Wolfpack's injury report grows longer in loss to Orange
North Carolina State entered Saturday's game against Syracuse hoping to get one of their injured starters back. Instead, the Wolfpack saw the team's injury report grow even longer after a 24-10 loss to the Orange.
Quarterback Brandon Mitchell, who has been out with a broken left foot since the opener, wasn't quite ready to go for this one. Then fill-in starter Pete Thomas left the game late with a banged-up shoulder, while the Wolfpack also lost offensive tackle Joe Thuney, defensive back Jack Tocho and defensive lineman T.Y. McGill also suffered injuries.
N.C. State was already down five starters coming in, including Mitchell, offensive lineman Rob Crisp and receiver Rashard Smith.
"The guys we have, we're going to coach them as hard as we can and they've got to play as hard as they can," first-year Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren said. "Would I like to have every player in the lineup? Absolutely. But I don't get to complain about that. I've got to coach who's there, and we will. The trainers are doing everything they can to get the rest of them back to us."
Mitchell, the Arkansas graduate transfer, was dressed on the sideline and progressed in practice this week. But Doeren said he could tell Mitchell was "not himself" and decided to go with Thomas for the fifth straight game. Doeren said shoulder injuries to Thomas and Tocho weren't serious heading to a bye week followed by a trip to No. 6 Florida State.
"We're at the halfway point of our season and both our quarterbacks are hurt, so we get the bye week at the right time and try to get some guys back," Doeren said. "I think we will. I look forward to seeing a lot of guys return to the lineup because we need them."
Jerome Smith and Prince-Tyson Gulley each ran for more than 100 yards and a touchdown to lead Syracuse to the win in its first Atlantic Coast Conference road game.
Smith finished with 140 yards and ran for a 1-yard score in the first quarter for the Orange (3-3, 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference). Gulley ran for 132 yards and the 18-yard go-ahead score with 6:13 left.
Terrel Hunt added a rushing score of his own to make it a two-possession game with 2:39 left, part of the second straight big rushing performance for Syracuse. A week after running for 323 yards against No. 3 Clemson, the Orange ran for 362 yards against the Wolfpack (3-3, 0-3).
Thomas threw for 151 yards and a touchdown in a frustrating performance for the Wolfpack, who reached the end zone only once and struggled to sustain drives all day.
With the game tied at 10 midway through the fourth quarter, Smith broke free for a 57-yard sprint up the middle of the Wolfpack's defense. On the next play, Gulley ran around the right side and into the end zone for the 18-yard score that made it 16-10.
On Syracuse's next possession, Gulley broke off a 48-yard run to crack the 100-yard mark. That ultimately set up Hunt's 8-yard keeper, which made it 22-10 and effectively sealed the win.