Nail-biter game ends in wide left kick, Syracuse loses to Florida State

The Orange had a chance to tie the game with four seconds left, but their dreams were dashed.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Syracuse Orange football team fell short in a heart-breaking loss against Florida State on Saturday night.

The Orange were down by three late in the fourth quarter but missed a field goal attempt to tie the game, losing 27-24. Syracuse’s offense recorded 463 total yards against the Seminoles. 

Despite the loss, two Syracuse players broke records. Phillips became Syracuse’s all time leader in catches with 207 total catches. He surpassed Alec Lemon, who played for Syracuse from 2009 to 2012. Dungey scored his 20th rushing touchdown to set the program record for the most rushes by a quarterback.

Photo: Logan Stanford/
Syracuse WR Steve Ishmael going up for a catch against FSU CB Tarvarus McFadden.

“It was a really, really good game. You could tell both teams were extremely competitive; both teams were ready for this game,” Syracuse head coach Dino Babers said. “To play a game like that and not win is unfortunate, but I am really proud of the way the guys played.”

1st Quarter: Syracuse Down Early

The Orange were driving the ball down the field and ran five plays for 16 yards until Dungey’s pass was intercepted by Derwin James at the 47-yard line. Florida State quarterback James Blackman led the Seminoles down the field and completed a 51-yard touchdown pass to Nyqwan Murray to put Florida State ahead 7-0.

Dungey was down early with an injury and was replaced by Zack Mahoney. Throughout the first quarter, Syracuse struggled to gain momentum. Syracuse had a chance to close the deficit, but kicker Cole Murphy’s 48-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Matthew Thomas. This is the second year the Seminoles have blocked at least three kicks in a season. Florida State led 7-0 at the end of the quarter.

2nd Quarter: Dungey Returns

The Seminoles continued to dominate early. On Florida States’ first scoring drive in the quarter, Cam Akers rushed for a 54-yard-line touchdown to extend the lead 14-0.

When Dungey returned to the game, momentum started to shift in favor of Syracuse. Dungey completed a deep 47-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jamal Custis to get Syracuse on the board. On the next drive, Akers made another big play, running the ball 63 yards for the touchdown to make it a 14-point deficit for the Orange.

With 3:46 left to go in the half, Dungey carried the ball for 30 yards to get the first down. On the next play, Dontae Strickland rushed the ball up the middle for 4 yards to the 35-yard line. Dungey completed a 34-yard pass to Steve Ishmael for a touchdown. This play brought back memories of earlier in the season, when Dungey found Ishmael against Clemson on Oct. 13.

The Orange trailed 21-14. With 1:00 left to go in the half on the fourth down, Syracuse was at the four-yard line in position to tie the game, but Dungey threw an incomplete pass.

“You go in 21-21 it’s a different game. If we were tied at the halftime the odds are greatly going in out favor going to win the game in the second half based off the things we have done on the second half as a football team. We went for the touchdown. We went for the win,” Babers said. 

3rd Quarter: Back and Forth

At the start of the third quarter, both teams continued to drive the ball but was scoreless until with 9:35 left to go, Cam Murphy of Syracuse made a 42-yard field goal to make it a 4-point game, 21-17. However, Florida State had 13 plays that resulted in 51 yards. Then Seminoles kicker Ricky Aguayo made a 49-yard field goal to extend the lead 24-17.

4th Quarter: Too Short of a Comeback

The beginning of the fourth quarter was a standstill. Both teams were unsuccessful putting points on the board. But with 6:48 left to go, Aguayo made a 38-yard field goal to extend the lead 27-17. The Orangemen continued to battle back to cut the deficit.

Syracuse scoring drive was 14 plays over 75 yards. Ervin Phillips started the scoring drive by receiving a pass from Dungey for 18 yards to give SU its first down. Syracuse's offense continued to move the ball down the field and Dungey scrambled for six yards to Florida State’s 6-yard line. With 2:55 left to go, Dungey rushed down the field to get a touchdown for the Orange, resulting in a 27-24 game.

“He gives us a lot of energy just to see him fight. You know he always fights. Just to see that. It gives the whole team energy,” Syracuse running back Ervin Phillips said.

Florida State were forced to punt by the Syracuse defense, who held Florida State to one of 13 on third-down conversions. The Orange had a chance to tie the game on their final drive, but Cole Murphy missed a 43-yard field goal attempt.

Looking Ahead:

The Orange have three games left in the season. Syracuse (4-5) will play against Wake Forest (5-4) Nov. 11 at the Carrier Dome.

“We just have to stay positive, stay optimistic, and just get ready for next week,” Phillips said.

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