A really bad season for Syracuse just got worse.
The Orange entered Saturday’s home game against NC State on a six-game losing streak and holding a 1-8 overall record. On the other side, NC State has been having a pretty good season and was 6-3 on the year when it marched into the Carrier Dome.
NC State is now 7-3 thanks to an awful gaffe by the Syracuse offense.
Syracuse led for most of the game, holding a 22-14 halftime lead and a 29-20 advantage late in the third quarter. But NC State rallied and scored 16 consecutive points to flip a nine-point deficit into a seven-point advantage, 36-29, with 5:20 to play.
Trailing by a touchdown, Syracuse still had a chance to tie the game or even go in front. And the offense moved into striking distance — first-and-goal from the 9 — with under a minute to play.
At that point, Syracuse had no timeouts remaining. It ran for two yards on first down and was stuffed for no gain on second down. The clock was ticking on third-and-goal when quarterback Rex Culpepper made a terrible decision. Culpepper looked to throw, scrambled and ended up taking a sack for a loss of 11 yards.
All the while, the clock was ticking. Facing a fourth-and-goal now from the 18, the Orange had one last try at the end zone. Instead, Syracuse did the unthinkable. Culpepper spiked the ball to stop the clock — on fourth down. You can’t do that.
The officials ended up having to put one second back on the clock, but all it took was a kneel down for NC State to escape with a 36-29 victory.
It’s been a brutal year for Syracuse, and that miscue moves to the top of the list of mistakes for the Orange in 2020.
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