Dino Babers defends decision to go deep 3 times in Wake Forest loss

first_imgUPDATED: Nov. 13, 2017 at 8:57 p.m.After Dino Babers called for three consecutive throws to the end zone at the beginning of the fourth quarter, all of which were unsuccessful, the TV cameras showed Syracuse’s head coach opting to send out the field goal team without much hesitation. Then, for a fleeting moment, Babers rested his head on the palm of his right hand while a disappointed gaze shot from his eyes.Senior kicker Cole Murphy missed. First-and-10 on Wake Forest’s 33-yard line did not result in points for Syracuse. The Demon Deacons took over possession and went on to score 24 unanswered to win in decisive fashion.So, in hindsight, was going deep three times in a row the right choice?“Absolutely,” Babers said Monday.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textIn his weekly press conference, Babers showed no regret for what could be described as a turning point in the third consecutive loss for Syracuse (4-6, 2-4 Atlantic Coast) since upsetting then-No. 2 Clemson in the Carrier Dome in mid-October. He instead stressed heavily that his team must now focus solely on the week’s task of traveling to Kentucky and beating a Louisville (6-4, 3-4 ACC) team led by the reigning Heisman winner, Lamar Jackson. Babers was blunt about the decision to throw to the endzone.“Their DBs were playing short,” Babers said of Wake Forest. “We threw the first one to Devin Butler and he had his guy beat. Then we threw the second one, if I’m not mistaken, to (senior wide receiver Steve Ishmael), and he had his guy beat. And we threw the third one, I believe, to Ish in the middle of the field and I believe he had his guy beat.”Babers’ assessment of what could have been is not far off. On the first-down toss to Butler, the sophomore wide receiver jostled with Wake Forest cornerback Ja’Sir Taylor all the way down the left sideline. When the ball fell in front of a diving Butler, Taylor’s forearm appeared to touch Butler, who wanted a flag. He did not get one.On the next play, SU quarterback Zack Mahoney, who started in place of the injured Eric Dungey, faked a handoff and immediately threw for the right edge of the end zone. Ishmael fell backwards out of bounds without the ball.One snap later, Ishmael ran straight down the middle of the field, only to have this pass land in the end zone several yards in front of him. Of the three plays, this was the the one with the best chance. Mahoney misfired.After the game, Mahoney said SU “liked the opportunities that presented themselves and we liked the matchups.”“I think the biggest thing about being good on offense,” Babers said Monday, “is being unpredictable.”More SU football notes:Junior quarterback Eric Dungey warmed up but did not play against Wake Forest after Babers said last week that Dungey would be “ready to go.” On Monday, Babers said Dungey made “drastic improvement” over the course of last week. As for this week, “If he’s capable,” Babers said, “I expect him to go.”Syracuse’s regular season finale against Boston College on Nov. 25 will kickoff in the Carrier Dome at 12:20 p.m., the ACC announced Monday. The ACC Network will televise the game.Steve Ishmael on Monday was named one of 10 semifinalists for the Biletnikoff Award given to the nation’s best wide receiver. No other ACC receivers made the list. Ishmael has 92 catches for 1,131 yards in 2017, both career highs. With six touchdowns, he is one shy of matching his total of seven from his sophomore season.CORRECTION: In a previous version of this post, Syracuse quarterback Zack Mahoney was misnamed. The Daily Orange regrets this error. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on November 13, 2017 at 4:10 pm Contact: jtbloss@syr.edu | @jtblosslast_img

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