Syracuse football struggles to protect quarterback Zack Mahoney in 45-14 loss to No. 17 Florida State

first_img Published on November 19, 2016 at 10:23 pm Contact Jon: jrmettus@syr.edu | @jmettus As Zack Mahoney pulled himself off the ground, the few Syracuse fans that were left in the Carrier Dome began to boo.Mahoney had just been flattened to the turf between Florida State defensive ends DeMarcus Walker and Brian Burns on fourth down. The two raced around the edges of the Orange’s porous offensive line to complete FSU’s eighth sack of the game and end an SU drive on downs that started at the Seminoles own 49.“Pressured our quarterback,” Syracuse head coach Dino Babers said. “Overpowered our offensive line.”Against one of the best defensive fronts in the country, Syracuse’s inexperienced and patchwork offensive line crumbled. The result was eight sacks, 10 tackles for loss, one recorded quarterback hurry — though it seemed like more — and just 37 rushing yards. Mahoney struggled under pressure, throwing two interceptions and completing just 44.4 percent of his passes in Syracuse’s (4-7, 2-5 Atlantic Coast) 45-14 loss to No. 17 Florida State (8-3, 5-3).Syracuse punted on six of its first eight drives. The only two it didn’t punt ended with interceptions. Mahoney was sacked on three of SU’s first five third downs, ending those drives.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWhen Brisly Estime returned punts to FSU’s 39 and midfield, respectively, the offense could do nothing with it, managing minus-seven yards.On the first drive, Jamar McGloster got beat around the edge and Mahoney was sacked without a chance to even look downfield. McGloster lifted his QB up by his left shoulder pad. The next play, Mahoney had to spike a screen pass into the turf before getting hit.Estime walked off the field with his head down. Receiver Amba Etta-Tawo had his hands at his side. The only SU player to not look dejected was the usually upbeat Steve Ishmael, who had just played his first series in two weeks because of injury.McGloster was not available to the media after the game.The next drive, Mahoney got walloped from on third down.“From an offensive standpoint we really couldn’t support the defense and the special teams and the things that they were doing,” Babers said. “A lot of old guys against a lot of young guys. But we’re gonna keep our heads up.”Between series, center Jason Emerich, who was the starter at the beginning of the year before suffering a season-ending injury, got in the faces of the offensive linemen. He yelled directions at them and demonstrated stances. By the fourth quarter, he gave up.“I thought our offensive line held up pretty well today, but I missed a lot of reads and a lot of throws,” Mahoney said.But the reality was, he hardly had time to do either.“It’s a different game when a quarterback is getting hit a lot,” Babers said. “They’re not supposed to get hit a lot. I think Zack is doing a nice job for us. We have to find a way to do more to help him.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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