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What a Dumb Football Game: Syracuse Survives Season-Opener Against Villanova, 27-26 (2OT)

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In Riley Dixon we trust.

Well, at least Terrel Hunt didn't have to witness this.

Hats off to the Villanova Wildcats. By all accounts and by just about every measure except the scoreboard, they should have won this game. The Syracuse Orange should be 0-1, staring down the barrel of a 2014 season whose toughness hasn't even started yet.

Inexplicably, the Orange are 1-0. Thanks to a missed chip-shot Villanova field goal with seconds left in regulation, the game went into overtime. Both teams traded field goals before SU capitalized on a fake-field-goal touchdown pass by Riley Dixon to Kendall Moore. Naturally, Villanova came right back down the field and scored a touchdown but failed on the two-point attempt, allowing the Orange to escape with a win in front of "41,189" fans.

Oh, did I mention Terrel Hunt, our mature quarterback leader, punched a guy and got ejected? Cause that happened. Hunt's dismissal led to three very stark realizations for Syracuse fans...

1. Hunt still has a lot of growing up to do.

2. Austin Wilson is not ready for this.

3. Riley Dixon was the best SU quarterback on the field Friday evening. Seriously. I'm only barely joking. Barely.

The Orange looked absolutely nothing like the team we had been promised all off-season. An FCS quarterback sliced up the secondary with ease. When he wasn't doing that, he was weaving through our defensive line as they flew past him. Save for one big-play touchdown by Prince-Tyson Gulley, the offense was sluggish, and that was BEFORE Hunt was ejected.

Even with the victory, all of the excitement and hope of the 2014 season appears to have completely eroded. We came into this season no longer seeing Syracuse a squad that could potential play in a bowl game but as one that was guaranteed a post-season spot.

Right now? I can't say I'm so sure of that.

Now the Orange have two weeks before traveling to play the Central Michigan Chippewas, which all of a sudden sounds imposing. To play an FBS school on the road...with the team we saw tonight...good grief. Especially considering there's a good chance Hunt will be suspended.

Bright spots?

  • The aforementioned Riley Dixon thrilled us with booming punts and a game-winning touchdown toss. There is literally nothing he can't do. He's the Barbra Streisand of Syracuse Football.
  • Prince-Tyson Gulley had himself a 100-yard evening, though most of that came courtesy of a 65-yard touchdown scamper in the first quarter.
  • Erv Phillips showed a lot of skill from the kick return spot, racking up 76 yards on three attempts.

Otherwise, not too much else exciting to talk about. Just like that, we're back to being the same damn Syracuse we always think we're not anymore. Every game is a heart attack. Every opponent is lethal (because we can't get out of our own way). Nothing can be taken for granted.

So it goes.

Riley Dixon for Heisman, you guys. Riley Dixon for mother-f***ing Heisman.


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