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Syracuse football: Amba Etta-Tawo remains near top of national leaderboard

(plus other notes on Syracuse offensive statistics)

NCAA Football: Colgate at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Things didn’t go well for the Syracuse Orange this past Friday. Even if the offensive production wasn’t TERRIBLE, all things considered (Louisville’s a pretty highly ranked team after all), the team’s overall numbers suffered a bit of a drop. Except for Amba Etta-Tawo’s, that is. We’ll get to those shortly...

Passing

Syracuse was sixth in passing yardage last week, and that ranking fell to a tie for 10th (with Louisiana Tech) following week two’s action. Despite struggles against the Cardinals, Eric Dungey still passed for 255 yards, while Brisly Estime and Zack Mahoney had a combined 38 to add to the previous week’s team total of 437. The team’s 730 passing yards are second in the ACC... to Louisville (822).

The Orange’s completion numbers dipped slightly from fourth last week to sixth. SU’s 67 completions are just two away from TCU’s total at fifth as well. Completion percentage dipped considerably from third (87.9 percent) to 24th (67.7 percent).

Thought the efficiency of Dungey’s play went down against Louisville, the production didn’t dip a ton. His 610 passing yards are tied with UCLA’s Josh Rosen for 15th in the country — quite the feat considering the expectations attached to Rosen coming into this season. His total completion numbers (59) are still among the top 10 figures in the country, though completion percentage has dropped out of the top 50. Dungey’s five passing scores are tied for 21st in the FBS, but he’s still well within shouting distance of the national lead (nine).

Receiving

Amba Etta-Tawo’s name is front-and-center on this post, and for good reason. The Maryland transfer has 313 receiving yards on the season, good for second-best in the country. His 103 yards against Louisville were one of a few bright spots on Friday, and those efforts are going to start earning him national attention. He’s already just 260 yards short of Steve Ishmael’s team-leading yardage from last season.

Etta-Tawo is actually tied with Ervin Philips (and a few others) for third in the country with 20 receptions. His three touchdowns also put him just one back of the nation-wide lead in that category as well.

Total Offense

As you knew, total offensive production dipped, dropping Syracuse from 21st last week to 35th this week (tied with Auburn). They’re within 25 yards of Miami at 33rd. The offense was faster this week, and that’s reflected in the team’s national jump from 28th to 11th (tied with Texas Tech) in plays run. Their 174 total plays are also just five back of Middle Tennessee at fourth nationally. While we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, that similar pace is certainly going to be a factor when those two teams play at the Dome next season.

Since production dropped while plays went up, however, SU’s yards-per-play have tanked. Last week was at 6.84 yards per, while this week’s is down to 5.56 (78th). More on that in the play-calling breakdown that goes up on Tuesday.

Scoring Offense

The Orange’s 30.5 points per game are a nice improvement from the previous regime, but nothing to brag about.

Failing to score on one trip in the red zone (went for it instead of settling for a field goal while down 21 -- a smart call), knocks the team’s efficiency there down to 87.5 percent. Touchdown percentage went up from 25 percent to 50 percent, which is great movement in a week, and hopefully a sign of more touchdowns to come.

Conversions

Syracuse’s 49 first downs are 33rd in the country (up one from last week). Efficiency-wise, SU failed to really excel again on third down, and that rate dipped a little to 43.9 percent. They failed once on fourth down, dropping that rate from 100 percent last week to 75 percent now.

***

Rushing is not going to be discussed in this largely positive post. We’ll get to that separately. Because it’s very, very bad.

See any other notable leaderboard appearances for the Orange? Chime in below.