The Syracuse Orange were supposed to win this opener going away, and they absolutely delivered in a 50-7 victory over Central Connecticut State. Syracuse’s offense came out with a quickness we rarely saw last season, even at the group’s peak.
Quarterback Eric Dungey led an eight-play, 70-yrad drive in just under three minutes to start the contest, punching in the first score himself. The junior finished up the game 28-of-36 for 328 yards and three passing touchdowns, plus another two scores on the ground.
SU was up 21-0 after one quarter, and 31-0 at halftime. The Orange put up over 500 yards of offense and out-gained CCSU by nearly 400 yards.
While most of Dungey’s effort was both accurate and laudable, he did take a significant number of hits -- most of which were unnecessary. One particular hit that saw him somersault over a defender in the second quarter was quite worrying to this Orange fan (and many others).
In his first game as the Orange’s top receiving threat, senior wideout Steve Ishmael also put in a strong effort that shows he’s well equipped to step into Amba Etta-Tawo’s large shoes. He caught 12 passes for 134 yards. Ervin Philips, Ravian Pierce and Moe Neal all caught the touchdown passes from Dungey, with the highlight being a 52-yard scamper from Neal.
The run game was largely controlled by Dungey’s 51 yards on nine carries, while Dontae Strickland collected 38 on 12 rushes. Averaging less than four yards per carry (before garbage time) yet again should be a concern once again. SU only had 3.2 yards per run last year, including sack yardage.
Defensively, the group showed itself to be far more aggressive than last year, generating quality pressure against CCSU and getting into passing lanes. Other than the one touchdown drive by the Blue Devils in the third quarter, you have to like what the young contributors showed.
Unfortunately the opener wasn’t without an injury concern, though. In his first game action since last season’s Louisville contest in week two, safety Antwan Cordy tweaked his ankle early and left on crutches. We’ll await further details, but it would be a crushing blow to lose one of the defense’s top athletes yet again.
More recaps to come tonight. Overall, it’s exactly what you wanted, save the Cordy injury. But Syracuse takes home the resounding victory and starts 1-0. The offense can’t always look this crisp, but if it’s close most weeks, we could see quite a bit of improvement from the Orange. Last year, pace was great and yards were high. But points didn’t follow. That doesn’t appear to be the case this time around.