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Amba Etta-Tawo’s big game vaults him to top of NCAA leaderboard

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His biggest statistical output yet means he’s now the NCAA’s leading receiver.

NCAA Football: South Florida at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Another week, another monster game for Syracuse Orange wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo. Though they sputtered at times, the SU offense also put up some pretty impressive numbers across the board, which helped improve its standing in some categories. Best of all, Syracuse beat UConn, so these statistical feats actually feel more meaningful than they have for the two previous games.

Some detailed offensive notes below:

Passing

Eric Dungey didn’t appear to have an awesome game, and yet his 407 passing yards were the fifth-highest total in Syracuse football history. That total moves his season numbers up to 1,367 yards, good for sixth in the country -- and already more than his passing yards from last year. As a team, the Orange have the seventh-best passing attack in the nation on a per-game basis (371.8 yards per).

SU has completed 125 passes on the year, which is second-most behind California (138). Accounting for 117 of those, Dungey is tied for fourth individually (with Washington State’s Luke Falk). That total also moves Dungey into the top-10 all-time marks for an Orange QB.

Syracuse is fourth in the country in terms of attempts, with 189. Dungey is third individually with 179. Accuracy this past week dipped slightly again from 66.7 to 66.1. But SU is still the 17th-most accurate passing team in the country. The team’s nine passing scores are tied for the 27th-best mark in FBS.

At over 341 yards per game, Dungey’s on pace to average more passing yards per game than any other SU QB. He’s also on track to break the program’s single-season records for passing yards, attempts and completions.

Rushing

SU is 111th in the nation in running the football. Moving on...

Receiving

As mentioned, Etta-Tawo had another fantastic game — this time, the best receiving effort of all-time for Syracuse at 270 yards, along with 12 catches and two scores. The yardage mark has vaulted him to the top of the NCAA leaderboard, at 706 yards on the year. His five touchdown grabs are tied for fifth-most in the nation. His 40 receptions tie him for the fourth-highest total in college football. After catching another six passes this week, Ervin Philips is sixth in the country, with 36 receptions.

Etta-Tawo is on pace to break pretty much every single-season receiving record Syracuse has. Ari told us yesterday where his current figures project out to (all SU records):

  • Receptions: 120
  • Receiving Yards: 2,118
  • Touchdown Receptions: 15

If he meets those numbers, he’d be among the top-five career totals for Syracuse in terms of yardage. His reception total would vault him to eighth on the career list. Scoring 15 touchdowns would tie him for eighth.

Total Offense

Managing just 469 total yards against UConn knocks Syracuse’s season average down a little bit, from 505.7 per game, to 496.5. That’s 25th in the country, which still isn’t half bad (especially considering where this offense was over the last few years). SU is 16th in raw total yardage, with 1,986 on the year. That’s more than half of last year’s total (3,839) already.

The offense floundered a bit in terms of speed against the Huskies, and as a result, their total plays dipped. Last week, SU led the nation with 279 offensive snaps. This week, they drop to fourth, with 345. Syracuse ran just 66 plays vs. UConn -- a fact that coach Dino Babers will likely harp on as unacceptable during this week’s various press sessions.

One positive: the Orange’s yards per play on the season jumped from 5.44 (89th in the country) to 5.76 (68th). We’ll dive into explosive plays during the weekly play-calling breakdown. But you could definitely see the team grabbing (and relying upon) bigger gains to move the football on Saturday.

Scoring Offense

Syracuse saw a slight boost in scoring average, from 27 to 28 points per game -- still a disconcerting number considering pace and yardage should result in a lot more points than that. It’s also worth noting that one of its touchdowns on Saturday was a defensive score.

The Orange made it into the red zone twice against UConn, after failing to do so at all against USF. They were 1-for-2 (thanks, missed field goal), and are now just 9-for-11 on the season in terms of red zone scoring. At 81.82 percent, that rate is 74th in the country. The touchdown percentage is just 54.55, which doesn’t sound much better than previous frustrations about settling for field goals near the end zone.

Conversions

Syracuse had just 19 first downs on the game against UConn, so that season total takes a huge hit. With 98 first downs on the season, the Orange drop to 21st overall. On a per-game basis, they’re 29th with 24.3 first downs.

Third down efficiency floated around 50 percent again this week, as SU went 8-for-15. At 47.5 percent success on the year, they’re the 30th-best team in the country in that regard. Syracuse did not go for it on fourth down against UConn, despite several chances to do so.

***

Some positive and some negative above. Obviously Syracuse won the game on Saturday, but the way they did also gave rise to some questions about the offense’s effectiveness right now.

Notice any other interesting statistics coming out of this week? Feel free to share below.