scoring pass.  Szmyt’s conversion closed the scoring with 3:11 on the clock.
 
Cooper Lutz was the lone bright spot on the SU offense, picking up 81 carries on 15 carries and tying for the team lead with four receptions, adding 25 more yards.
 
Garrett Williams paced the SU defense for the second straight week with nine tackles, including a sack, and added a pass break up.  Tyrell Richards also had a sack and was credited with two quarterback hits in the game.
 
The Orange will wrap this two-game homestand next Saturday when Boston College visits.  The Eagles (4-2, 3-2) fell just short of upsetting #1 Clemson in their last game, 34-28.  BC held a 28-10 lead late in the second quarter, but could not hang on.
 
Phil Jurkovec leads the way for the Eagles with 1,875 passing yards to go with 14 touchdown passes and four interceptions.  Zay Flowers has 536 receiving yards and five scores to lead BC while Hunter Long leads the team with 41 receptions.
 
The Syracuse-Boston College game will get underway at 2:00pm Eastern and be televised by regional sports networks.

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Jim Stechschulte
About Jim Stechschulte 648 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, where he currently resides. He has also written a fantasy basketball column published by NBA.com. Follow him on Twitter @DSafetyGuy.