The most important part of this Saturday’s Syracuse Orange football game was a 27-24 victory over the Pittsburgh Panthers. However, some statistical achievements happened along the way as well, and those are also fun side effects of running this offensive system.
Each week, we’ll be highlighting the most notable (largely offensive) Orange statistical accomplishments in this space.
This space previously called out 18 straight completions for Eric Dungey, however, ends up there was an incompletion in there that wasn’t picked up on the initial scans of the play-by-play breakdown. Still, 17-of-18 isn’t a bad mark at all.
Dungey’s 365 yards made for the junior’s ninth 300-yard passing game, extending his own program record. That total also puts him just 33 yards behind Don McPherson for fourth on Syracuse’s all-time passing list. The next plateau is much higher, however. Dungey has 5,779 yards, an third place is Donovan McNabb at 8,389. On the bright side: He’s on pace to record just the second 3,000-yard passing season in school history.
Nationally, he’s one of just 14 quarterbacks averaging 300 passing yards or more per game. He’s also third in the country in both attempts and completions. His passing touchdown numbers (nine) aren’t glowing. But he’s actually tied for eighth in the country with eight rushing scores. The 17 total TDs has him around the top 10 in college football.
Pierce and Devin C. Butler took the headlines, but that didn’t mean it was a bad game for the receiving corps.’ veterans. Steve Ishmael still had five catches for 97 yards and a touchdown, while Ervin Philips collected eight grabs for 55 yards of his own. Ishmael fell just short of what would’ve been a program record sixth straight 100-yard receiving game.
But despite the perception around lesser numbers, both Orange wideouts remain near the top of the national leaderboards. Ishmael’s 56 catches still lead the country, though SMU’s Trey Quinn is just two behind after notching 32 receptions in the last two weeks. Philips is third at 52.
Ishmael’s 729 yards lead the country, and have him on pace for the second highest single-season total in school history. Philips is just 13 yards away from the top 10 in career receiving yardage at SU, while Ishmael is in fourth and just a game behind Shelby Hill’s 2,296 in third. Both Philips and Ishmael are still on pace to break Alec Lemon’s career receptions mark, though Erv is now just 16 away from doing so (Ish is 32 away).
At 7,007 total yards, Dungey is just the fifth player in school history to hit that high of a mark. And he’s now just 56 away from McPherson for fourth all-time. He’s on pace to shatter Ryan Nassib’s single season record for total yards (3,891 in 2012).
Syracuse’s total offense is 32nd in the country in yards per game (466.8) following another 500-yard effort. SU fell short of 30 points for the third straight game, but the average for the year is 32, on the strength of larger outputs vs. Central Connecticut and Central Michigan.
Though it might not have seemed like it, the Orange ran 91 plays vs. Pitt, regaining the lead for most offensive plays run (516 so far). That was helped along by an increased effectiveness getting first downs. SU had 26, and are among the nation’s top 20 in that metric.
Syracuse was 8-for-20 on third down and 3-for-5 on fourth. The overall third down conversion rate (41.74 percent) is barely top-50, however on fourth down, the team’s actually tied with Army for the most conversions in the country (13). The Orange have also tried on fourth down 21 times — three more attempts than any other team, and just six less than last year’s total attempts.
Perentage-wise, converting 26-of-30 red zone attempts doesn’t seem great compared to the rest of the country. However, one of those misses was Saturday’s fourth and 1 try with the clock ticking below a minute remaining. Syracuse is just five behind the national lead in red zone attempts, and four back in total scores inside the 20. We say all of that so we can ignore just how bad the touchdown percentage is at 50 percent.
Spot any other statistical achievements from this week? Share below.