What we learned from Syracuse football’s loss to N.C. State

first_imgSyracuse (4-6, 2-4 Atlantic Coast) struggled in its 35-20 loss to North Carolina State (5-5, 2-4), and made the last two games of its regular season must-wins to guarantee itself a bowl appearance. SU has its home finale against Florida State and its season finale at Pittsburgh still left.Check out what we learned from the loss to N.C. State.Alvin Cornelius can step up in Steve Ishmael’s placeAlvin Cornelius’ teammates refer to him as “Ace” and on Saturday, he filled the spot Steve Ishamel had vacated admirably. Although Ishmael wasn’t included on this week’s injury report, the wide receiver sat out Saturday’s game.“He was still a little banged up from the Clemson game. He practiced during the week and through it early in the week and as the week went, he just didn’t recover,” Syracuse head coach Dino Babers said. “He practiced on Tuesday, but then Wednesday didn’t recover well, Thursday didn’t recover well, and he just didn’t feel good about it so we went with Ace.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textCornelius tied Ervin Philips and Amba Etta-Tawo for the most passes caught by an SU receiver in the game with four and the senior tallied 61 yards. His best play was a 46-yard reception. Cornelius beat the cornerback deep and starting quarterback Zack Mahoney arced the ball into the wide receiver’s hands.“I think him on one of their DBs,” Mahoney said. “We liked that matchup.”Jessica Sheldon | Photo EditorChop block costs Syracuse at chance to tie gameSyracuse was driving with under 10 minutes to play and Mahoney nearly had another deep throw to Cornelius. Mahoney placed the ball in the back of the end zone and Cornelius came down with the 34-yard toss. But the referees had thrown flags in the backfield. After a short discussion, they called a chop block on backup center Donnie Foster, who had replaced Colin Byrne after the starting center left the game with an injury, and Dontae Strickland. An N.C. State pass rusher had beaten Foster and Strickland dove low as Foster pushed the defensive lineman.Pending a two-point conversion, the nullified touchdown could have tied Syracuse and North Carolina State. Instead, Mahoney was sacked on the next play, setting up a second-and-38. Somehow, the down marker was changed to a down later than it should have been. After an incompletion on second down, SU punted because the down marker read fourth and 38.MORE COVERAGE:Syracuse down to its last strike after loss against N.C. StateEric Dungey ‘probably doubtful’ against Florida StateGallery: The best photos from SU-NCSU “They did not (give an explanation). I’m not clear on all the stuff that went through right there. I was politely asked to leave the field so I obliged,” Babers clarified later.Strickland said he was just doing his job and what he was “taught to do” in picking up the extra defensive lineman when he came through.“There were a lot of critical calls that didn’t go our way, that’s part of the game. We won’t cry over spilled milk,” Babers said.“Those big fines, I can’t afford them. Those other guys can afford them. They called a chop block. The center got beat very quickly, the third-team center got beat very quickly and anytime that happens, the back’s got to compensate,” Babers added. “The back did a fantastic job of compensating and the official said that the center that got beat very badly put his hands back on the guy who was being blocked by our running back.” Published on November 13, 2016 at 2:00 pm Contact Chris: [email protected] | @ChrisLibonati Special teams’ effort wasted by offenseAfter struggling in the middle of the season, Syracuse punter Sterling Hofrichter has been stellar for SU down the stretch of the season. The Orange needed Hofricter six times on Saturday. The punter racked up 284 total yards and an average of 47.3 yards per punt. His longest flew 65 yards and he put two inside the 20-yard line.In addition to Hofricther’s punts, kick returner and wide receiver Sean Riley blocked a North Carolina State punt inside its own 20-yard line. Before SU had recovered, Riley started celebrating, jumped up and looked back toward the sideline. He and Shyheim Cullen brought extra pressure. SU began the ensuing possession on NCSU’s 17-yard line but came away with only a field goal.Although SU’s special teams proved to be solid on Saturday, Syracuse wasted the field position wins it did accrue. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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