Libonati: Blown chances in Wake Forest loss shatter Syracuse football’s bowl chances

first_imgThe Wake Forest snap flew over punter Dom Maggio’s head. It bounced toward the end zone as Maggio got to the ball. He started to curve away from the end zone as Parris Bennett reached around him and popped the ball loose. Then the cascade of Syracuse players, including Zaire Franklin, Ted Taylor and Eric Anthony, rumbled toward the end zone. Anthony was the farthest away from the ball, but none came up with it.Instead, Wake Forest’s Charles Argenzio landed on top of it. SU lost its opportunity for five more points, which would have been useful when it was down 14-9 and looking for any positives it could glean.“Just a bad play by me,” Franklin said. “That’s all, I’d say. Bad play by me and Ted. I don’t, I don’t know. Just a bad play. That’s all I can say.”But it was just one of the bad plays. And that’s the problem. The bad plays stacked up, outweighed the good ones and put Syracuse’s (2-4, 0-2 Atlantic Coast) chances at bowl eligibility in jeopardy. That’s not to say SU was expected to make a bowl game because it wasn’t. But SU was expected to put on a better showing than it did in the 19-point loss to a team it has beaten every year since the Orange entered the ACC.SU allowed the big plays that have buried the Orange all season, including a 37-yard touchdown run by Wake Forest (5-1, 2-1) quarterback John Wolford and WFU safety Cameron Glenn’s 83-yard fumble recovery touchdown. Those compounded the smaller errors, like not maximizing a scoring opportunity the Demon Deacons gifted the Orange.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textMORE COVERAGE:Syracuse loses for third time in last four games, falling to 2-4 on the seasonCheck out the best stats from Syracuse-Wake ForestStorify: How did Syracuse fans react to the Orange’s 19-point loss to UND Published on October 9, 2016 at 1:48 am “We thought we had an opportunity to win to the very end,” Syracuse head coach Dino Babers said, “and we had some costly turnovers and some three and outs in some bad situations that really forced us to do some things down the stretch to kind of put it back into their favor.”Immediately after Syracuse dropped its fourth game of the season to Wake Forest, the hallway outside of its locker room filled up. Senior deputy director of athletics Herman Frazier stood in one spot, jostling his tie back and forth to loosen it. Cordell Hudson emerged from the locker room with a Syracuse hat wrapped around his head, the hood of his jacket up and lips pursed. Franklin stared past reporters, searching for answers good enough to satisfy questions about what went wrong against WFU.Because if there’s one understanding, it’s that this was a game Syracuse needed to win to keep its bowl chances realistic. Getting to six wins was going to be tough no matter what. SU likely had to beat Colgate, Connecticut, Wake Forest and Boston College, while scraping two wins out of games against South Florida, North Carolina State, Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh.The loss to Wake Forest is the first game of the initial four the Orange has lost so far, but Pittsburgh looks as good as advertised and Virginia Tech has moved into the Top 25. The Hokies went on the road to beat North Carolina, another ranked team, 34-3, on Saturday. SU also dropped its matchup with South Florida.That leaves North Carolina State and Boston College as the most winnable games left on its schedule. The other four games are much tougher and will likely be considered major upsets if SU wins them.Ally Moreo | Asst. Photo EditorBabers began the week reiterating to fans that the “cake” he’s been baking was only in the batter stage, just being beaten together. So far, that’s been true. Most of what’s happened this season has been a product of problems other than coaching. He even let fans know that he was going to need time at the beginning of the season.Just like that first scoring play, SU has missed its chances all year, losing a first-quarter lead against South Florida, not keeping up with Notre Dame and blowing a winnable road game against Wake Forest.And because of that, they’ve continued proving Babers’ initial assessment right.Chris Libonati is an Asst. Sports Editor at The Daily Orange, where his column appears occasionally. He can be reached at [email protected] or @chrislibonati. Commentscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more