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No. 12 Syracuse crumbles in season’s big test; gets crushed, 36-3, by No. 3 Notre Dame

first_img Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ NEW YORK – Eric Dungey’s scream echoed through the Syracuse sideline. The senior stormed toward the Orange bench and slammed his helmet against the metal frame. “F*ck,” he bellowed. His teammates silenced around him.After Notre Dame took a 7-0 advantage on its second possession, Dungey located Taj Harris streaking down the middle of the field along the left hash mark. Dungey dropped back and rifled a pass Harris’ way, but the senior failed to locate a lurking Jalen Elliott, who jumped on Dungey’s pass, intercepting it and giving the Irish fantastic field position.As quickly as Dungey erupted in frustration on the sidelines, Syracuse’s day proverbially ended. Three hours later, Syracuse trudged off the field, the recipients of a bludgeoning unparalleled to anything that the Orange have seen since 2016 — a 54-0 shutout against future-champion Clemson in Death Valley.In front of a sold-out Yankee Stadium crowd, No. 12 Syracuse (8-3, 5-2 Atlantic Coast) squandered what was likely its only chance to prove itself worthy of a New Year’s Six bowl game. No. 3 Notre Dame (11-0) dismantled the Orange, 36-3, in a game that SU was lucky to have been within five scores. When Syracuse needed to produce its best game of the year to justify its ranking and to elevate itself into the upper echelon of college football, the Orange put forth their worst performance in two years.“I can’t even remember the score, it was so dominant,” SU head coach Dino Babers said.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAfter a win over Louisville last Saturday, Babers rejected the prominence of his team’s matchup with the Irish. He called Notre Dame a “freebie,” since Notre Dame is independent from the ACC and he was focused on how the Orange finishes in conference play.But this game wasn’t a “freebie.” Entering Saturday, ESPN slated Syracuse to play in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, as one of four at-large bids to one of the top six bowl games. A win against Notre Dame would have likely affirmed the Orange’s standing, justifying their ranking as one of the 12 best teams in the country, grouped in with likely non-playoff powers such as Ohio State and LSU. Against the nation’s No. 3 team, Syracuse arguably had more to gain in this matchup than any other game in nearly two decades, and Babers’ players knew that.“We worked all week like it was a championship game,” senior wideout Jamal Custis said.Alexandra Moreo | Senior Staff PhotographerTheir “championship” opportunity disintegrated within minutes. Following Dungey’s interception and subsequent tantrum, Notre Dame hijacked a 10-point lead, that would only swell.Dungey was forced out of the game on the next drive after suffering an upper-body injury on a quarterback rush up the middle. Dungey attempted to play the next snap before falling over on his back, clutching it in agony before play started.Dungey was not made available for comment due to injury.After less than a quarter of action, Dungey completed just one pass on four attempts for 10 yards and an interception. In Dungey’s absence, Tommy DeVito, who has played admirably this season, crumbled under the pressure. DeVito slung his first three passes downfield, aiming for big plays that resulted in three straight incompletions that forced Syracuse to punt.On his next throw, which came on the first play of the second quarter, DeVito again attempted a deep ball downfield, but it was picked off by Notre Dame safety Alohi Gilman. He threw another interception at the end of the second quarter, leading to a Notre Dame touchdown.“Sometimes in the spotlight,” DeVito said, “some guys freeze a little bit.”At the end of the first half, Notre Dame had more yards off interceptions (78) than Syracuse had passing yards between Dungey and DeVito (35) on 18 attempts. Syracuse, which hadn’t lost a turnover battle all season, threw three picks in the first 30 minutes, tying a team high for turnovers this season.Even with three turnovers and six Irish trips to the red zone, Syracuse entered halftime down just 20-0. Notre Dame easily could have scored 35 points in the first two quarters, but SU’s defense held firm, despite no offensive help.Syracuse failed to break the Notre Dame 45-yard line for three quarters during a game in which Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said his team never felt threatened. Syracuse’s offensive impotence shown bright, repeatedly.“They turned the game from chess to checkers,” Babers said. “(We) did not handle the surroundings well. It was disappointing.”Notre Dame faced a similar situation earlier in the season against Navy, but didn’t take advantage then. After leading 27-0 at the half, Kelly and his staff made defensive adjustments rather than sticking with their game plan, Kelly said, and the Irish wound up allowing 22 second-half points.“We felt like our plan was outstanding and then we got too smart,” Kelly said. “(Tonight) we said we’re not making any changes. We’re gonna stick with what we’re doing, believe in what we’re doing and let’s just get better at what we’ve put together.”Alexandra Moreo | Senior Staff PhotographerSyracuse finally broke into the red zone early in the fourth quarter on the tail end of an 18-play drive that lasted 6:30. Down 29-0, Syracuse failed to convert on third down on the ND 5-yard line. Rather than trying to convert the first down and potentially score, Babers elected to kick a field goal and accept defeat.“We could run another play and we could even score a touchdown. And then maybe even do an onside kick and maybe score another touchdown. But we’re not gonna win,” Babers said. “When you’re running those plays you have a chance to get people hurt, the score did not matter right there. So it was just drop one out, kick a field goal, keep your guys healthy and move onto the next game.”But Andre Szmyt, a midseason All-American who hadn’t missed a field goal from within 40 yards this season, watched in shock as his kick banged off the left goal post. Babers’ head dropped.Babers effectively surrendered in the beginning of the fourth quarter, but Syracuse’s day was over from its second drive. The Orange simply couldn’t compete with the prowess of the Irish. The “freebie” turned into a three-and-a-half-hour-long pummeling, keeping Syracuse off the scoreboard until the final 10 seconds of the game when Szmyt connected on another chip shot.Syracuse played this game with little to lose and everything to win. A loss would likely not drop the Orange too far in the College Football Playoff Rankings, as Boston College fell by just three spots following a 27-7 home loss against Clemson. But a win against the nation’s No. 3 team in a neutral site game could have meant SU would play in the new year for the first time since 1998. The Orange would have reclaimed their spot as a national power, becoming a team that opponents mark on their schedules as a marquee matchup, rather than being the one circling those teams.Saturday night, nothing went right for the Orange in the one game everything needed to.center_img Published on November 17, 2018 at 6:08 pm Contact Matt: [email protected]last_img read more

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Man City’s Sergio Aguero nets five goals to match Premier League record

first_imgSergio Aguero scored five goals in 20 minutes to enter the record books in Manchester City’s 6-1 win against Newcastle on Saturday afternoon.Aguero scored in the 42nd, 49th, 50th, 60th and 62nd minutes before being substituted on 66 minutes.The Argentine, who ended a five-match Premier League goal drought with his haul, became the fifth Premier League player to reach the landmark in a game.Aguero joins Andy Cole, Alan Shearer, Jermain Defoe and Dimitar Berbatov in the record books.Cole scored his record in Manchester United’s 9-0 win over Ipswich in 1995, Alan Shearer scored five in Newcastle’s 8-0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday in 1999 while Jermain Defoe netted his in Tottenham’s 9-1 win over Wigan in 2009 and Berbatov also got five in Manchester United’s 7-1 win over Blackburn a year later.Aguero’s goals take him to eight for the season. –Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @Joy997FM. Our hashtag is #JoySportslast_img read more