Syracuse penalties, timely mishaps spur Cardinals upset

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Standing in the hallway adjacent to the Syracuse locker room, Justin Pugh summed up his team’s emotion in three short sentences. SU had missed an opportunity to become bowl-eligible for the time since 2004. ‘It’s definitely frustrating,’ left tackle Just Pugh said. ‘We know that dropped balls and penalties happen. We just have to stay positive.’ Returning home after two marquee Big East road wins, Syracuse returned to the inconsistency that plagued the team in a Homecoming blowout loss to Pittsburgh three weeks ago. The Orange racked up eight penalties and, perhaps more importantly, allowed Louisville to generate points off them. That ultimately proved to be the deciding factor Saturday, as Syracuse fell to Louisville, 28-20. In a game that was decided by one possession, a series of miscues and penalties kept Syracuse from advancing to seven wins and becoming bowl eligible. Though the Cardinals committed more penalties and had several missed opportunities of their own, SU’s came during the most inopportune times. Starting with the opening kickoff, Syracuse put itself into a hole that was difficult to crawl out of. SU return specialist Dorian Graham took the kick and returned it to the SU 41-yard line. But a clipping penalty brought the return all the way back to the ten yard line, 10 yards from the spot of the foul.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text Instead of starting the game near midfield, quarterback Ryan Nassib and the offense was staring down 90 yards of turf before the end zone. The drive ultimately led to a Rob Long punt. ‘We made mistakes out there, right off the bat we had a turnover, which they turned into seven points,’ Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone said. ‘Then we had a couple penalties and some coverage issues which allowed them to score. With 7:30 remaining in the first quarter, a Nassib fumble set the Cardinals up on SU’s 41-yard line. Three plays later, UL was celebrating in the end zone. Although the Orange eventually went into halftime with a 17-14 lead, the second half proved to be even more problematic. When Louisville took a 21-17 lead with 10:34 remaining in the third quarter, it never looked back. A series of miscues played a significant role in keeping the Orange from regaining the lead. As Syracuse marched down the field immediately following UL’s touchdowns in the third, two open shots to the end zone were dropped by receiver Alec Lemon and SU settled for a 42-yard Ross Krautman field goal. ‘Drops happen in a game,’ Lemon said. ‘All you have to do is bounce back. Plays can happen like that.’ With the Orange trailing by eight early in the fourth quarter, a 23 yard run by running back Delone Carter was negated due to an illegal formation penalty. What would have given Syracuse a first down near midfield instead put the offense in a third-and-10 situation. A play later, SU punted for the first of three times in the fourth quarter and failed to seriously threaten the Louisville defense down the stretch. With three more games remaining to capture that seventh win required for the Orange to become bowl-eligible, senior linebacker Derrell Smith said it’s not time to panic. Instead, the Orange need to take the loss for what it is and simply move on. ‘We made some mistakes and they capitalized on them,’ Smith said. [email protected] Commentscenter_img Published on November 5, 2010 at 12:00 pmlast_img read more