|Posted on November 9, 2018 at 10:45 PM|
Article by Dan Tortora
The Louisville Cardinals typically come into the Dome with national exposure and the Syracuse Orange look to play spolier.
This time around, it was the opposite.
Louisville entered the game 0-6 in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), which put them in last place of seven times in the Atlantic Division, while Syracuse came into the match-up at 4-2 in the ACC, good for third place in the Atlantic Division.
Both offenses started out slow in the first quarter, with the Cardinals putting the ball away twice and the Orange fumbling away a possession followed by a punt of their own.
On Louisville's third drive of the game, redshirt-freshman quarterback Malik Cunningham ran for a 61-yard gain, from his own 22 to the Syracuse 17-yard line. But a personal foul would move the Cardinals back 15 yards to the Orange 32-yard line. Shortly after, the Orange would sack Cunningham on back-to-back downs, the first sack coming from junior defensive end Alton Robinson and the second shared between redshirt-senior defensive tackle Chris Slayton and sophomore defensive end Kingsley Jonathan. Those sacks would bring up fourth down, where redshirt-junior kicker Blanton Creque would attempt a 50-yard field goal. That attempt was blocked by redshirt-sophomore nose tackle Josh Black and picked up by redshirt-senior free safety Antwan Cordy for a 31-yard return to the Louisville 41-yard line.
Senior quarterback Eric Dungey would find junior wide receiver Sean Riley for a 37-yard pass play that would end at the Cardinals' 4-yard line. From there, Dungey would keep it, running forward for three yards, and then handing it off to true freshman running back Jarveon Howard for the lone yard needed, giving the Orange the first points of the game, ahead 7-0 at the 3:45 mark of the first quarter.
Just four seconds into the second quarter, redshirt-freshman kicker Andre Szmyt's attempt from 31 yards away went through the uprights to give the Syracuse a 10-0 with 14:56 before the halftime break.
The Orange would allow three third-down conversions on the Cardinals' first offensive drive of the second quarter, and the Cardinals would find the end zone for the first time in the contest, when redshirt-sophomore quarterback Jawon Pass found redshirt-sophomore wide receiver Dez Fitzpatrick for a 13-yard pass play that ended with Fitzpatrick stepping into the front right corner of the Orange end zone to bring the game to a 10-7 Orange lead with 9:43 to go in the first half.
It took Syracuse two plays and 38 seconds to score again, when junior running back Moe Neal took the handoff, and then took off, out-running everyone for a 67-yard touchdown to elevate the Orange to a 17-7 advantage with 9:05 left before the break.
The Orange scored on their fourth-straight drive when Szmyt connected from 39 yards away to give them a 20-7 lead on the Cardinals less than a minute after their last score, at the 8:06 mark of the second quarter.
True freshman free safety Andre Cisco intercepted Pass on Louisville's next drive, returning the ball 39 yards to the Louisville 2-yard line. Dungey would eventually gain those two yards after penalties on both the Orange and the Cardinals, giving the Orange a 27-7 advantage with 5:58 before half.
Pass would try to carry the ball on a quarterback keeper and would fumble on Louisville's next drive. Kingsley Jonathan would recover the ball, marking Syracuse's second fumble recovery of the first half, placing the Orange at the Cardinals' 22-yard line.
Szmyt made his third field goal of the game on this drive, this one coming from 35 yards out, giving the Orange a 30-7 lead with 2:53 to go in the first half.
Louisville would make their fourth turnover of the first half, and fourth consecutive turnover, on their following drive when redshirt-sophomore quarterback Sean McCormack was intercepted by senior linebacker Kielan Whitner at the Louisville 39-yard line. Three different quarterbacks were under center for the Cardinals in the first half, and none got them out of trouble.
After Dungey connected with true freshman wide receiver Taj Harris for a 16-yard gain on the drive that followed the interception, Neal would carry the ball twice and Dungey once, with Neal carrying it over the threshold for two-yard touchdown with 1:28 to go in the half, giving Syracuse a 30-point advantage, 37-7, that they would take into the locker room.
Just 48 seconds into the second half, Dungey seemingly had a touchdown on a quarterback keeper but a holding penalty negated the score.
One minute and 26 seconds into the second half, Dungey got the score after the officials reviewed the play and ruled that the ball has crossed the goal-line, giving Syracuse a 44-7 lead at the 13:34 mark of the third quarter.
At the 11:28 mark of the third quarter, the Orange banked on themselves, going for it on 4th-&-3. The decision ended up working out for Syracuse when Louisville was flagged for pass interference, moving the Orange 15 yards forward and providing them with a new set of downs.
But Dungey's attempt to redshirt-senior wide receiver Jamal Custis was intercepted in the end zone by redshirt-junior cornerback P.J. Mbanasor on the drive, taking away a redzone opportunity for the Orange.
Late in the third quarter, Syracuse's defense seemed to be set to autopilot, with Louisville looking fast and efficient for the first time in the game. Pass went 3-for-4 on the drive and gained 22 yards on a quarterback keeper.
On 1st-&-10 from the Orange 14-yard line, Pass fumbled the ball on a run of his own. Senior left guard Linwood Foy saved the drive inside the Syracuse redzone on the Syracuse 7-yard line. True freshman running back Hassan Hall attained the final seven yards to give the Cardinals their second score of the game, and first of the second half. With six seconds remaining in the third quarter, it was 44-14 Orange.
Four plays into the next drive for Syracuse, Dungey launched the ball downfield to sophomore wide receiver Nykeim Johnson. Johnson showed his speed once again, getting in front of his receiver and timing the ball, reeling it in for a 65-yard score to make it 51-14 Syracuse with 13:44 left to play.
Syracuse's next drive came with 11:21 to go after Riley returned a punt 40 yards to midfield. Howard ran for a 26-yard gain, aiding the Orange into field-goal territory. The drive ended with a 38-yard field goal by Szmyt, making him 4-for-4 on the night and expanding the Syracuse lead to 40, 54-14, with 8:54 to play.
With many of the Orange defensive starters off the field, the Cardinals were able to get three points with 6:18 to play off of a 31-yard field goal by Creque, bringing the game to 54-17 Orange.
On the next Syracuse drive, Howard fumbled on the first play, giving the ball back to the Cardinals on the Orange 34-yard line with 6:10 to go.
Colin Wilson would score on a four-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter and Creque would bounce the extra point attempt off of the goalpost, making the final score 54-23 Syracuse.
Dungey came out by the 4-minute mark, with fans cheering as he had one hand on his chest and the other pointing in the air. The fans cheered "Eric Dungey!" shortly after he left the field for the final time in orange and blue.
His final game in the Dome ended as such: 14-for-27 for 192 passing yards, one touchdown, and one interception to go with 16 carries for 62 yards and two rushing touchdowns.
The win gives the Orange a perfect season at home at 6-0.
They improve to 8-2 overall and 5-2 in the ACC.