With shrinking margin of error against USF, Syracuse football makes too many mistakes in 45-20 loss

first_img Published on September 17, 2016 at 7:08 pm Contact Chris: [email protected] | @ChrisLibonati Eric Dungey rolled right, targeted Steve Ishmael and threw another low pass. Dungey had completed 65 percent of his passes in the first two games, but on the throw to Ishmael, Deatrick Nichols dove in front of the intended wide receiver and snatched the ball.As Ishmael and Nichols rolled around on the ground, Dungey sprinted over. As the referees decided Nichols had in fact intercepted, Dungey, the quarterback, lingered. Not long after, Dungey left for the Syracuse sideline and fans left the Carrier Dome with 12 and a half minutes left in the contest.The play punctuated a 17-point meltdown of mistakes and brought early finality to a game that started with promise.“It started right after we scored 17, after that field goal,” Dungey said of losing the lead. “We go out there, our expectation is to score every time.”Syracuse (1-2, 0-1 Atlantic Coast) lost its second straight game of the season on Saturday to South Florida, 45-20. After starting the game on a 17-0 run in the first quarter, the Orange was outscored by USF, 45-3. SU started the game without four starters — center Jason Emerich, safeties Antwan Cordy and Kielan Whitner and cornerback Juwan Dowels — and ended the game with injuries to three more — defensive tackle Kayton Samuels, safety Daivon Ellison and guard Omari Palmer.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textMORE COVERAGE:Gallery: The best sights from Syracuse’s 25-point loss to USFWatch Dino Babers’ South Florida postgame press conferenceSyracuse community reacts on social media to SU’s 45-20 loss With a shrinking roster, Syracuse’s margin to make mistakes has shrunk, too. Dungey, who had thrown just one interception and looked sharp on short and intermediate routes in the first two games, looked worse against South Florida. The Orange’s special teams struggled again, racking up a delay of game penalty, several punts that were nearly blocked and a punt return touchdown allowed.“It’s all part of the game, the turnovers, the injuries, the depth. It’s all part of the game,” Syracuse head coach Dino Babers said. “… You’ve gotta find a way to win with the people that we have, with the depth that we have, with the injuries that we have.”Syracuse’s margin of error is almost as slim as the window Dungey had to throw the Orange’s first touchdown into. He slotted the ball into the arms of Ervin Philips with a pass only Philips could catch. The inside receiver ran over the top of the USF defensive back, who didn’t turn his head in time. Dungey perfectly placed a ball low and away from Philips, and he came up with the catch.But Syracuse could only stay perfect for so long.Tony Curtis | Staff PhotographerOn a fourth down at the end of the first quarter, Ishmael had one-on-one coverage. He ran across the middle of the field. The only place to throw the ball was high. Dungey threw a touch pass, but it skidded off Ishmael’s fingertips and hit the turf.The drop led to a second South Florida touchdown in a little more than five minutes. And then another. And another. The four touchdowns allowed USF to make up a 17-point, first-quarter deficit in just 15 minutes.The Bulls finally buried the Orange with a 52-yard Marlon Mack touchdown run around the left side of the offensive line in the third quarter on a 4th-and-1.Mack was untouched.“There was miscommunication on defense. I take responsibility for that because it’s my job to make sure everyone is on the same page,” linebacker Zaire Franklin said. “When you are playing dynamic players, they are going to make you pay.” Making mistakes will make you pay, too. And they put SU in a hole it couldn’t climb out of. Although it allowed an 83-yard punt return touchdown, it was long past the Orange’s point of competitiveness.By game’s end, no section of the Carrier Dome was even a quarter full. Backup quarterback Zack Mahoney entered for Syracuse. A small USF contingent waved a flag and chanted.As Dino Babers walked out for his postgame press conference, he wore the last two weeks on his face. The injuries, the mistakes, the losses. At times, he looked down, searching for the words to put Saturday’s loss into perspective.“Good football team … talented players … but right now I’ve got a lot of disappointment on my face,” Babers said. “I really thought we could win that game.” Commentscenter_img Related Stories WATCH: Dino Babers’ press conference after 45-20 loss to South FloridaPoll: Grade Syracuse football’s performance in 45-20 loss to South FloridaStorify: Syracuse community reacts to 45-20 loss to USFGallery: Syracuse football blows 17-point lead in loss to South Florida Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

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