The Dino Babers era started with a bang on Friday night, even if there’s still plenty of growth left for the Syracuse Orange this season. SU beat the Colgate Raiders 33-7 in a game they grabbed control of in the first quarter. They never looked back.
Eric Dungey had the best passing game of his career, going 34-of-40 for 355 yards and two touchdowns. Wide receiver Ervin Philips tied Art Monk’s 39-year single-game receptions record, bringing in 14 balls for 87 yards and a touchdown on the night. In his first game as a member of the Orange, Amba Etta-Tawo managed 12 catches for 210 yards and a score as well. Moe Neal accounted for the other Syracuse touchdown, a 49-yard run in the second quarter.
Colgate looked ready for a tight game early, with quarterback Jake Melville mixing his mobility and some timely passing to get the Raiders into the end zone on the first drive. After that, Syracuse’s offense simply took control, scoring on each of the first four drives, and then tacking on another 13 points in the second half while completely shutting down the Raiders on the opposite end.
On the game, Syracuse racked up 554 total yards, including 437 through the air. The team used a nice mix of screens, play action passes and deep balls to keep the pace rolling all game, despite the run game struggling for much of the contest. Though they had 117 yards on the ground, 49 were on one play (the Neal touchdown). They averaged less than 20 yards per carry on the other 34 runs from scrimmage.
Beyond the questions around the run game (Neal was the only runner over 25 yards), the team did seem to bog down a bit inside the 30, settling for four field goals vs. the three touchdowns they put up on the board (just one of which from inside the red zone). Syracuse did a quality job on third down (8-of-18), and was also 3-for-3 on fourth. They had 25 first downs on the day.
Over on the defensive end, SU failed to force a turnover, though came close several times. Colgate only managed 143 total yards, nearly all of which were in the first half. With a more pressing need to pass in the second, the Raiders’ game plan became a little more predictable and the Orange D capitalized.
Plenty more recapping to come from Sean later, as well as Ari who’s covering the game from the Carrier Dome. Play-calling recap will be fun on Tuesday, rest assured.
Most importantly: Syracuse is 1-0! They’ll face the Louisville Cardinals (1-0) next Friday night at 8 p.m. ET in both teams’ ACC openers.