Second Half Collapse: Syracuse Football unable to stop red hot Wake Forest offense
The Syracuse University football team knew what was on the line going into Saturday's home matchup with Wake Forest.
The Orange needed to win two of its final three regular season games in order to advance to a bowl game.
However, the Demon Deacons would not allow for it to happen.
Not Saturday, anyway.
Syracuse was able to jump out to the 38-24 lead at halftime behind the brilliant play of backup quarterback Zach Mahoney.
Mahoney was named the starter during warm-ups when the coaching staff decided Eric Dungey was unable to go due to a foot injury suffered at Florida State last week.
With Dungey out, Mahoney checked in and was ready to go.
The backup orchestrated three firs half touchdown drives, finding Ravian Pierce twice while also hitting Steve Ishmael in the end zone.
With the 14-point halftime lead, all seemed to be well for the Orange and its fans from inside the Carrier Dome.
But what they did not realize was the second half collapse that would ensue.
Mahoney proceeded to throw a pair of interceptions in the second half, leading to scoring drives for the Demon Deacons.
Wake Forest senior quarterback John Wolford torched the Syracuse defense, accounting for six total touchdowns -- three through the air and three more on the ground.
Wolford threw for 363 yards while also running for 136 yards on the day.
The Demon Deacons scored 24 unanswered points to put away a nearly lifeless Orange squad in the fourth quarter, leading to Syracuse's sixth loss of the season, thus forcing the Orange to win out in its final two games in order to advance to the post season.
"It's do-or-die time," Syracuse senior linebacker Zaire Franklin said. "There's no more time for any excuses. I think coach [Dino] Babers said it best after the game, saying we probably had the biggest win in program history -- personally I felt more embarrassed -- not embarrassed, but more disappointed this game than a lot of other games."
Franklin and the Orange will have to get right back to work, as a road trip to Louisville awaits next Saturday.