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Saturday, Sep 17, 2016 at 11:42 pm

Syracuse Homecoming Spoiled by South Florida

By Nick Petraccione SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Syracuse (1-2) lost to the University of South Florida on Saturday afternoon 45-20 at their homecoming game in the Carrier Dome.

Momentum was on Syracuse’s side as the Orange came out strong in the first quarter holding a commanding 17-0 lead. Eric Dungey had two touchdowns in the opening quarter alone, highlighted by a Bristly Estime 47-yard score. But just as quickly as Syracuse gained momentum, they lost it.

The Bulls rallied back, scoring 28 unanswered points in the second quarter. They kept up the pace for the rest of the game, holding Syracuse to a lone field goal.

Orange head coach Dino Babers said this was a game they could’ve won.

“I thought we started well and once second quarter and second half came, we weren’t quite able to finish,” Babers said. “Right now, I have a lot of disappointment on my face.”

Babers and the SU offense began to struggle as the game went on. Their lack of successful drives can be contributed to their fourth down conversions. The Orange went 2-5 on fourth downs, but they needed to take the risk.

“We needed those fourth downs to win the game,” Babers said. “I thought we needed those possessions. I thought we needed those points on the scoreboard.”

The failed fourth downs were a key aspect of the larger picture. Dungey said the team became complacent after they stormed out to a three possession lead.

The defense struggled after holding the Bulls to under 100 yards midway through the second quarter. South Florida running back Marlon Mack ran for 115 yards and two touchdowns, while receiver Rodney Adams scored three total touchdowns of his own.

Syracuse has been plagued with injuries so far this season, and today the Orange added a few more names to the list. Starting center Jason Emerich got hurt and was sidelined, forcing Colin Byrne to make his first collegiate start. Starting right guard Omari Palmer also went down with a lower body injury. He was taken to the locker room and did not return to the game.

Babers said that injuries are just a part of the game of football, and the Orange need to work around them.

“We’ve gotta find a way to win with the people that we have, with the depth that we have, with the injuries that we have,” he said. “No excuses.”

No word has been released about Emerich and Palmers injuries, or when they are slotted to return.

With the loss on Saturday, Syracuse is now 0-5 at home to USF. They will look to rebound next week when they travel to UCONN to play the Huskies on Saturday, September 24th at 1pm.