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first_imgSyracuse didn’t lose 58-0 on Saturday. Scott Shafer didn’t show up intoxicated. Luke Arciniega and Parris Bennett – both ruled out for the game in the third quarter – weren’t pressured to play hurt.The firings of Al Golden at Miami, Steve Sarkisian at Southern California and Tim Beckman at Illinois in the past two-plus months centered around immediate, glaring issues that Syracuse isn’t dealing with.Shafer called a timeout.In hindsight, it gave Florida State too much time to march down the field and start a 28-0 run. But even in hindsight, Syracuse couldn’t know Ryan Norton’s kickoff would dribble 23 yards downfield, allowing the Seminoles to start a drive at their own 42-yard line.Coaches shouldn’t lose their jobs because of hindsight, which is what significant criticism of Shafer has arisen from. Three times this year, he’s made clock management decisions that came back to bite.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAgainst Central Michigan, he called timeout with 15 seconds left and Syracuse leading by seven to set up the defense. Arciniega sacked CMU quarterback Cooper Rush the play before and both teams were scrambling to the line of scrimmage. After the timeout, Rush threw a 27-yard touchdown pass on the next play to force overtime.Against Virginia, Shafer declined to call a timeout after the Cavaliers fell short on a third-and-11 with less than a minute remaining in regulation. Instead of stopping the clock, forcing UVA to kick a field goal and having time to potentially win the game, Shafer allowed Virginia to let the clock run to two seconds before forcing overtime and winning the game in the third extra period.And on Saturday, he called SU’s second timeout with 1:01 left in the second quarter and Syracuse down 14. The Orange would get the ball to start the second half and have a chance to tie if it scored to end the half. Instead of Syracuse letting the clock run and presumably punching the ball in, Eric Dungey scored with 56 seconds left. Norton’s kick gave FSU plenty of time to stretch a lead that would only grow.“We wanted to make sure we were organized, got the best play on the football field, plus our guys looked gassed and I thought we’d give them another second to get a little energy before we punch it in,” Shafer said. “More than anything else, just to give ‘em a shot to juice. We had to score there. We had to get a touchdown.”Postgame, offensive coordinator Tim Lester said if Syracuse didn’t score on second down, he wanted to have enough time to huddle on third down without calling SU’s final timeout. If the Orange didn’t score on third, he wanted time to be left on the clock so Syracuse could use its last timeout to either kick a field goal or go for it on fourth down.In the timeout Syracuse did use, Lester drew up plays for second and third down. If Syracuse had let the clock run, he couldn’t have saved time – valuable seconds if Dungey didn’t score on second – by laying out multiple plays at once.“So with a minute time and three downs, you feel like you’re kind of in control,” Lester said, “unless you score right away, which is what happened.”Syracuse is reeling after a 3-0 start, coming off a blowout loss to a far superior conference opponent. It gave up 89 combined points to South Florida and Virginia, both teams that had one win at the time. It stayed close with a ranked Pittsburgh team, but a last-second field goal put the dagger in the fourth game of what is now a five-game losing streak.Louisville is up next and the Cardinals have won four of five games after losing its first three. No. 3 Clemson comes to the Carrier Dome. N.C. State QB Jacoby Brissett has the second-most passing touchdowns in the ACC and only one interception in 223 attempts. Boston College has the conference’s best scoring defense.If Syracuse salvages a bowl berth, Shafer is king to fans. If not, he’s the target.Let the debate over Shafer’s job status commence if Syracuse, the entire team he’s the head coach of, actually becomes bowl ineligible. But a timeout from him, something always with a reason, shouldn’t spark that debate.“It’s not as simple as just, is the clock moving or isn’t it moving,” Shafer said. “Circumstances aren’t always what they seem.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Related Stories Ryan Norton’s ‘bad kick’ costs Syracuse late 1st-half TD in loss to SeminolesVisual breakdown: How FSU’s Travis Rudolph burned Syracuse’s secondaryFSU running back Jacques Patrick uses big stature to bulldoze Syracuse defenseFSU backup QB Sean Maguire roasts Syracuse in blowout wincenter_img Published on November 1, 2015 at 7:32 pmlast_img


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