Another game, another merciless blowout as #13 Syracuse (8-2) cruised to an easy 54-23 win over Louisville (2-8).
Once again, Louisville’s constant mistakes in the first half dug them into a hole they could not climb out of. The Cardinals had a chance to take an early lead, but a 50-yard field goal from Blanton Creque was blocked. That led to a three-play touchdown drive by Syracuse, ending in a one-yard run by Jarveon Howard.
After a 31-yard field goal by Andre Szmyt pushed Syracuse’s lead to 10-0, Louisville answered with a 12-play drive, culminating in a 13-yard touchdown throw from Jawon Pass to Dez Fitzpatrick.
That would basically be the end of any Louisville momentum in the first half. The Cardinals later committed four turnovers in the half, three from Jawon Pass (two fumbles and an interception) and one from walk-on quarterback Sean McCormack on his first pass. Syracuse took advantage and turned those into short scoring drives, as the Orange put up 37 points in the first half (30 of those in the second quarter). Moe Neal had a pair of rushing touchdowns from 67 and two yards out. Eric Dungey added a rushing touchdown in between Neal’s scores, with Andre Szmyt driving in a pair of field goals as well.
Meanwhile, as Syracuse piled on the points, Louisville continued rotating its quarterbacks in search of any offensive momentum. Jawon Pass started the game, but after three quick turnovers saw himself benched yet again. Malik Cunningham came off the bench and delivered a lot of big runs, but exited the game after suffering an injury in the second quarter. And with Jordan Travis transferring from Louisville, that left walk-on Sean McCormack to finish the first half. McCormack had not played in a college football game prior to tonight.
After McCormack finished the first half, Jawon Pass returned to finish the game. The constant carousel at quarterback led to a dismal night for Louisville’s passing game, finishing 14-of-30 with one touchdown and two interceptions.
The Orange scored a touchdown on their first drive of the second half, reaching the end zone on a two-yard run from Eric Dungey.
Dungey added another touchdown in the fourth quarter, throwing a 65-yard pass to Nykeim Johnson and pushing Syracuse over the 50-point mark. Andre Szmyt would add his fourth field goal of the game from 38 yards out.
The 54 points allowed marked the fourth time in the last five games that the Cardinals defense allowed 50+ points, and fifth overall in 2018.
Louisville got a seven-yard rushing touchdown from Hassan Hall near the end of the third quarter. Blanton Creque made a 31-yard field goal with 6:17 left in the fourth quarter. Colin Wilson ran in a late touchdown with 1:19 left, scoring from four yards out.
Once again, another running back posted a career-high against Louisville’s rushing defense. Moe Neal rushed for 159 yards on only eight carries, scoring two touchdowns. Eric Dungey accounted for 254 total yards (192 passing, 62 rushing) and three total touchdowns (one passing, two rushing). The Orange also ran for 326 yards on 6.3 yards per carry, marking the fifth straight game Louisville’s defense has allowed 250+ yards on the ground.
Louisville’s offense tallied 413 total yards (210 passing, 203 rushing), but four turnovers doomed them from the start. The Cardinals had 18 first downs, but a season-high 17 penalties in the game. Jawon Pass accounted for 276 total yards (196 passing, 80 rushing), and threw for one touchdown. Dez Fitzpatrick led the team with 56 receiving yards and a touchdown. P.J. Mbanasor got a late interception in the second half.
Up next, Louisville returns home for a game against #14 N.C. State next Saturday, its first of two home games to close the 2018 season.