Syracuse, N.Y. — The ball floated up and out and over the Carrier Dome carpet, the ultimate height of its flight equaling the eventual distance of it, as the first-half clock ticked down to zeroes.

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As the thing spiraled through the air, murmurs gave way to buzz that gave way to roars. And when that ball was snatched in a leaping end zone crowd by Amba Etta-Tawo — and who else would be there to catch it? — the concrete building all but burst.

The Syracuse Orange had scored a touchdown against Florida State. This, on a 46-yard we’ve-got-nothing-to-lose heave/prayer from Zack Mahoney to Etta-Tawo, the splendid free-agent pickup from Maryland. And just like that, there was a reason to imagine an SU life beyond Saturday’s intermission.

Syracuse, bruised and battered and with too many caddies on the field, had no business, of course, being in this affair. Not this physical mismatch with the 17th-ranked Seminoles. But there it was, trailing by just 21-7 at the half — or, had it been a baseball game, by merely 3-1 in the middle of the fifth inning.

Suddenly, despite the cynics and the wise cracks that came with them, there was hope.

It would, however, last only as long as a sandwich in the hands of a hungry man. SU ended up being SU. And Florida State returned to being Florida State. And the Dome, steadily vacated after the recess by the announced gathering of 32,340, became for all practical purposes an empty hall by contest’s end.

The final score in the last home game of Dino Babers’ first Orange campaign was Seminoles 45, Syracuse 14. And the truth of the matter is that the scrum, dominated on SU’s Senior Day along both sides of the line of scrimmage

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