Best and worst from Syracuse football’s 38-21 loss to Liberty – syracuse.com

Syracuse, N.Y. — Syracuse football lost to Liberty 38-21 on Saturday at the Carrier Dome in the final game of a three-game homestand.

The Orange dropped to 1-4 on the season.

Swing For The Fences with your Custom Bat!

Check out the best and worst from Syracuse’s game against the Flames (5-0).

Best performance

Shedro Louis was a key component of Liberty’s rushing unit that dominated Syracuse in yards on the ground, 338-97. The sophomore running back had two explosive runs of 50 yards or more while totaling 172 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries.

How did Rex Culpepper perform?

Redshirt senior Rex Culpepper had a decent game in his first start at quarterback since 2017. Culpepper shined the brightest in his short passing game, finishing 19-of-40 for 211 passing yards and three touchdowns. Culpepper had a major miscue midway through the third quarter as he threw a couple of errant passes that led to an interception by Liberty’s Chris Megginson. He was also sacked three times.

Syracuse’s best offensive play

Rex Culpepper found Taj Harris early in the first quarter for a 17-yard touchdown and the Orange’s first score of the game. Syracuse has scored first for the third time in five games. The touchdown was the second connection that led to a score between Culpepper and Harris, dating to the 69-yard completion against Pittsburgh in Week 2.

Biggest defensive play

Shortly before the first half ended, Syracuse’s Mikel Jones forced Liberty quarterback Malik Willis to fumble in the redzone. At the time, the turnover was timely since the Orange were only down by one touchdown. However, Syracuse couldn’t turn that turnover into points on its next drive and Liberty gained a two-touchdown lead in the third quarter.

The dagger was when …

Peytton Pickett found a hole late in the third quarter for a 16-yard rushing touchdown to give Liberty a 35-14 lead. Pickett finished the game with 120 rushing yards on 23 carries.

Worst decision

Penalties. Missed opportunities. Drops.

Syracuse had a myriad of mental mistakes and missed opportunities in Saturday’s loss to Liberty. The Orange committed 10 penalties, including holding, false starts and offsides, that equaled 80 yards.

Syracuse safety Rob Hanna could’ve recovered a fumble for a potential third takeaway for the Orange, but wasn’t able to keep his hands on the ball before it went out of bounds. On the very next play, Liberty quarterback Malik Willis found DJ Stubbs that gave the Flames a fresh set of downs.

“He pounced on it like a tiger and it went out of bounds. That’s what young guys do,” Dino Babers said in his post-game press conference.

Lastly, Culpepper threw a beautiful deep pass to Taj Harris that would’ve cut into Liberty’s double-digit lead, but Harris wasn’t able to hold on to the ball.

Best run

Shedro Louis exploded for a 75-yard touchdown run on his first carry of the game to tie the score with 8:14 left in the first quarter. It was the first of his two runs of 50 yards or more.

Up next

Syracuse is back on the road next Saturday at Clemson. Kickoff is at noon. The Tigers improved to 5-0 today after a 73-7 rout of Georgia Tech. Syracuse was the last ACC team to beat Clemson, dating back to 2017.

MORE ORANGE FOOTBALL

Scheduling Liberty has turned into a nightmare (instant takeaways)

Syracuse football box score vs. Liberty

It doesn’t get worse than this: Syracuse football loses to Liberty, 38-21

You Grade the Orange: Rate Syracuse football performance vs. Liberty

Syracuse football injury report for Liberty: SU gets a boost at running back, linebacker

Contact Mike Curtis anytime at mcurtis@syracuse.com or find him on Twitter at @MikeACurtis2.

Author: