- Associated Press - Saturday, November 7, 2015

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Allowing 575 yards to No. 17 Florida State last week was bad enough for Syracuse.

Yielding 579 in Saturday’s 41-17 loss to struggling Louisville was even worse, and the Orange’s prospects for improvement and ending a six-game losing streak don’t look good with No. 3 Clemson up next week.

Orange coach Scott Shafer was still trying to get his mind around his team’s latest defeat, one in which their scoring came early and late. Everything in between belonged to Louisville, which entered the game trying to find its way on offense.

The Cardinals did that behind backup quarterback Kyle Bolin instead of Lamar Jackson, who was out with an ankle injury. Shafer conceded that switch caught his team by surprise and the Orange (3-6, 1-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) never adjusted.

“We had no idea on that,” Shafer said. “I don’t know if they (Louisville) were just making sure (Jackson) was taken care of. … We weren’t sure but we were thinking it could happen. So, (we’ve) got to try and prepare for both of them but we didn’t do a good enough job of defending Louisville, period.”

Bolin completed 24 of 35 passes for a season-high 362 yards and three touchdowns as Louisville (5-4, 4-2) achieved a season high in yardage for its third straight victory.

“I was able to deliver the ball based on what the defense told me to do,” Bolin said.

Louisville also rushed for 217 yards and its defense held Syracuse to 286 yards and forced three turnovers including two interceptions. Trumaine Washington returned one pickoff 39 yards for a 14-10 lead in the second quarter, and the Cardinals poured it on in outscoring the Orange 34-7 over the final three quarters.

Syracuse’s highlights were Ervin Phillips’ 10-yard touchdown run set up by Cordell Hudson’s interception, and Steve Ishmael’s late 9-yard TD pass from Zack Mahoney. Starter Eric Dungey was 15 of 30 for 158 yards and two interceptions and rushed 13 times for 45 yards.

The Orange freshman left late in the fourth quarter with what Shafer said afterward was a head injury. Shafer said he left Dungey in hopes of trying to get a couple of scores and possibly mount a rally that never materialized.

“I feel horrible that he got hit,” Shafer said of Dungey. “If I had 20-20 hindsight, I would’ve taken him out the play before that or something. … Hopefully, he’ll be OK.”

A game important for both programs seeking postseason berths ended with the Orange needing to mount a huge rebound not only to halt their freefall but get past a Clemson team that’s top-ranked in the playoff poll. Neither is possible unless they stop opponents from piling up yards and points.

“Just keep working,” Syracuse linebacker and captain Zaire Franklin said he told the team. “You can’t let your standards slip regardless of what happens. When you lose this many games in a row and you’re on a skid, things can easily flip at any point in time. So, you just have to continue to keep working and be patient that things will turn around.”

Things looked promising for the Orange after they rallied from a quick 7-0 hole with 10 straight points. The game changed when Louisville’s Trumaine Washington intercepted Dungey by reading the route perfectly and jumping it before dashing down the left sideline for the go-ahead TD.

Syracuse made its share of takeaways with four, but that meant little as its slide continued with even bigger challenge looming next Saturday.

“The one thing we know we have is the next day in front of us, the next game in front of us,” Shafer said. “We look at it as a challenge we put right out there in front of them and talk about it and say, ‘How are you going to take on tomorrow?’ … That’s what our focus will be moving into the next week.”


AP College Football: www.collegefootball.ap.org



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