Syracuse football: offense hits new low in loss to Louisville

The Orange musters only 255 offensive yards, coughs up two turnovers in sluggish performance.

Photo: Bryan Cereijo
Fans of the Orange express their frustration with the team's struggles.

On Friday night at the Carrier Dome, very few things went right for Syracuse (2-3) in its Atlantic Coast Conference opener against Louisville (5-1).  

While the Cardinals did have nine penalties, the Orange’s miscues ranged from missed tackles to dropped passes. The end result was a 28-6 loss for SU, its third-straight defeat this season. 

Despite its issues, the Orange did score the game’s first points after an interception by cornerback Julian Whigham set up a Cole Murphy field goal attempt with 7:10 left in the first quarter. The freshman nailed the 21-yard chip shot to give the Orange a 3-0 lead. 

Louisville quickly responded on its next possession. Sophomore running back Brandon Radcliff, making his second college start, broke several Syracuse tackles on a 4-yard dash to the end zone to put Louisville ahead 7-3.  

“As a running back you pride yourself on not letting the first man tackle you,” Radcliff said. “I was trying to make a one-cut move on them and trying to break those arm tackles.” 

Radcliff would continue to spark the Cardinals’ offense and break through Syracuse’s defensive front throughout the game.  He scored two touchdowns on his way to a second-consecutive 100-plus yard rushing performance. 

With 11:59 left in the second quarter, the Cardinals forced a safety and took a 9-3 lead. Adonis Ameen-Moore was taken down in the end zone on a sweep attempt at the 1-yard line.  

Shortly after that play, Louisville safety James Sample picked off Syracuse quarterback Terrel Hunt to set up a field goal attempt. Junior John Wallace converted the 51-yard try to put the Cardinals up 12-3.   

The Orange threatened to score as time wound down in the half. Hunt connected with Jarrod West on a 39-yard pass to set up first-and-goal at the 2-yard line. With two seconds left, Hunt spiked the ball so the Orange could run another play. 

However, NCAA rules state at least three seconds must be on the game clock in order to spike the ball for a clock stoppage. The announced crowd of 37,569 voiced its displeasure by loudly booing as the Orange left the field with no points.

SU attempted a trick play to swing momentum in the second half. West nearly connected with wide receiver Ben Lewis, who was moved into the slot back position following injuries to Ashton Broyld and Brisly Estime, but the ball slipped right through Lewis’ hands in the end zone 

“That’s a play that’s got to be made 100 percent of the time,” Lewis said. 

With 5:27 left in the third quarter, Radcliff scored again on a 14-yard burst up the middle to give the Cardinals a 19-6 lead.  

The Orange showed some life at the end of the quarter when captain Cameron Lynch stripped the ball from Cardinals tight end Gerald Christian. However, Hunt immediately threw another interception, this time to Lousiville ball hawk Gerod Holliman. 

Lynch said the Orange defense tried to stay positive.  

“That’s a big turnover,” Lynch said. “Attack the field and just go there with the right mind set. Tell yourself put the ball down and just attack the next play.” 

But Louisville was able to add one more touchdown on a 4-yard pass by freshman quarterback Reggie Bonnafon, who completed 12 of 22 passes for 174 yards. 

The Cardinals later added another safety, prompting many Orange fans to head for the exits. 

To make matters worse, Hunt left the game twice due to injury in the fourth quarter. After a first hit by Keith Kelsey, Austin Wilson replaced the redshirt junior for only one play. 

But the second time, Hunt lay on the field for several minutes holding his left leg before being helped off the field. He did not return, and his status remains uncertain.

Given all that transpired, SU head coach Scott Shafer appeared very irritated after the game but tried to hide his frustration. 

“No, I’m the luckiest guy alive,” Shafer said. “I see ISIS is out there cutting people’s heads off. We’re just so doggone lucky to be coaching and being criticized for not getting a call made with a couple seconds left in the game, or being criticized for not catching a dead pig with air in it. To me, life’s pretty damn good.” 

The Orange will look to rebound against defending national champion Florida State in the Dome on Saturday at noon.



Aj long syracuse

So I was reading this article and yeah we didnt perform well against louisville. A couple of dropped passes in the end zone didnt help either. I think if we caught even one of those passes things would have been a different ball game. Anyway with aj long at the helm things might get real interesting for cuse. Im excited to see what he can do. its a shame though early on in the season i had cuse beating louisville. it was one of my predictions. oh well go Cuse.

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