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Sunday, Nov 13, 2016 at 12:30 am

SU Falls Short To NC State Without Dungey’s Help

By Taryn Varricchio

SYRACUSE, N.Y– After almost a month away from the hill, SU football returned to the dome to host NC State. This time – they’d have to do it without one of the best passing quarterbacks in the conference. Syracuse’s quarterback, Eric Dungey, remained off the field after coming off a hard hit against Clemson the weekend before.

The Orange would have to compensate for much more than missing its starting quarterback. After losing 54-0 to the Tigers in South Carolina, the team needed solid momentum on the field to increase its chances of making a bowl game.

Zack Mahoney looked strong to start as the fill-in quarterback for the Orange. In just his first possession, Mahoney set SU up for a touchdown. Dontae Strickland rushed 10 yards up the middle to score six points, and a kick between the posts solidified SU’s first quarter lead, 7-0.

The Wolfpack answered not long after with seven points of its own. Less than a minute into the second quarter, both teams were tied, 7-7.

Dino Baber’s squad grabbed back the lead just a few minutes later with a 48 yard field goal by Cole Murphy. But the Wolfpack would end up taking another 14 points.

A lead looked possible for SU in the 3rd quarter. There were 34,842 seats filled at the Dome, much colored in Orange. The sound was one indicating factor. The crowd roared when Mahoney’s first touchdown pass of the season went 81 yards to Amba Etta-Tawo. Etta-Tawo ran it clearly into the end zone, and SU shrunk its deficit to only 4 points, trailing the Wolfpack 21-17.

In the end, another field goal wouldn’t be enough for the Orange. NC State pulled away with two more touchdowns by Matthew Dayes in the fourth quarter. That would put the final score at 35-20, favoring NC State.

“Offensively, defensively – that was a football game,” head Coach Dino Babers said. “We were playing well into the fourth quarter with a chance to win.”

Ultimately, SU fell short on its ground game and third down conversions. With just 8:17 left in the fourth quarter, NC State led in rushing yards 168 to 16. And offensively, the Orange totaled only 213 offensive yards.

“We were playing a really great defense on first and second down,” linebacker Zaire Franklin said. “It’s really disappointing when you’re playing really good defense on first and second down, and you just can’t get off the field on third down.”

With only two games left on the season, Syracuse football needs two more wins to increase its bowl eligibility. That means first beating #20 Florida State University next Saturday.

“There’s a lot of fight in this team,” Babers said. “The junior, sophomore, freshman class are fighting ferociously to get this senior class to a bowl game.”

The Orange, now 4-6 for the season, will face FSU in the dome for Senior Day on November 19.