The Syracuse Orange (1-0) defeated the Colgate Raiders (0-1) 33-7 in the team’s season opener Friday night to usher in the Dino Babers era on a positive note.
While Syracuse got off to rough start, allowing a touchdown on Colgate’s opening drive, the Orange quickly regrouped and rattled off 33 consecutive points en route to their season-opening win.
Here are three things we learned.
1. This offense will be F-U-N to watch
From the day Dino Babers was hired to become Syracuse’s next head coach, there was plenty of hype surrounding how he would revamp the offense and mold it after his days as an offensive coordinator at Baylor and head coach at Eastern Illinois and Bowling Green. While it seemed almost foolish to expect, Babers and the Syracuse offense somehow delivered.
Five wide receiver sets, no huddles, sprinting to the line of scrimmage, a record-setting performance from Erv Phillips – the offense looked nothing like the boring 3-yard run and 2-yard bubble screen days of former head coach Scott Shafer.
The Orange were able to seemingly march up and down the field at will for most of the night, with Eric Dungey and company finishing the game with numbers that would have seemed laughable during last season.
In fact, let’s take a closer look.
- Eric Dungey: 34-40 for 355 yards and two touchdowns
- Amba Etta-Tawo: 12 catches for 210 yards and a touchdown
- Erv Phillips: 14 catches for 87 yards and a touchdown
Yup, looks pretty good to me.
2. Moe Neal is the real deal
While we may have been able to only see it briefly, with one run, true freshman running back proved just how electrifying he has the ability to be.
With 12:29 remaining in the second quarter, Neal received the first carry of his Syracuse career – and boy, did he make it count. The young running back raced passed the left side of the offensive line before quickly cutting across the field – breaking a tackle in the process – and running down the sideline into the end zone.
“It felt great, you know just getting my first carry at this kind of atmosphere. It felt great, just getting my first touchdown,” Neal said. “Once I broke free, a sigh of relief broke.”
While Neal would struggle to find wiggle room for the rest of the game, rushing for just 19 yards on his next 8 carries, it was his first run which showed Syracuse fans the type of breakaway ability he displayed back in April during the team’s spring game was not a mirage.
3. Dino Babers wants to be FASTER
From the moment he stepped foot on Syracuse University’s campus, Babers preached Syracuse would be fast, fast, fast. Speed had been an essential part of Babers’ offenses at Baylor, Eastern Illinois and Bowling Green, and Babers made no secret of his itentions to make it a vital part of his offense at Syracuse (in fact, there’s an #OrangeIsTheNewFast hashtag floating around, maybe you’ve seen it).
Well, that speed was on display for all to see – at least for a bit.
During Syracuse’s opening drive, the Orange quickly raced back to the line of scrimmage after every play en route to their opening touchdown. However, after Syracuse’s first few drives it appeared the Orange were slower to the line throughout the rest of the game – a fact that wasn’t lost on Babers.
“That will be the slowest game you’ll ever see us play,” Babers said. “Did you see the paint dry? I did. We will never be that slow again.”