Syracuse struggles to contain Lamar Jackson in blowout against Louisville

Syracuse is now on a four-game losing streak after another away loss.

When Syracuse (4-7, 2-5 ACC) entered Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, the Orange had a slim chance to win. Rain fell almost the entire game, including a forty-three minute delay in the second quarter, but it was no contest as the Louisville Cardinals ended the game with 727 yards for the night, and Syracuse only 335. As a result, Syracuse failed to win a road game this season, and the team has failed to qualify for bowl contention for a fourth year in a row.

Photo: Courtesy of Dalton Ray | The Louisville Cardinal
The defense struggled again, giving up 56 points.

How it happened

Louisville didn't take long to put points on the board, scoring on the second play of the first drive. The Cardinals took the momentum with full swing, when Louisville defender Jaire Alexander intercepted a pass from Syracuse quarterback Zack Mahoney on the first possession for the Orange. Syracuse responded late in the first quarter with a 51-yard field goal by senior Cole Murphy, two yards shy of his longest. However, Syracuse remained scoreless for the rest of the half while Louisville recorded four touchdowns. All of Louisville's touchdowns were longer than 30 yards.

In the second half the Orange competed, but had little momentum after allowing three more touchdowns to the Cardinals.

Containing Mr. Heisman

Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson had a groundbreaking night. He broke the school record with five straight 100-yard rushing games twice in his career. The game marked a school-record for career offense with 12,474 total yards.

"First of all, he's so cool and he's so calm," Syracuse coach Dino Babers said following the loss. "He's fast, but as fast as he is, he's quicker than that. He's as quick as a cat. I don't know how quick a cat is, but a cat is probably as quick as Lamar. He's by far one of the best I've seen in a long time outside of [Robert Griffin III]."


Although Syracuse and Louisville had almost the same time with the football, four turnovers by the Orange prevented the offense a chance to make moves. Junior quarterback Eric Dungey did not suit up with the team for a second straight game, and the backup quarterbacks needed to fill his shoes if they were going to compete. Mahoney, who played last week against Wake Forest, was Babers's first choice. Mahoney ended up with five completed passes of fifteen attempts and threw two interceptions.

"Zack had thrown his second interception," Babers said. "One of the things we want to make sure we do is we want to make sure we're evaluating our team well."

Babers made the decision to put Mahoney back on the sidelines and replace him with the redshirt freshman Rex Culpepper.

"Culpepper has a strong arm, I think at the time there was six minutes left in the half and we said, 'let's put him in there and see what he can do into the wind,'" Babers said.

Bowl Eligibility

Syracuse needed to win both of its last two games of the season to be bowl eligible. This is the fourth year in a row that the Orange won't be playing in a bowl game, something seniors Paris Bennett, Steve Ishmael, and Zaire Franklin had been working toward since their freshman year.

"Right now, there's just not a lot of talk. Guys are just hurting, myself included," Franklin said.

"I think we will feel it all night. We've got to treat it like everything else and finish the right way. Come in, watch it, learn from it, get a win on our senior night."

What's Next

Syracuse has its last game of the season at the Carrier Dome, playing Boston College on Nov. 25 at 12:20 p.m.

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