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Syracuse Football Study Hall: A Progress Report on the Orange Offense

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Digging into some statistics, let's see how the 2015 Syracuse Orange offense compares to recent teams.

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The eye-test indicates that the 2015 Syracuse Orange offense has shown progress. We know the leaders on that side of the ball are young and the potential there is exciting.  In the midst of this losing streak, consistency has been missing from the offense. I've written about the inability to put together a full-game of solid offense, John writes weekly about the ups and downs on that side of the ball, but what do the statistics say? Is Syracuse looking better, or not?

Well, let's take a look at the numbers going back to 2008, courtesy of cfbstats.com.

Passing

Name/Year Attempts Comp Comp Pct Yards

Yards per Attempt

TD's Interceptions Rating Yards per Game
Cam Dantley 2008 251 121 48.2 1298 5.2 11 5 102.13 118.0
Greg Paulus 2009 285 193 67.7 2024 7.1 13 14 132.61 168.7

Ryan Nassib 2010

358 202 56.4 2334 6.5 19 8 124.24 179.5
Ryan Nassib 2011 415 259 62.4 2685 6.5 22 9 129.91 223.8
Ryan Nassib 2012 472 295 62.5 3753 8.0 26 10

143.23

288.7
Terrel Hunt 2013 273 167 61.2 1632 6.0 10 8 117.62 136
AJ Long 2014 165 89 53.9 935 5.7 4 8 99.84 155.8
Eric Dungey 2015 146 90 61.6 1140 7.8 11 3 147.98 162.9

Eric Dungey in his first season is having the best QB season outside of Ryan Nassib in 2012. The issue is that the tempo used this season is part of the reason why Dungey averages only 20.9 attempts per game to the 36.3 attempts that Nassib had in 2012. The future sure looks bright here, but you have to hope that Syracuse finds more opportunities to let Dungey use his arm more often. Not only has he been extremely productive, but he's done a good job taking care of the ball.

Rushing

Name/Year Attempts Yards Yards per Attempt Touchdowns

Attempts per Game

Yards  Per Game
Curtis Brinkley 2008 237 1164 4.91 7 19.75 97
Delone Carter 2009 236 1021 4.33 11 19.67 85.08

Delone Carter 2010

231 1233 5.34 9 17.77 94.85
Antwon Bailey 2011 240 1051 4.38 6 20 87.58
Jerome Smith 2012 228 1176 5.16 3 17.54 90.46

Jerome Smith 2013

200 914 4.57 12 15.38 70.31
Prince-Tyson Gulley 2014 128 614 4.80 1 10.67 51.17
Jordan Fredericks 2015 73 397 5.44 3 9.13 49.63

Syracuse hasn't had a 1,000 yard rusher since 2012 and it doesn't look like this season will reverse that trend. This season Eric Dungey has more attempts than Fredericks, but the attempts per game by the leading rusher is heading in the wrong direction, especially when you look at yards per attempt and see the success Fredericks and George Morris (5.43 ypc) have had so far in 2015. No matter how you want to look at it, the running game at Syracuse is not trending upwards.

Receiving

Name/Year Receptions Yards Yards per Reception Touchdowns

Receptions per Game

Yards per Game

Donte Davis  2008

29 312 10.76 2 2.4 26.0
Mike Williams 2009 49 746 15.22 6 7.0 106.6
Van Chew 2010 41 611 14.90 5 3.4 50.9
Alec Lemon 2011 68 834 12.26 6 5.7 69.5
Alec Lemon 2012 73 1074 14.71 7 6.1 89.5
Ashton Broyld 2013 52 452 8.69 0 4.0 34.8
Jarrod West 2014 49 700 14.29 0 4.1 58.3
Steve Ishmael 2015 26 397 15.27 4 3.3 49.6

Despite Dungey's success as a passer, the receiving numbers are also going backwards. Right now, Ishmael is on pace to have the fewest receptions per game for the #1 receiver since 2008. It isn't just a case of spreading the ball around to multiple receivers either as the 2012 Orange had five players with over 30 receptions and this year's squad might only get two to that number. Like the other numbers, the averages are among the highest since 2008, but the volume is near the bottom. Ishmael averaging 3.3 catches per game seems criminal when you look at what he does when he gets the ball in his hands.

Total Offense

Year Offensive Plays Yards Yards per Play Points per Game
2008 691 3242 4.69 18.1
2009 775 3965 5.12 21.2
2010 812 4197 5.17 22.2
2011 814 4178 5.13 24.2
2012 1,029 6192 6.02 30.0
2013 959 4899 5.11 22.7
2014 807 3959 4.91 17.1
2015 499 2968 5.41 29.3

Outside of 2012, the 2015 offense is much better than the other recent teams when it comes to scoring points and getting decent yardage per play. Of course, when you look at the national rankings and see that 5.41 yards per play ranks 85th it puts the numbers in a different perspective. At the current pace of 62.3 plays per game, Syracuse will top only the 2008 team in terms of plays run. This might also be the 1st season since 2011 where the Orange do not have a game with 200 yards rushing and 200 yards passing in the same game.

While it might appear to Syracuse fans that this year's offense is doing some strong things, the facts also show that what looks good to us pales in comparison to the rest of college football. Being in the bottom 5 nationally in terms of plays per game doesn't help at all, and the numbers in October are going down, not up. We know the remaining teams on the Syracuse schedule are strong defensively, so it will be interesting to review these numbers at the end of the month.