Syracuse’s 3rd-quarter rally falls short against Clemson in blowout loss

first_imgRitchy Desir pointed toward the Clemson end zone. He knew his feet were in bounds.“I mean, you know, what the defense say, you know,” Desir said, “‘See ball, get ball.’ I seen the ball, I went and go get it.”Desir’s interception gave life to Syracuse and brought the best Carrier Dome crowd that Floyd Little can remember since the Dick MacPherson era to its feet. It gave the Orange the ball at the Clemson 46-yard line, down by 21 with 8:52 to play in the third.The possibility of a comeback bubbled.But then it fizzled.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSyracuse failed to capitalize in the third quarter and the stunning upset that seemed slightly feasible quickly faded toward impossible once more. The Orange (2-3, 0-1 Atlantic Coast) crumbled at the end of the third quarter after clicking at its start, falling 49-14 to No. 3 Clemson (5-0, 3-0) in front of 48,961 at the Carrier Dome in its first-ever ACC game.“We definitely knew that we could have came back and been right there,” Syracuse running back Prince-Tyson Gulley said. “The game should have been at least 35-28 and it should have been a fight to the very end.”But it wasn’t.After Desir’s potentially pivotal interception, SU stormed down the field. Two runs, two first downs. Fans erupted as Jerome Smith picked up 11 on a bounce to the outside.Then Syracuse collapsed. Gulley lost three on a disjointed play. Clemson’s Vic Beasley sacked Terrel Hunt for a loss of seven.Ryan Norton, the injured Ross Krautman’s backup, trotted onto the field. He shanked a kick wide left as Syracuse came up empty-handed. Three points evaporated.On the next drive, Marquis Spruill bulldozed up the middle and drilled Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd into the ground. Clemson went three-and-out, and Syracuse had life once more.After a sneaky direct snap on fourth-and-9 from deep in its own territory sent Syracuse into the red zone and resuscitated the Orange, a close game seemed attainable.But once again, the offense failed to knife into the 21-point hole. After a holding call pushed SU back 10 yards, Syracuse faced a fourth-and-4.Hunt undershot Christopher Clark on a throw that wouldn’t have even been enough for a first down, had it been caught.“We’ve got to know the situation,” Syracuse wide receivers coach Rob Moore said. “ … That’s a mistake we shouldn’t make.”When Hunt needed to throw the ball, he had no one to throw it to. Ashton Broyld was the only Syracuse receiver to catch a ball for positive yards in the first three quarters.In the first half, SU’s offense ran east to west — not north to south. Clemson’s offense was simply dominant.The Orange couldn’t muster any offense in the first 30 minutes except for a 66-yard touchdown run by Smith. In the third quarter, though, that all started to change. Syracuse held possession for 10 minutes and 45 seconds in the third quarter, but had nothing to show for it.And after Hunt’s incompletion to Clark, Boyd officially put the game out of reach.He lofted a booming pass directly into the mitts of the Road Runner-quick Sammy Watkins. Boyd unleashed the ball effortlessly and Watkins blazed by Ri’Shard Anderson, reeled it in and took it to the house for the second-longest touchdown from scrimmage in Clemson history.The touchdown showed why scouts from six NFL teams were in attendance. It effectively killed the Orange’s momentum.The Orange failed to unwrap the gifts from Clemson. What looked like the makings of a relatively close final score turned into anything but for SU.“We tried to pull everything out to try to make it respectable,” Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer said, “and came up short.”That was the theme of the afternoon. The Syracuse offense came up short in the first half when it totaled four first downs to Clemson’s 20. It came up short in a nightmarish end of the second quarter when Riley Dixon punted three times and Hunt threw an interception. And it came up shortest of all in the third quarter when it couldn’t capitalize on Clemson’s surprising miscues. And from there the offense didn’t matter. Drew Allen came in for the final nine-plus minutes of the fourth quarter to take out the garbage. When asked if he took any positives away from the loss, Gulley put his hands on his hips and sighed.“Umm… we’re all alive.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on October 5, 2013 at 10:54 pm Contact Trevor: tbhass@syr.edu | @TrevorHasslast_img