The biggest draw for the Syracuse Orange hiring Dino Babers is his sterling pedigree on offense. Manning high-powered schemes at Eastern Illinois and Bowling Green before this, Babers should bring the same sorts of performances to the Dome sooner rather than later.
That, of course, means that the SU football record book -- pretty modest in many offensive departments, to be honest — could very much be under attack this fall. Individually, Eric Dungey is already nearing the top 10 of several categories, and Steve Ishmael is as well. Obviously, with a competent offensive scheme, the 2016 Orange may also accomplish a few new records as a group.
Which records should we be on the lookout for this year? Here’s several to keep an eye on:
As mentioned, Dungey is well-positioned to break several records, or at least put himself on some top 10 lists this year.
In terms of passing yards, he currently has 1,298 on his career and is just 1,323 away from tying his predecessor, Terrel Hunt, for 10th on the all-time list. Conceivably, Dungey could find himself as high as eighth on the career list (surpassing Bill Hurley’s 3,398 yards) when 2016 wraps up. Ryan Nassib holds the record for most passing yards by a Syracuse sophomore, with 2,334 — another number he may be able to meet or surpass without much difficulty.
Dungey already has 11 passing touchdowns, which puts him just eight behind Pat Stark and Bill Hurley, who are tied for 10th on the list with 19 apiece. If he can throw for 20 scores this year, Dungey would find himself one behind patron saint Troy Nunes for fifth on the all-time list.
In records of lesser notoriety, Dungey could also elevate himself into the career top 10 for both completions and attempts. He’s just 247 attempts away (sounds pretty reasonable to surpass) and 123 completions away as well.
As you’re well aware, Steve Ishmael is a very good receiver who’s had very few opportunities to show off his talents. That will change quite a bit this year.
Touchdown receptions is the easiest list for Ishmael to rise on. He’s already at 10, and needs just two more to tie Mike Siano for 10th. If he can catch 10 touchdown passes this year, he’ll be tied for second all-time (with Mike Williams and Marvin Harrison). If he can catch 12, he’ll tie for the all-time lead with Rob Moore.
Yards and receptions aren’t as easy to progress, but Ishmael is still well within reach of the top 10 and more in both categories. He’s just 36 receptions outside the top 10 in catches — the 102-catch mark would tie him with Art Monk and Jared Jones. If Ishmael has a monster season, he could find himself as high as second, a spot currently inhabited by Scott Schwedes and Shelby Hill, who caught 139 balls apiece. He’s less than 700 yards from surpassing Quinton Spotwood for 10th in that category and may be able to get to seventh (Jarrod West) or so by the end of the year.
This category is truly where all hell could break loose. As mentioned, Syracuse’s record books are modest. There are some truly elite individual performers and some truly great offenses in the program’s history. But it’s never seen something like Babers’s attack.
With little effort, the 2016 Orange should be able to make the top 10 in most categories. If they can score over 320 points (seems reasonable), they’ll surpass the 2003 team for 10th on that all-time list. The 1989 team was 10th-best by putting up 4,378 yards on the season (a little over 364 per), which also seems pretty reasonable this year. Topping the 40 touchdowns of 2001 doesn’t seem as feasible, but is still a possibility if this SU team wants to hit 10th on that list. And the 861 plays run in 2002 seems like it’s as good as gone as the 2016 team should be able to easily surpass that mark for 10th all-time.
Plenty more records that could potentially fall this year, but these are the main ones you’ll want to be on the lookout for. Any others on your radar? Share below.