In roughly two quarters of play Friday, Eric Dungey proved Syracuse fans with a glimpse of what they might be able to expect for the remainder of the 2015 season. Obviously it's important to not draw any final conclusions from one game, especially when that game featured one of the FCS's worst teams, but that doesn't mean there was nothing to take away.
As we near Dungey's first collegiate start, let's dissect the best and worst aspects of his performance against Rhode Island.
Escaping pressure, throwing on the run
Poise on third down
In 2014, Syracuse ranked 110th in third-down conversion percentage, converting on just 34.1 percent of its third downs. But on Friday, the Orange converted 11 of 19 third downs, thanks largely to Dungey. Faced with many of those third downs, he typically moved the chains with accurate, crisp and smart throws -- something you wouldn't necessarily expect from a true freshman.
Not progressing through his reads
On his Tuesday teleconference, SU head coach Scott Shafer said that Dungey was "almost too quick on his reads sometimes." That was probably the freshman's biggest weakness in the win. On more than one occasion, Dungey was very eager to tuck the ball and run, rather than staying in the pocket and making a decision after progressing through all of his reads.
That second play might've been a designed run, but the others certainly weren't. Dungey just needs to be a little more patient and let things develop, which you have to imagine has been a point of emphasis at practice this week.
Tendency to overthrow
Dungey was generally pretty accurate with his passes, but when he missed, he usually overthrew his targets. On his first drop back, Dungey threw a high screen pass to Ervin Philips, who somehow managed to tip the ball to himself and sprint to the end zone. Dungey wasn't as fortunate on his other misfires, one of which would've been another touchdown pass to Philips had Dungey made an accurate throw.
Again, we shouldn't read too much into Friday. Take everything I just wrote with a grain of salt. It's one game. There was a lot of excitement about AJ Long after his first start last season, in which he threw for two touchdowns against Florida State on Oct. 11. As we all know, the rest of the season didn't go so well for the Orange.
At 12:30 p.m. on Saturday we'll start to get a better read on Dungey and what he'll provide for the remainder of this season. Wake Forest might be the worst team in the Atlantic Coast Conference, but the Demon Deacons are, obviously, a far bigger challenge than Rhode Island.