Syracuse quarterback loses game by spiking on 4th down


As a Syracuse alum, this highlight pains me.

Quarterback Rex Culpepper is a senior at my alma mater, but he made a rookie mistake Saturday, spoiling the Orange’s faint comeback hopes by spiking the ball with a second remaining. Under normal circumstances, that would be a smart decision—quarterbacks routinely spike to stop the clock while in the hurry-up offense. But unless the refs are asleep at the wheel like they were when Colorado was inexplicably granted an illegal “fifth down” in 1990, spiking it on fourth down is a turnover.

Culpepper’s costly gaffe let visiting NC State off the hook, allowing the Wolfpack to escape with a 36-29 victory at the Carrier Dome. It’s been that kind of year for the 1-9 Orange, who haven’t won since defeating Georgia Tech in September. With second-ranked Notre Dame on tap for their ACC finale next week, the triumph over Tech will likely go down as SU’s final victory of 2020.

Culpepper’s brain cramp couldn’t have come at a worse time, though the fact he even saw the field this year after battling testicular cancer—an illness that necessitated 100 hours of chemotherapy—is pretty remarkable.

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