Offensive struggles cost Syracuse in 17-10 loss to Minnesota
MINNEAPOLIS — Penalties and miscues by the Syracuse offense were too much for the team to overcome Saturday night.
Syracuse (1-3) committed 10 penalties, many coming on the offensive line to stall drives, and allowed three sacks as quarterback Ryan Nassib never got comfortable in the pocket during the Orange’s 17-10 loss to Minnesota (4-0) in front of a capacity-crowd of 40,805 at TCF Bank Stadium.
The SU offense that piled up yards and points in its first three games was shut down by an aggressive Minnesota defensive front that repeatedly beat the SU offensive line and got to Nassib. The SU quarterback finished 21-for-31 for 228 yards and two interceptions, and Marcus Sales, the team’s leading receiver, had just two catches in the game. And the Minnesota offense did just enough to overcome its own mistakes to get the win.
The miscues started on the Orange’s first play from scrimmage when Nassib’s pass to Jarrod West was deflected in the air and landed in the arms of Minnesota’s Cedric Thompson. SU got away with the early mistake, though, after Gophers kicker Jordan Wettstein pushed a 44-yard attempt wide right.
Still, the offensive troubles continued for Syracuse. Nassib was forced to scramble around early to avoid pressure, and a sack by Minnesota’s D.L. Wilhite on third-and-20 following a penalty served as a catalyst for the Gophers’ first score.
The scoring drive was aided by a pass interference call on Shamarko Thomas, giving Minnesota first-and-goal on the 2-yard line. Running Back Donnell Kirkwood easily walked into the end zone and Minnesota had the early lead.
Syracuse put together a drive and marched into the red zone late in the first quarter. But a false start penalty on Alec Lemon turned a third-and-1 into third-and-6 and Jerome Smith couldn’t get the edge to convert the first down.
Ross Krautman came on for a 33-yard field goal and the lead was cut to four.
The end result was a 7-3 first-half lead for the Minnesota over Syracuse. The teams committed a combined 11 penalties and struggled to finish off drives due to the mental mistakes. The Syracuse offense couldn’t get going as quarterback Ryan Nassib struggled to find a comfort zone in a constantly collapsing pocket.
After the break, it was more of the same for the Syracuse offense.
The Gophers opened with a beautiful 12-play, 87-yard drive to go up 14-3, and the Orange couldn’t answer despite having multiple opportunities deep in the zone. An Ashton Broyld fumble ended one drive in the red zone early in the fourth quarter and Syracuse never threatened again, falling for a third time this season.
A late 13-yard touchdown pass from Nassib to Sales pulled the Orange to 17-10 with 46 seconds left in the game, but it was too little too late.
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