Fast reaction: 3 takeaways from Syracuse’s 35-20 loss to N.C. State

first_imgSyracuse dropped its sixth game of the season to North Carolina State, 35-20. The Orange (4-6, 2-4 Atlantic Coast) likely needs to win its final two games — tilts with Florida State and Pittsburgh — to become bowl eligible.Here are three reactions from Syracuse’s loss to N.C. State.Pulled overZack Mahoney started in place of Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey, who was ruled out before the game. Mahoney, whose nickname is “The officer,” completed 13-of-24 passes for 190 yards, including an 81-yard touchdown to Amba Etta-Tawo. Overall, he struggled to get the Orange offense going.SU ran 52 plays for 218 total yards against the Wolfpack, both well under Syracuse’s season averages of 82.2 plays and 463.4 yards per game. The program kept who would start at quarterback under wraps until an hour before game time when Dungey was finally ruled out. He warmed up on the field in a baseball cap, shorts and long sleeve shirt, throwing the ball with teammates. Redshirt junior Austin Wilson also dressed and had replaced Dungey last week after the latter left the Orange’s game with Clemson.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textFor the second straight week, SU struggled offensively. Against the Tigers, SU was shut out, the first time a Dino Babers-led team had been shut out in his career.Third DownPrior to the third quarter, Syracuse had stopped North Carolina State 7-of-11 times on third down. For the rest of the game, the Wolfpack converted 5-of-6. Coming into the game, N.C. State ranked 51st in the country in third-down conversion rate at 41.1 percent. The Wolfpack converted 9-of-17 in total and burned Syracuse on four consecutive third downs in one drive.A Cole Murphy field goal had pushed Syracuse within one point, but N.C. State racked up 14 plays on its next drive. It milked 7:34 off the clock and ended with a 20-yard Matthew Dayes touchdown. None of the third downs the Wolfpack converted on the drive were shorter than four yards and the longest stretched 12 yards. The Orange never brought the score closer than 28-20 after that drive. The Wolfpack later lengthened its lead to 35-20 with a six-play, three-plus minute possession. N.C. State converted a long third down on that drive as well.Bye, Felicia/Bye, GeorgeAfter North Carolina State beat Syracuse last season, former SU offensive coordinator George McDonald tweeted “Bye, Felicia.” McDonald was demoted as SU’s offensive coordinator in former head coach Scott Shafer’s second season after Louisville trounced the Orange, 28-6. On a play from the 1-yard line, McDonald had quarterback Terrel Hunt pitch the ball to Adonis Ameen-Moore and the Cardinals stopped Syracuse for a safety.On Saturday, both teams tried multiple gadget plays. North Carolina State tried a double-throw play, but Syracuse sniffed it out. N.C. State sniffed out an attempted halfback pass. At times, it looked like SU was trying to out-George McDonald with its play calling. Syracuse’s offense struggled in tallying just 218 yards, most of which came on two big passing plays, including Etta-Tawo’s 81-yard touchdown pass.SU’s best, most-complete drive was its first. The Orange drove 61 yards in 7 minutes, 5 seconds, taking a 7-0 lead. Syracuse sustained just one more drive of seven or more plays the rest of the game.McDonald triumphed for the second time in two meetings with his former team. Comments Published on November 12, 2016 at 4:39 pm Contact Chris: cjlibona@syr.edu | @ChrisLibonati Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more