Syracuse on 5-game losing streak heading to Louisville
If Syracuse coach Scott Shafer didn't bother to look at the Atlantic Coast Conference honorees this week, it's understandable.
Syracuse (3-5, 1-3 ACC) lost its fifth straight game on Saturday, 45-21 on the road at No. 17 Florida State, and two Seminoles were honored - wideout Travis Rudolph and freshman tailback Jacques Patrick.
Rudolph had the top receiving performance in the ACC this season, catching five passes for 191 yards and three touchdowns, an astounding average of 38.2 yards per catch. Patrick was rookie of the week, rushing for 162 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries and catching six passes for 62 yards in his first career start.
And the Seminoles' top two playmakers - tailback Dalvin Cook and quarterback Everett Golson - didn't even play. Patrick proved an able substitute and so did Sean Maguire, who completed his first nine passes and had 302 yards passing at halftime in his second career start.
Just another week of learning for the Orange, who play at Louisville (4-4, 3-2 ACC) on Saturday. With one freshman, three redshirt freshmen, and two sophomores listed on the depth chart in the secondary, the Syracuse defense is allowing 8.19 yards per pass.
''I don't know if we have a standout leader in the group,'' Shafer said Tuesday. ''Most of their mistakes start with inconsistency with their eyes. Playing DB, especially cornerback, is probably more about training their eyes than anything else. They have the feet, they have the ability to play, but it's consistency with their eyes that we have to continue to work on. That's something these guys have to learn ... so they can learn to play the game at their speed.''
The Orange were unable to play at the speed of the Seminoles, who gave up the game's first touchdown, then came back with three of their own. Rudolph's touchdowns covered 75, 45 and 19 yards, part of an offensive barrage of 575 yards.
''This last game we had a high-level group of receivers that could really run,'' Shafer said. ''It was a little bit of baptism by fire, but I like their fight and I like their mind-set as they continue to get better.''
The Seminoles defense also limited Syracuse freshman quarterback Eric Dungey to 11-of-24 passing for 120 yards, dropping him from first to fourth in passing efficiency in the conference.
''As football coaches we all understand that when you have young players it's a balance,'' Syracuse defensive coordinator Chuck Bullough said. ''You've got to have enough scheme that the other team doesn't out-scheme you, but you can't have so much scheme that the players can't perform. It's always a give and take.''
Now the Orange face a Louisville defense anchored by defensive end Trevon Young. He had three sacks and forced a game-clinching fumble in Friday night's 20-19 win at Wake Forest. Young has had two straight games with three sacks. That gives him a season total of 8.0, all in the last three games.
AP college football website: www.collegefootball.ap.org
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