Little errors adding up to big woes for Syracuse football

Oct 15, 2021; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange head coach Dino Babers speaks to reporters following SU's 17-14 loss against the Clemson Tigers at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Brett Gustin/The Juice Online.

Syracuse dropped its third straight game, losing to Clemson on Friday evening, 17-14. Here are some quick hits from the game.

  • First half penalties really hurt the Orange. A facemask call against Garrett Shrader essentially tanked an otherwise solid first drive of the game. Two personal fouls helped set up the first Clemson touchdown, then a holding call on the kickoff tanked Syracuse’s field position on the ensuing possession.

  • Late in the second quarter, Clemson converted a fake punt on a 4th-and-5 from the SU 41 after failing to draw the Orange offside. The Tigers were able to finish the drive with a touchdown with nine seconds remaining to take a 14-7 lead to half.
  • Sean Tucker was terrific in the first half with 12 carries for 132 yards, but Clemson took him out of the game in the second half. The star running back lost four yards on three carries in the third quarter, then converted seven attempts into 29 yards in the final period, 21 coming on the final drive.
  • While Andre Szmyt’s first extra point of the game made him the all-time leading scorer in Syracuse history, he has had a rough season. His late missed field goal dropped him to 1-of-5 from 40 yards or longer on the season and 7-of-11 overall. His field goal success rate has dropped each season following his Lou Groza Award-winning freshman campaign and he is now 18-of-29 (62.1 percent) from 40 yards or longer in his career.
  • The Orange defense has been excellent this season, save for one area – forcing turnovers. In a game where a turnover could have changed their fortunes, SU once again could not take the ball away from their opponent. Their six forced turnovers in seven games has them outside the top 100 in the country in turnovers per game.
  • Four straight Syracuse games have been decided by three points. They beat Liberty on a field goal on the final play, lost to Florida State on a field goal on the final play, lost to Wake Forest on an overtime touchdown, and lost to Clemson in large part due to a missed field goal with 38 seconds left.

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  • SU returns to the road next Saturday when they travel to Virginia Tech. The Orange hold a 10-8 series lead over their former Big East rivals, but have faced the Hokies (3-2, 1-0 ACC) just once since 2003, knocking off a nationally-ranked Tech team in 2016, 31-17.
  • The Hokies host Pittsburgh this Saturday prior to meeting SU. Syracuse and Virginia Tech will renew their rivalry starting at 12:30pm Eastern next Saturday with the game being televised on regional sports networks.

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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 He currently resides in Syracuse.