Syracuse loses 2nd-half lead in 44-38 triple-overtime loss to Virginia

first_img Published on October 17, 2015 at 10:31 pm Contact Matt: | @matt_schneidman CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Zaire Franklin lay flat on his back in the end zone. Oliver Vigille’s right hand extended to help him up and the Syracuse linebackers were quickly engulfed. Virginia’s bench emptied after Jordan Ellis ran in the game-winning touchdown in the third overtime and the ensuing fireworks left a thin cloud of smoke creeping over Scott Stadium’s southeast end zone.Cole Murphy, whose second missed field goal came on a 48-yarder in the third overtime, trailed almost all the Syracuse players jogging into the tunnel. He tapped hands with the first three Virginia players he passed before drifting into the celebration with his helmet in one hand.From Eric Dungey’s hurdling touchdown over Quin Blanding with 25 seconds left in the first half to Virginia’s timeout with two seconds left in the game, Syracuse led. A sluggish start erased by a 21-point second quarter. A defense revived after allowing 45 points against one-win South Florida. A freshman quarterback pioneering two overtime drives that finished with passing touchdowns.But ultimately, an embattled Syracuse defense, which succumbed to a 19-play, game-tying drive late in the fourth quarter, couldn’t salvage Murphy’s second miss in SU’s (3-3, 1-1 Atlantic Coast) third consecutive loss, a 44-38, triple-overtime defeat to Virginia (2-4, 1-1) on Saturday night.“Just disappointment,” Franklin said. “… And when he crossed the goal line it was set in stone.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAs Dungey escaped the pocket and elevated his right leg first, then his left, clearing an All-ACC safety in the process, it defied everything SU head coach Scott Shafer had told him.In high school, Dungey was penalized for jumping over players and when he was being recruited, Shafer instructed him not to hurdle defenders anymore. Earlier in the week, Shafer stressed that Dungey needed to learn how to throw the ball away instead of scramble.“They want me sliding and not taking any shots,” Dungey said. “It’s not really in my nature.”For almost a full half, it looked as if Syracuse’s medium chunk by medium chunk offensive approach, led by the freshman signal-caller, would puncture a defense that backed off on wide receivers. Dungey had 18 rush attempts and 16 completions in the game, all for 21 yards or less. Aside from a deep ball to Steve Ishmael that drew a defensive pass interference call, Syracuse never reaped the benefits of a shot downfield.And as Dungey’s fourth-quarter pass fell well in front of a twisting and turning Brisly Estime, it set up a 6:52, 88-yard drive for the Cavaliers that drained an Orange defense grasping to its last breath.“Throughout the drive, we put them in second down and long, third down and long opportunities,” Franklin said. “We had technique problems, stupid penalties, and we have to get off the field on third down, especially in that situation.”A Dungey 7-yard pass to Ervin Philips was matched with a 36-yard exploitation of SU cornerback Julian Whigham to send the game to a second overtime. Then a tip-toeing Steve Ishmael score matched a 13-yard Taquan Mizzell run.Punch-for-punch, Syracuse kept afloat a game it had almost let slip away. A freshman quarterback picking up for a defense that was crumbling once again. And a Syracuse team clinging to arguably its most winnable game remaining on a schedule it’ll likely have to squeak out wins on to sniff bowl eligibility.But as Murphy’s 48-yard attempt fluttered wide right, an elated Virginia team then marched from the 25-yard line to the doorstep of the end zone it would soon flood.Shafer insists there’s no “uh-oh” feelings about a three-game losing streak since life is too short to have them. Franklin doesn’t feel like Syracuse is a 3-3 team. Whigham says the emotional toll of a triple-overtime loss only lasts a couple hours before turning the page.But now, a murky, grey cloud hangs over Syracuse’s season, too.“Just would like to come up with a victory next time,” Shafer said with edge. “So we’ll get on that airplane, get home and get to work on Pitt.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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