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Saturday, Oct 21, 2017 at 10:31 pm

Football Falls Late to Miami

By Nick Dugan

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – It’s not often that a team throws four interceptions in a half and still has a chance to win. That was exactly the situation that Syracuse (4-4, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) found itself in against Miami (6-0, 4-0 ACC) on Saturday evening.

A drive that started with 7:15 left in the fourth quarter had the chance to give the Orange its first lead in Hard Rock Stadium. It stalled. Cole Murphy nailed a long field goal to bring SU to within one. But, that is as close as they would get, losing by a final score of 27-19.

The four picks thrown by Eric Dungey matched his total for this season coming into the matchup with the Hurricanes.

“Yeah, those are my fault,” he said. “Miscommunication, but I’ve got to communicate. So, that’s on me.”

Head coach Dino Babers, however, relieved some of the pressure on his quarterback.

“It really wasn’t Dungey,” he remarked. “I mean, it looks like its four interceptions on the quarterback, but there were a lot of other things that were going on … He was making throws where we should have been able to make plays and we weren’t.”

The Lake Oswego native completed just 13 of his 41 passes for 137 yards. He did, however, put up another 100 yards on the ground.

The majority of the scoring came from an unlikely source in Cole Murphy. The kicker made all four of his field goals, including a 53-yarder in the fourth quarter. After the game, Babers commended him on a job well done in front of the Syracuse media.

“Cole Murphy,” he shouted.

“Yes sir,” Murphy answered.

“I ain’t ever seen nothing like that before. You were outstanding out there today.”

Despite the solid performance of his kicker, Babers felt that too many of the offense’s trips down the field ended in three points.

“You can’t turn the ball over versus a team like this and then go down in the red zone and kick field goals instead of scoring touchdowns,” he said. “That’s the biggest difference in the game.”

Part of the offensive struggles stemmed from Steve Ishmael’s second quarter injury. After hauling in a ball out of bounds in the end zone, he landed awkwardly and remained down on the field for a few moments.

“It was my hip,” he said after the game. “I landed on my hip really hard. It just was hurting really badly. I came into the locker room, stretched it out, then went back out there.”

He returned to the game just minutes later. It was a display of toughness that even Babers highlighted.

“For him to be able to come back and play with an injury like that is admirable,” he said. “I’m really proud of him. But, he’s not the only guy on our football team … It can’t always be the Ishmael show. There’s a lot of room for some other guys to make plays out there and we need some other guys to step up.”

The Miami native also had his parents in attendance for the first time as a member of the Orange. A moment he enjoyed, but could have made better.

It was good. It was really great,” he said. “Obviously I wish we could get the win. It didn’t work out that way, so just moving on.”

SU heads into its bye week looking to get some key players back to full strength. As for after the break, Babers promised his team would be prepared to finish the year stronger than last.

“We’re got the toughest schedule in the country and we’re 4-4,” he started. “And guess what, we’ve got two more on the road and two more at home, in the Loud House. And I guarantee you we’re going to be ready to play those four games.”

The Orange will resume play next on Saturday, November 4th to take on Florida State down in Tallahassee, Florida.