Syracuse falls short at Miami as Dungey struggles in the first half

Syracuse (4-4, 2-2 ACC) brought it within one, but couldn't respond to a late Miami touchdown.

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. - After beating No.2 Clemson last week, Syracuse on Saturday fell short under cloudy skies and humid air to the Miami Hurricanes 27-19.

The Orange struggled in the offense in the first half as quarterback Eric Dungey turned the ball over on the first possession. Defensive lineman Demetrius Jackson caught the first pick, however had the ball stripped by Dungey. This second change of possession gave Syracuse a new set of downs, however they couldn’t gain on the momentum.

Photo: Joshua White | The Miami Hurricane

Miami got on the scoreboard during its first possession, and Syracuse needed to play catch up from that point. Down 13 points midway through the second quarter, SU had its longest drive of the game, capped off with a 22-yard field goal by kicker Cole Murphy.

With a chance to bring the game closer before half time, Dungey tried a deep tor to wide receiver Jamal Custis, but the pass was short and fell to Miami cornerback Michael Jackson. This was Jackson’s second interception off Dungey, who ended the half with more turnovers than completions.

“It is my fault,” Dungey said after the game. “It was all miss communications but I got to communicate. It is all on me.”

Syracuse head coach Dino Babers disagreed with Dungey.

“Sometimes it was the wide receiver, sometimes was the offensive lineman, it really wasn’t Dungey,” Babers said.

Following half time, the Orange were the first team on the scoreboard, the result of a 40-yard field goal by Murphy and Syracuse were down seven. The teams alternated touchdowns before the end of the third quarter, bringing the score to 20-16.

Even with a poor performance in the first half, Dungey never stopped fighting and led the running attack. The quarterback finished the game with 20 carries and 120 yards, more than running backs Dontae Strickland and Moe Neal.

Syracuse had chances to come back due to the defense stability throughout the game. They stopped 10 of 13 Hurricane third-down chances. Linebacker Parris Bennett had another big game, with 10 tackles, including two for loss.

“Hold them 27-19 with four turnovers was big,” Bennett said. “Defense played well, but of course we have a lot to improve.”

Down one point with 5 minutes to go, Syracuse were in the game. They needed one big stop to get a chance to drive down and score.

But this time they couldn’t handle Miami quarterback Malik Rosier and his powerful weapons. He marched on the field starting at their own 15-yard line, driving the field capped off with a 33-yard run by Miami running back Travis Homer. This eight-point lead would remain until the end of the game.

With the defeat, Syracuse remains .500 on the season with four games remaining, the same record the team had last year. The difference for Dungey is now they have a more competitive team.

“Last year we were losing games by a large margin and now we are not,” Dungey said. “I mean, I am not trying to gratifying a loss, but those are some of the top teams on the nation.”

Syracuse now will have a chance to rest the players in the bye week. The Orange will travel to Tallahassee, Florida, on Nov. 4, to face the 2-4 Florida State Seminoles.

Photos courtesy of Joshua White and The Miami Hurricane.

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