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For a moment, however fleeting it was, Syracuse was where the college football world was watching. This wasn’t like anything SU had seen this season — not in its thrilling overtime win against Central Michigan or even a triple-overtime loss to Virginia. This year has been defined by its drama — in both wins and losses.For a moment, every bad thing that debilitated the Orange the past six weeks didn’t matter.Syracuse was living in that moment. And what a moment it was.Arms of jubilation reached to the top of the Carrier Dome when Juwan Dowels picked off a pass right next to the Syracuse sideline. Everyone rushed to jump on him. The Loud House reached its highest pitch. It was SU’s ball, down seven, with just 18 minutes to play in the game.“That moment was very special,” Dowels said. “It was a good moment for all of us … We just got so excited, probably a little too excited … it’s against the No. 1 team.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe script of Syracuse’s season has seemingly been one of ups and downs. But its trajectory had taken an undeniable downward turn. On Saturday, though, bowl contention didn’t seem relevant. The 41-17 loss last week and the 45-21 loss the week before was an afterthought.It was fun in the Carrier Dome on Saturday, for a moment. It was what big-time college football felt like.But the reality of Syracuse’s (3-7, 1-5 Atlantic Coast) season was inescapable in a 37-27 loss to Clemson (10-0, 7-0), the best team in the nation.“It’s a hard one to swallow,” SU head coach Scott Shafer said. “We were in a position where we could play and beat this team. We needed another stop there or another play there in the fourth quarter to get it done. We were close.”Syracuse played down to its reputation in the game’s first two minuets. Three plays and 36 seconds had seemed to cook the Orange. A Deshaun Watson 64-yard pass. A Wayne Gallman 11-yard touchdown run. And then a Zack Mahoney fumble on the first play from scrimmage. It was Clemson ball, up 7-0, and just 23 yards from tacking on some more.But a combination of Mahoney and the Syracuse defense led the Orange back. SU made the big plays, the kind that make you hold your breath until its finally over. The first was a forced fumble at the start of Clemson’s third drive. The next was a 28-yard run by Ervin Philips immediately after.It was that story all day. SU had two more takeaways than Clemson. It had five plays of 28 yards or more. Those are the kind of plays that get you wins. The kind that gave this game a novel type of excitement.“They had guys that wanted this win and want to prove themselves,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said. “We had to work for it and fight hard … They fought today.“That’s just the nature of where we are right now.”Syracuse fought back after the game felt over at halftime. A third-and-11 from SU’s own 2-yard line turned into a 28-yard strike to Steve Ishmael as Mahoney took a big hit. Five plays, 70 yards more, and it was a one-score game.Clemson and Syracuse traded field goals — two Tigers kicks made up an entire second-half offense. The Orange was alive, and so was a fan base that just hours ago was more obsessed with Shafer’s job security than the game before them.Riley Dixon punted it away with 5:57 left to play and Syracuse down 10. The white flag was raised. With each first down the crowd got thinner. With each tackle the roar of the crowd got fainter.For a moment — a fleeting one at that — Syracuse seemed to own the college football world.But as the game ended, it was right back to where it started. Another loss tacked onto a two-month long stretch. Another bowl-less season to piggy back the one before it.For a moment, none of that mattered. But then that moment ended. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on November 14, 2015 at 9:28 pm read more