The Syracuse Orange lost to Notre Dame on Saturday, but they still produced plenty on the offensive side. No, stats don’t make up for wins. But they do give us some positive factors to keep an eye on as the season continues. Most of them have to do with Amba Etta-Tawo and Eric Dungey, as you probably figured.
Some detailed offensive notes below:
Eric Dungey struggled a bit vs. Notre Dame, but that didn’t prevent him from putting up strong numbers once again. His 363 passing yards were one of the top 10 totals in Syracuse history — a list increasingly populated by just Dungey’s games this season. On the season, the sophomore QB now has 1,730 passing yards -- 400 yards short of the top-10 all-time single-season totals at SU. He’s already in the top 10 for career passing yards (3,028). This season’s yardage total is also fifth-best in the country.
As a team, Syracuse remains the seventh-best passing attack in the nation. The Orange’s 370 yards per game through the air are just a bit behind Toledo’s 376.5 passing yards per game — though they’re nowhere near the statistical leaders Texas Tech (547.8 per) and Cal (428.6).
Syracuse has completed 156 passes this year, which is just four behind Cal for the national lead. Of those, 148 are Dungey’s, which ties him with East Carolina’s Phillip Nelson for third in the country. With nine more completions, Dungey will move into the top 10 single-season totals in SU history. His 31 completions against Notre Dame were the fourth-most in school history. That entire list’s pretty much him and Ryan Nassib at this point.
The Orange have attempted the second-most passes in the FBS with 240 -- 17 behind Cal for the top spot. Dungey has also attempted the second-most passes among individual QBs, behind Cal’s Davis Webb. Syracuse’s accuracy dipped to 65 percent this week, down from 66.1 last week. They’re down to 22nd now in that category. The Orange’s 11 passing scores are tied for 28th in the FBS.
Etta-Tawo didn’t have a record-breaking game, but still kept up his incredible pace just the same. His seven-catch, 134-yard effort against Notre Dame move his season totals to 47 receptions and 840 yards now. The 840 yards keep him atop the national leaderboard (nearly 100 yards above Cal’s Chad Hansen), while he’s tied for fourth in receptions, same as last week. His six touchdown catches are also tied for fourth.
The fifth-year grad transfer is on pace to best every single-season receiving record at SU, and he’s just off the pace to break the single-season receiving yards record as well. That mark, 2,060 by Nevada’s Trevor Insley in 1999, is 44 ahead of Etta-Tawo’s current pace.
Ervin Philips’s 42 catches also put him seventh in college football right now.
For the second straight game, Syracuse failed to hit the 500-yard mark on offense, earning 489 against Notre Dame. Their average is now down to 495 yards per game, which is 24th in the nation (actually up one spot from last week). They’re 17th in raw total yardage — a number that will eventually match the per-game numbers once every team gets their bye week over with. At 2,475 yards, SU is only about 1,400 short of last year’s full-season total.
After a dip to 66 plays against UConn, the Orange got back on track in terms of pace during the Notre Dame game. SU’s 88 plays vaulted them back to the top of the country in that category. Their 433 offensive plays are two ahead of Houston right now.
Syracuse’s yards per game dropped a little from 5.76 last week to 5.72 this week, which ranks them 74th in the country. We’ll get into more of that during the play-calling breakdown, which should reveal less big plays than previous games.
Syracuse matched a season-high with 33 points against Notre Dame. That boosts their season average to 29 points per game, an unimpressive 67th in the country.
The Orange managed five red zone trips against the Irish, which is a season high. They were 4-for-5 (the miss being the failed fourth down play near the goal line). Overall, they’re scoring at an 81.25 percent clip from inside the 20, which is 77th in the country. The touchdown percentage went up this week, to 62.5 percent. Let’s hope that trend continues.
Syracuse managed 25 first downs against Notre Dame after last week’s dip to just 19 against UConn. The season total’s now at 123, or 24.6 per game (24th in the country).
SU had been much improved on third down, but that was not the case vs. the Irish. After a 3-for-15 day on third, the Orange drop from 30th in terms of efficiency to 48th. A 43.16-percent success rate is still not horrendous. But it needs to improve for the team to get back on track offensively. Syracuse was 1-for-2 on fourth on Saturday, and are now 6-for-11 on the year.
The story of the game’s statistics seems pretty clear. Individual totals continued to rise, but overall production and efficiency went down. That’s largely attributed to the many stalled drives mid-game -- a trend we’re unfortunately used to by this point.
Notice any other interesting statistics coming out of this week? Feel free to share below.