Saturday, October 31, 2015

Nightmare in Tallahassee: Florida State Dismantles Syracuse 45-21

Story by Mike Carter
Syracuse safety Antwan Cordy #8, surveys the field
during the Orange's 45-21 loss against FSU on Saturday

Photo from SeminoleTV

Tallahassee FL. - Tell me if you've heard this one before. It all began on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in Florida...

Heading into Saturday, the matchup between the Syracuse Orange (3-5, 1-3 ACC) and the No. 17 Florida State Seminoles (7-1, 5-1 ACC) seemed like yet another lopsided college football blowout in the making. It did end up that way, with FSU beating SU, 45-21. 


"I would like to make sure there are no excuses from our end, owning it, " Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer said. "(We) got beat by a better football team and they out-physicaled us."

And yet there were reasons for Syracuse optimism going in.

Golson sits

Early hope for fans of the Orange came just after 10 A.M. on Saturday, when FSU announced on Twitter that starting quarterback Everett Golson would not be available to play due to lingering effects from a concussion -- an injury Syracuse knows far too much about.

The Seminoles' star running back Dalvin Cook was already out with an injury.

Both teams came into the day after suffering last-second heartbreaking losses the week before. For Syracuse, it was a disappointing home defeat to No. 23 Pittsburgh, which saw the Panthers drive 87-yards and eat up the last nine-plus minutes of the 4th quarter to kick a game-winning field goal. 

The Seminoles came into Saturday having lost their first game of the season last week on a blocked 56-yard field goal attempt which Georgia Tech returned 78-yards for a game-winning touchdown.

It was Parents' Weekend at Florida State on Saturday but you wouldn't have known it by the looks of the crowd at Doak Campbell Stadium. The normal capacity stands of just over 82,000 looked to be half to three-quarters filled throughout the course of the game.

But the FSU fans who did make it out were treated to an offensive explosion from backup quarterback Sean Maguire, a redshirt junior, who threw for more first-half yards than any FSU player since Chris Weinke in 2000. 

Maguire finished the day completing 23-35 passes for 345 yards and three touchdowns.

Good Start for Syracuse

The Orange struck first on its second drive of the game. A screen pass from quarterback Eric Dungey to freshman halfback Dontae Strickland went 62 yards to put the ball on the Seminoles' 4-yard line. Dungey took it into the end zone himself two plays later and kicker Cole Murphy added the extra point to give Syracuse a 7-0 advantage early in the first quarter.

FSU answered on its following possession when Maguire connected for his first score of the day on a 75-yard bomb to wideout Travis Rudolph. Rudolph looked like a man among boys on the play, as he split two SU defenders on the catch, and then stiff-armed another near the goal line to score and tie the game at 7-7 midway through the first quarter.

Rudolph finished the game leading all receivers for both teams with 191 yards on five catches for three touchdowns.

I was very happy for him," FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher said. "Travis is a heck of a football player. Going to be a great player. We could hit him a couple more times maybe and had some more touchdowns. But Travis catching the ball, made big plays in big moments."

FSU is Still FSU

After Syracuse's following drive sputtered, FSU's new QB-WR tandem continued asserting their dominance on the Orange secondary when Maguire completed a 45-yard TD pass to Rudolph to finish off an 83-yard drive  putting FSU ahead 14-7. 

The Seminoles never looked back.

Early in the second quarter, an FSU offensive drive concluded when five-star freshman running back Jacques Patrick (in for Cook) fought his way into the end zone from the two-yard line. Kicker Roberto Aguayo made the extra point to give FSU a two-score lead at 21-7.

The normally sure-footed Aguayo then missed a 41-yard field goal on the 'Noles' next possession giving Syracuse good field position and a chance to get back into the game. 

Dungey and company failed to capitalize on the ensuing drive, but thanks to the Orange defense, got the chance for one last drive before the half.

It was Dungey's feet, not his arm that ushered in Syracuse's second score of the day. The QB rushed for 34-yards on SU's next drive and scored on a one-yard run to pull within one score of FSU, at 21-14, with 56 seconds left in the half.

Point of Contention

Just before Dungey's score, the Orange called for a timeout near the goal line allowing FSU not to have to use any of its remaining three timeouts in the half. 

“We had the timeout to use, Shafer said. "We wanted to make sure we were organized and got
the best play on the football field plus our guys looked gassed and I thought it would
give them another second to get a little energy before we punch it in."
They did.

But with just under a minute to play in the half, SU kicker Ryan Norton's squibbed the ensuing kickoff and the FSU offense came back on the field on its own 41-yard line.

"It was a bad kick," Shafer said. "Simple as that. He just mis-hit it. Just mis-hit it."

The Seminoles marched right down the field in seven plays and Patrick scored from the one-yard line to put the Seminoles up 28-14 at the half.

No Tricks Needed for FSU

Syracuse received the ball to start the second half but a Dungey fumble gave the ball back to FSU and Maguire hit Rudolph yet again on a 19-yard TD, completing a three play, 23-yard scoring drive and giving the Seminoles a commanding 35-14 lead with 7:03 to play in the third quarter.

Tim Lester's offense could not muster a point in the second half on Saturday. Dungey completed 11-24 passes for 120 yards in the loss. It was Dungey's lowest passer rating of the season by almost 45 points as well as his lowest completion percentage.

FSU added another touchdown in the fourth quarter when Patrick raced in from 28-yards out to cap off a five touchdown day for the Seminoles. 

Patrick ended the day with 24 carries for 167 yards and three scores.

A virtually inept Syracuse offense turned the ball over on downs on the following drive and FSU mounted a 55-yard drive to get into field goal range, where Aguayo hit a 35-yard field goal extending the 'Nole's lead to 45-14 with a little more than six minutes to play in the game.

Syracuse's only highlight of second half came on special teams with 1:20 left to play in regulation. SU's Brisly Estime returned FSU punter Cason Beatty's punt  59-yards for a score.  It was Estime's second punt return for a touchdown of the season and made the final score 45-21 FSU.

Up Next

Syracuse is on the road yet again next week as it travels to Louisville.

After a nice bounce back game for the Seminoles, they'll take on undefeated and No. 3 ranked Clemson in South Carolina next week.



Saturday, October 24, 2015

Pittsburgh vs Syracuse Photos

Syracuse, N.Y. - The Pittsburgh Panthers controlled the ball for more than nine minutes at the end of the game Saturday, then scored on a field goal as time ran out, to beat Syracuse 23-20. Here is the game in photos by Kerry Bretti. Click on any picture to start slide show.

Last Second Pitt Field Goal Downs Syracuse, 23-20

Story by Zach Francis
Photo by Kerry Bretti

Syracuse, N.Y. -
Coming off three consecutive losses, two of which were on the road, the Syracuse University football team was looking to return to the confines of the Carrier Dome, where the team had won three of four this season. However, despite trailing twice by a touchdown, No. 25 Pittsburgh ruined the Orange homecoming, defeating Syracuse 23-20 Saturday afternoon on a last-second field goal.

"We're in the games, and they are exciting games," Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer said. "But we'd like to finish them with exciting wins, not exciting losses."

After Syracuse's Cole Murphy kicked a 37-yard field goal to tie the game at 20, Pittsburgh got the ball back at its own five-yard line with 9:20 left in the game. The offense never left the field, covering 87 yards on the game-winning drive before Chris Blewitt hit the winner from 25 yards out as time expired.

The key play was one from SU's book of tricks - a fake punt near midfield. Facing 4th down and seven from the Pitt 48-yard line, Panthers punter Ryan Winslow lined up as if to kick the ball away, but instead rolled right, pulled up and found Matt Galambos for a 12-yard gain and the first down.

"It was a smart play by them," Shafer said. "We went high-low trying to get a return. But I'm disappointed, not discouraged."

Quarterback Nathan Peterman took it from there, directing the Pittsburgh offense the remaining 40 yards, mostly running the ball to continue to eat clock. This allowed Blewitt to take the last shot at scoring from close range.

Running back Qadree Ollison was a workhorse on the drive, rushing seven times for 25 of his game high 103 yards. Ollison also added two rushing touchdowns for the Panthers.

Goings Easy Early

The game looked like it would be an offensive shootout early, with both teams scoring on their opening drives.

After Pittsburgh's Blewitt kicked a 33-yard field goal to take the early 3-0 lead, Syracuse got the ball at its 25-yard line. On the first play from scrimmage, freshman running back Jordan Fredericks, named the starter just this week, took the ball up the middle and rumbled to the Pittsburgh 20-yard line for a 55-yard gain. On the next play, quarterback Eric Dungey found tight end Ervin Philips on the left side, who then made two defenders miss and raced into the end zone to give the Orange a 7-3 lead.

Both offenses began to stall as this was the score at the end of the second quarter. However, on the first drive of the second quarter, Syracuse drove 68 yards over eight minutes, before settling for a 23-yard field goal by Murphy to extend the lead to 10-3.

Pittsburgh answered with a six-minute drive of its own, going 70 yards capped by the first of Ollison's touchdowns to tie the game at 10.

But in the matter of just 1:11, the Orange threw the ball all over the field, targeting wide receiver Steve Ishmael three times for 52 yards including a 40-yard pass down the right side. To cap off his hard work on the drive, Dungey found Ishmael in the back of the end zone to give the Orange a 17-10 lead.

On the day, Ishmael finished with seven receptions for a career-high 114 yards.

"I think Stevie got some good looks today," Shafer said. "I was happy to see him get going the way he did. We were just trying to find him open to get him in the game.

"I've got a lot of confidence in him," Dungey said. "He's a baller, so he'll go up and get a ball. I've just got a lot of confidence in him."

The game-winner wasn't the only kick Blewitt made as time expired as he booted a 30-yard field goal that bounced off the left upright and through as time expired in the half to cut the lead to 17-13 heading into the locker rooms.

Interceptions Hurt

On one of the first plays of the second half, Dungey ran up the middle for a three yard gain, but was hit hard and laid motionless on the ground for a few seconds before popping up, seemingly fine. Shafer pulled Dungey, who has had a concussion this season, and replaced him with Zach Mahoney. Dungey was sent to the locker room where he had tests, and a few minutes later, he ran back onto the field.

However, the problems were only beginning for Dungey, who threw the first of his two interceptions on the first drive after returning to the game. Even though Pitt punted on that drive, Dungey's day didn't get any better. On the first play of the next drive, he threw an errant pass up the middle that was picked off.

That time, the Panthers took advantage, scoring on a one-yard run from Ollison.

"Those are the ones that are going to make it hard to fall asleep tonight," Dungey said.

The freshman quarterback finished 21-for-30 for 210 yards, two touchdowns, and the two interceptions.

The Orange couldn't stop the Panthers on third down, allowing them to convert nine of 17, including five on the final drive.

"We need to finish those drives on defense and giving the offense the ball back," Shafer said. "Its a tough thing to deal with. The only way you get good at them is to continue to work them.

"We've just got to be able to find that play when we need it the most," linebacker Zaire Franklin said. "We've just got to keep pushing. We've just got to get that one play that decides between winning and losing."

On the Road

Next week, the Orange will hit the road for a tough test against No. 9 Florida State. Syracuse will look to take its first road victory of the year, while the Seminoles will put their perfect record on the line.

Scott Shafer's Post-Game Press Conference

Zaire Franklin, Steve Ishmael, Eric Dungey Post-Game Press Conference

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Seniors Lead Orange Past Tigers to Best Field Hockey Start in History

Story and Photos by Zach Francis

Syracuse, N.Y. - The 2008 Syracuse field hockey team was the best in program history, but not any more. This year's team moved past that squad with a 4-2 come from behind victory over No. 19 Princeton Sunday afternoon at J.S. Coyne Stadium. With the victory, the No. 1 ranked Orange improved to 15-0 on the season.

"We had moments today where we played really good," head coach Ange Bradley said. "Princeton came out of the gates strong. I think they wanted something a little bit more than we did. But to start the second half we knew we had to do something to get back in the game."

On Senior day, it was a freshman who scored the biggest goal of the afternoon, when Roos Weers sent one into the left corner off a corner penalty to put the Orange ahead 2-1. Off the hit in, Weers got the ball and made a pass to senior Alma Fenne who then passed to sophomore Lies Lagerweij. She took the defenders to the middle of the field and fired a shot back to Weers who put the ball in the goal between the goalie's legs.

"It's always great when you score, but its even better when you're able to put the team ahead," Weers said. "It was a team goal though. We did a good job by executing it.

Weers had gone down earlier in the game with a knee injury with the Orange down 1-0. After lying on the field for a couple of minutes, Weers left under her own power and re-entered the game about five minutes later.

Almost instantly, she provided a spark, assisting on the first Syracuse goal of the afternoon, a shot by senior Emma Russell.

Tigers Control Early

Just one game after scoring five goals in the first half against Wake Forest, the Orange offense came out flat, assisted by a strong Princeton defense that set the tone early. Much of the first half of the game was played in the midfield or in the Princeton zone.

The Tigers outshot the Orange 7-3 in the first half in taking a 1-0 lead into the break. Freshman Jane Donio-Enscoe put a goal past Syracuse senior goalkeeper Jess Jecko with three minutes left in the first half to give the Tigers the advantage.

The 1-0 deficit at halftime was just the third time this season Syracuse trailed at the break.

"We lost the first half," Weers said. "We knew we had to work harder to bring this win home. Princeton was just better than we were in the first half."

Senior Day

Four players, seniors Jecko, Russell, and Alyssa Manley along with graduate student Alma Fenne were honored in a pregame ceremony for their time in an Orange uniform before their final home game.

"What really sticks out to me about this group are the intangible pieces, you can't say enough about this class," Bradley said. "They've done so much for this program, I'm going to miss them all."

Manley, who scored a goal on a stroke to put the final margin at 4-2 said Weers wanted her to have her moment.

"It's usually me or Roos (Weers) who take the strokes, and she came up to me and told me I had to take it." Manley said. "She said to me 'You're going to take it and make it.' It was a nice touch to get to score on my senior day."

On the Road

Syracuse will play on the road the rest of the season, closing out the regular season Oct. 24 at No. 5 Duke. Then, the team will play in the ACC tournament in Charlottesville, Virginia, where it is the number one seed.

Cavaliers Charge Past Orange in 3OT Thriller

Story, photos and video by James Anderson

Charlottesville, VA. - It took three overtimes but in the end, it was the Virginia Cavaliers (2-4, 1-1 ACC) who were victorious, 44-38 over the Syracuse Orange (3-3, 1-1 ACC) at Scott Stadium in Charlottesville, Virginia, Saturday.
Jordan Ellis rumbled in for a 3-yard touchdown run to seal the victory for the Cavs. It was nearly academic, as Virginia only needed a field goal to clinch the victory, after a missed 48-yard field goal try from Cole Murphy to start the third overtime period.
"You know, the biggest thing for me is, are we playing a hard effort, a high effort, hard, tough style of football and we did that today and obviously, we'll look at the film," Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer said to reporters following the long overtime game. "You know, I was disappointed last week, I didn't feel like we had the fire in our eyes down in South Florida last week, you know I thought that we struggled down there and it was hot and all those other things, but I was disappointed."

"I'm looking forward to seeing the tape, Shafer said. "I think our kids played hard. I think our kids played hard, physical football, and you know, try to fix the things that they struggled at." 

Orange scores first

While the Syracuse defense stopped Virginia cold in the first quarter, the Orange offense struggled to cash in on long drives, including Dungey being thrown for a loss on fourth and goal from the Virginia one-yard line. The first quarter ended scoreless.

Finally the defense took matters into its own hands as Donnie Simmons stripped the ball from the Cavaliers' Taquan Mizell and Antwan Cordy picked it up and ran it 44 yards for a touchdown, giving Syracuse a 7-0 lead with 10:20 left in the half.

Frenetic Second Quarter Finish

It was crazy end to the 2nd quarter that put some offensive fireworks on the board.

28 points were put up in the last 5:07 of the first half, and when the dust settled, it was Syracuse  standing on top 21-14 at halftime.

Virginia started by scoring its first points of the contest, responding to the fumble returned by the Orange for a touchdown by driving down the field in a 11-play, 75-yard drive, capped by a 11-yard touchdown run by Mizzell.

On the next Syracuse possession, a bizarre play unfolded with Dungey appearing to make a forward throwing motion and having the ball knocked away at the same time by Virginia’s Mike Moore. The ball fell to the ground several yards away, and was scooped up by Cavalier Wilfred Wahee for a touchdown. A review confirmed the ruling on the field, giving Virginia the lead, 14-7.

Getting the ball back, the Orange rattled off a long drive of its own, going 11 plays for 76 yards and a Jordan Fredericks 1-yard punch in for the score to tie it back up.

With a minute left in the half, Virginia attempted to capitalize on the time remaining and take back the lead, but the plans went awry on a deflected pass at the line. Qaadir Sheppard pulled it down for the Orange at the Cavalier 26, and set up a highlight touchdown run on the next play by Dungey.

Dungey took off up the middle of the field, hurdled a defender near the goal line, took a hard shot upon landing and bounced off into the end zone for the impressive touchdown to give Syracuse back the lead at the half, 21-14.

4th Quarter - Orange defense falters

The Orange scored the only points of the third quarter. After an SU drive stalled, a 22-yard Cole Murphy field goal gave them a 24-14 lead going into the fourth, but Virginia was in the midst of another long drive.

The Cavaliers finished off  that 15-play, 75-yard drive ending with Nick Johns' 2-yard touchdown pass to Charlie Hopkins to cut the deficit to three, 24-21 with 10:31 to go.

Syracuse stalled again on its next drive, but a punt by Riley Dixon put the Cavs on their four, with 6:52 left. Plenty of time, but a long way to go.

They made the most of the time, taking 19 plays to move 88 yards, finally closing with a 25-yard field goal as time expired to bring it even at 24 and sending it to overtime.

"Screens, screens, screens and more screens." summarized Syracuse senior cornerback Julian Whigham on Virginia's last drive to tie the game to send it to overtime. "Game plan I guess, they did a great job running them, you know they run screens like that, everybody knows we put so much, that's what they do, they screen us, and you know on the perimeter, we just gotta do a good job containing guys on the inside coming in attacking, you know, they just screened us."
The teams traded touchdowns in the first two overtimes. A seven-yard touchdown pass from Eric Dungey to Ervin Phillips gave the Orange back the lead to start the first OT, 31-24. A personal foul for targeting on linebacker Zach Bradshaw put the Cavs at the 40-yard line instead of the normal 25 to start their drive.

It didn't make a difference, as three plays later, a 34 yard pass from Johns to Andrew Brown extended the overtime, knotting it at 31.

Virginia came back on offense and kept up the pressure, on another three-play drive that ended with a 13-yard TD run by Mizzell to move the Cavaliers in front 38-31, their first lead since just before the crazy end to the second quarter.

Another bad penalty, this time an unsportsmanlike conduct during the extra point try, shortened the field for the Orange, allowing SU to start at the 12-yard line for its second offensive overtime drive, and the Orange pounced. This time, Dungey hooked up with Steve Ishmael on the first play for the score to even it at 38.

Something had to give, and for Syracuse the offensive momentum came to a halt on next possession drive. A bad run for a four-yard loss by Dungey was dropped for a four-yard loss on a second down run, and then a sacked on third down. That pushed the Orange to the fringe of field goal range, and ultimately setting up Murphy's missed 48-yard field goal.

Notes and Extra Points

Syracuse’s defense started strong, as Virginia did not get a first down until the first play of its first 2nd quarter drive, leading to a rousing cheer from the Scott Stadium faithful. There would be many more first downs for the Cavs from that point, as Virginia had 25 in total, besting Syracuse’s 20…Eric Dungey was 16 of 22 passing for 150 yards 2 TDs. He ran 18 times for 85 yards and the hurdling touchdown in the 2nd…Taquan Mizzell led the FBS in receiving yards by a running back heading into the game, and he held to form, racking up more receiving yards (69) than rushing yards (58) …The  Orange returns to the Carrier Dome for Homecoming next weekend hosting Pittsburgh (5-1, 3-0). The Panthers beat Georgia Tech 31-28 Saturday. The Cavaliers will travel to Chapel Hill, North Carolina to take on the Tar Heels (5-1, 2-0) next week.

PHOTOS - Click on any picture to start slide show.


Saturday, October 17, 2015

Fenne Hat Trick Pushes #1 Orange Past Deacons

Story and Photos by Zach Francis 

Syracuse, N.Y. - Last season, the Syracuse field hockey team missed an opportunity for a championship because of Wake Forest, falling in the ACC tournament final.

The Orange returned the favor Saturday afternoon at J.S. Coyne Stadium, running past the Demon Deacons 6-0. With the victory, the top ranked team in the country moved to 14-0 on the season and clinched the ACC regular season championship outright. The win tied the program's longest winning streak. The 2008 team also started 14-0.

Wake Forest (10-4, 3-2) managed only three shots on goal the entire game, none in the second half. The Demon Deacons struggled to get any kind of offensive flow and did not look like the sixth- ranked team in the country.

Graduate student Alma Fenne helped the Orange score five goals in the first half, recording a hat trick and an assist.

"It was ridiculous, scoring five goals in the first half," Fenne said. "It all came together really well for us. But the first thing we said in the locker room is don't put it on cruise control. We have to play tough in the second half."

Fenne-Lamison Connection

Fenne took control of the game early, scoring just four minutes into the game and then twice more within 40 seconds of each other in the final two minutes of the half.

"I had a really good connection today with Emma (Lamison), which allowed me to play better," Fenne said. "She kept setting me up and I kept scoring goals. It was a lot of fun today."

Lamison scored a goal of her own in the first half and assisted on two of Fenne's goals.

"We were able to manipulate the defense today," Lamison said. "And I think a big part of that is how much the two of us like to play alongside each other. When I didn't have a shot, she would be right there for me to dump it off to. It's great to play with her."

Sophomores Erin Gillingham and Roos Wears each added a goal to round out the scoring.

Head coach Ange Bradley was proud of the team, especially Fenne and Lamison for being able to take out a team the Orange have had trouble with in the past.

"We know how tough they can be and the problems we've had with them," Bradley said. "Those two worked hard this week to be able to get in position to succeed and they sure did."

Pure Dominance

With the victory over Wake Forest, the Orange moved to 7-0 against ranked teams on the season. Syracuse has defeated the likes of then No. 2 North Carolina, then No. 4 Virginia, then No. 6 Stanford, and now No. 6 Wake Forest.

"When the competition is better, we have to play better," Lamison said. "I like the tougher competition because it forces us to play to the level we know we can be.

"We're a good team and this team has a mission," Bradley said. "They want to win an ACC Championship and they want to be in a position to play for a national championship again. We know we have a heck of a long ways to go, but we're ready for it."

The Rest of the Road

Syracuse closes out it's home slate Sunday against No. 19 Princeton. After that, the Orange will hit the road traveling to No. 5 Duke to close out the regular season before the ACC tournament begins November 5 at the University of Virginia.