SAME PITTFALLS: Syracuse squanders opportunities in loss to Pittsburgh, remains 1 win shy of bowl eligibility

first_imgThe pandemonium that occurred with 1:03 left on the Carrier Dome turf was a microcosm of Syracuse’s frustrating season. Coaches yelling at players. Players yelling at referees. Fans yelling throughout the stadium.A pass from Charley Loeb to Kendall Moore caught, and then spiked to the ground by the Syracuse sideline.The fake field goal that could have propelled the Orange past Pittsburgh for bowl eligibility slipped away. One last mistake to cap off a game — and the previous 10 before it — filled with them.“Hell yeah (it’s frustrating),” SU head coach Scott Shafer said. “I want to put my hand through a wall right now.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSyracuse squandered away opportunities in all three facets of the game during its 17-16 loss to Pittsburgh (6-5, 3-4 Atlantic Coast) on Saturday in the Carrier Dome, but most glaringly on offense. The “overblown” penalties Shafer described earlier this week returned in the form of 77 yards, and a game that the Orange (5-6, 3-4) could have won multiple times goes down as just another tally in the loss column. Now Syracuse is faced with a must-win game against Boston College one week from now.“We can’t keep saying, ‘Oh, we killed ourselves,’” defensive tackle Jay Bromley said. “Then stop shooting yourself in the foot. Put away the gun.“We can’t keep doing that and expecting to come out victorious.”Sam Rodgers shouted on the sideline following the timeout. Syracuse linebacker Cameron Lynch said the long snapper was upset with the line judge on that fourth-and-8 attempt from the Pittsburgh 36-yard line. A “discrepancy” between Rodgers and the line judge kept Rodgers from getting over the ball, and allowed Panthers head coach Paul Chryst to call a timeout just before the snap.Rodgers flung the ball back to Loeb, who in turn threw it to an uncovered Moore on the right sideline.“He was just upset because the referee would not let him get over the ball,” Lynch said of Rodgers.But bad break or not, Syracuse had other chances. Plenty of them.Hunt was late getting to a wide-open Quinta Funderburk in the right corner of the end zone and overthrew Christopher Clark on a flea flicker. Two fourth-quarter throws that would likely have meant six points for Syracuse.“I didn’t get to see the flea flicker because I was hit, but the one to Quinta I was late on.” Hunt said. “If I would have thrown it earlier, that would’ve been a touchdown.”Offensive coordinator George McDonald and quarterbacks coach Tim Lester did not come out for interviews after the game, despite being requested.Ryan Norton missed a 41-yard field goal with 8:38 left in regulation — and this was after Aaron Donald blew through SU guard Omari Palmer to block the extra point after the Orange’s first touchdown.Shafer said he knew it was over once Donald got penetration.“I said, ‘Hoo boy, this isn’t good.’”Even the defense, which played nearly two-thirds of the first half, missed chances. On Pittsburgh’s third drive — which resulted in a field goal — the Orange came close to forcing two turnovers. Durell Eskridge dropped an interception on an under-thrown ball by Tom Savage and Lynch knocked a loose ball out of play when he tried to fall on it at full speed.“Those are the plays that could change the course of the game,” Lynch said. “Early on we were beating them pretty bad, so if I picked that fumble up it could’ve been a different outcome.”Hunt then found Alvin Cornelius for on a 42-yard scoring strike to give Syracuse a 16-10 lead with 6:25 left in the third quarter, but the defense slipped up again.Eskridge, Wayne Morgan and Jeremi Wilkes all missed tackles on Isaac Bennett’s game-winning touchdown run on the last play of the third quarter.“We had it in our hands and we let it slip away,” Bromley said.As Hunt’s pass to Chris Clark fell incomplete in the final minute, Hunt lay near the 45-yard line, writhing in pain after a hit from K’Waun Williams. The “boos” that rained down from the Carrier Dome on-and-off in the final minutes returned.Moments ago, it seemed a trick play would send the Orange bowling. Instead it sends SU stumbling into a must-win finale against Boston College.“We have to foster that frustration and turn it into motivation,” Shafer said, “and go find a way to get this victory against Boston College back here in the Dome.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on November 23, 2013 at 4:11 pm Contact Stephen: [email protected] | @Stephen_Bailey1last_img

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