Syracuse Falls Short in Tallahassee Thriller

Published on November 5, 2017

Story By Jonathan Singh 

Photos By Tommy Farrell 


Tallahassee, Fla. –  In a game that came down to the final seconds of regulation, the Syracuse Orange (4-5, 2-3 ACC) fell short once again on the road. Cole Murphy’s 43-yard, game tying field goal attempt, with six seconds left, was wide left.

The Florida State Seminoles (3-5, 3-4 ACC) picked up a much needed win over the Orange. Dino Babers and company, continue winless on the road in a season where the ‘Cuse hasn’t been able to pick up a victory outside of the “Loud House.” 

Dungey Down, Seminoles Strike 

Eric Dungey was the story of the first quarter for the Orange. The junior lasted one drive as it was capped off by a Derwin James interception.

This was the start the struggling Seminoles were looking for. Dungey did not return for the rest of the quarter as he walked his way into the Syracuse locker room under his own power, limping on his right foot.

Senior Zach Mahoney would step in under center for the remainder of the quarter until Dungey returned from the locker room.

“I am not going to talk about the injury but he did a fantastic job on coming back and battling. Obviously he wasn’t 100 percent but he was out there giving us his arm and giving him his leadership, and giving us his decisions making skills. He did a fantastic job.” Babers said.

Across the field it would be Florida State’s James Blackman finding Nyqwan Murray for a 51-yard strike into the end zone, giving the Seminoles an early 7-0 lead following a Ricky Aguayo extra point.

The FSU defense would take advantage of Mahoney the next two possessions, harassing him in the pocket, keeping the Orange off the scoreboard for the remainder of the quarter.


Akers Adds a Couple, Orange Respond

Cam Akers tailed for two scores for the Seminoles in the second quarter. A 54-yard touchdown run with 13:38 remaining in the first half was the longest of the freshman’s career, until he broke off a 63-yard run later in the second quarter.

“I think good backs, you’ve got to tackle them. I think one good run Peanut Butter (Parris Bennett) missed a tackle. Good runners make tacklers miss, and they got big plays. I think we did a better job of tackling in the second half.” Babers said.

Akers finished the half with 159 yards on the ground.

Syracuse would rally back off the limping foot of Dungey. A 47-yard strike to Jamal Custis would cut the score in half. A few possessions later, Dungey fired a 34-yard pass to Steve Ishmael to send the Orange into the locker room trailing 21-14.


Kickers Duel 

The scoring in the third quarter would come off the legs of Cole Murphy and Ricky Aguayo. Murphy made it a four-point game with a field goal from 42-yards out cutting the lead to 21-17.

On the other end Aguayo nailed a crucial field goal from 49-yards to conclude the second half padding the Seminoles lead to 24-17.


A Late Rally Ends Wide Left

In a quarter filled with strong defense for both teams, it would be the final three minutes of the contest that had the fans on the edge of their seats.

Dungey rallied the Orange to a 14-play 75-yard drive, which resulted in a 3-yard quarterback keeper into the end zone, cutting the score to 27-24.

Babers elected to onside kick on the ensuing kickoff. The choppy kick was recovered by Derwin James, setting the Seminoles up with great field position at midfield. Syracuse’s defense would come up strong and force a punt later that drive.

“I said wait a minute, let’s see if we can get them with an onside kick. I know the percentages are low.” Babers said.

Dungey and the offense took the field with 1:23 remaining in the game with the ball at their own 18-yard line. After a couple of quick strikes to Steve Ishmael, Syracuse was able to drive down field spotting the ball at the Seminole 25-yard line. It would be the final six seconds remaining in regulation that would set up a Cole Murphy potential game tying kick.

The snap was good, the hold was great and the kick was wide. Murphy shanked the kick wide left from 43-yards out as Florida State stormed the field with the joy of victory. The Orange remained on the sidelines after coming up short yet again on the road.


Back To The Dome 

Syracuse heads home to host Wake Forest November 11th as they look to make a push for a Bowl Game. The Orange need to win two of their next three games if they want to find themselves playing in the post season.

The schedule does not get easier for Dino Babers and the Orange as they then head down to Louisville to take on Lamar Jackson and the Cardinals.

The final regular season game will conclude when Boston College comes to the Dome, in a game which can potentially determine their season.