Syracuse punters flounder in expanded role as placekickers

Scott Shafer called for a fake.

The last time the Syracuse head coach let a punter attempt to placekick on Saturday, Jonathan Fisher booted an extra point into the offensive line and had to scramble back to tackle Wake Forest’s Neil Basford who had scooped up the loose ball.

This time, with Syracuse facing a fourth-and-goal at the Wake Forest 3, holder Charley Loeb caught the snap and immediately took off to his left before turning upfield toward the end zone.

He was stopped inside the 1-yard line.

“I just felt like if we had one blocked there then it’s not a two-point conversion if they run it back,” Shafer said. “It’s a touchdown.”

The SU (4-4, 2-2 Atlantic Coast) kicking game reached a new low in the team’s 13-0 victory against Wake Forest (4-5, 2-4) at the Carrier Dome on Saturday. With Ross Krautman out for the year and replacement Ryan Norton suspended after his arrest on Friday, punters Fisher and Riley Dixon split the kicking workload.

Dixon only handled kickoffs, but was lined up for the fake field goal. Fisher made his first extra point, but floundered on the second.

Shafer estimated it rose only three feet in the air.

“We needed another week to get him to have the ball come up higher,” Shafer said.

Fortunately for the Orange, it won’t need Fisher or Dixon to kick field goals against Maryland next Saturday.

Norton will return to the team tomorrow, Shafer said, after an especially difficult week.

He “stubbed his toe” when charged with resisting arrest and underage possession of alcohol, Shafer said, and his grandfather died this week.

“He’ll be back tomorrow,” Shafer said, “ready to help this team kick some field goals.”


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