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Three takeaways from Syracuse’s bounce-back 41-17 win over Central Michigan

A win over an FBS team!

NCAA Football: Central Michigan at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange (2-1, 0-0) took care of business in a big 41-17 win over the Central Michigan Chippewas (2-1, 0-0) today. While things were far from perfect, there were quite a few high points for SU, especially after the first quarter.

Linebackers (especially Zaire Franklin) were incredible today

The front seven was dominant today, preventing Central Michigan from reaching four yards per carry. Zaire Franklin and defensive end Kendall Coleman specifically, led the charge, accumulating 17 total tackles between the two.

Coleman, the sophomore, consistently applied pressure in both the run game and the pass rush to prevent the Central Michigan offense from truly ever getting in a rhythm.

Throughout the first three games of the year so far, the defensive line and linebackers have been the most impressive group. With the most difficult stretch of the season approaching, they will need to continue their positive play for the Orange to have any shot at reaching a bowl game.

NCAA Football: Central Michigan at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The run game looks better, but it is nowhere close to a finished product

After only averaging 2.6 yards per carry in last week’s disappointment against Middle Tennessee state, the run game looked somewhat explosive today. They knocked off runs of 74, 71, and 41 yards en route to an average of 6.8 yards per carryon the ground.

Without any sort of context, this is incredibly encouraging. The offense has found a way to move the ball on the ground and set up the passing game for Dungey. This will allow the offense to become much more dangerous, an aspect the Orange will need against a difficult conference schedule.

Yet, against elite opponents, those long play opportunities will not be available. The front sevens are too strong, athletic, and dominant to allow the creation of sizable holes. It will be on the offensive line to generate a push up front in order to continue this positive surge.

NCAA Football: Middle Tennessee at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Sean Riley could be the playmaker the offense needs

Perhaps the breakout player from this game, Riley was electric. He ran for 47 yards, caught four balls for 82, and racked up a 64-yard kick return that jump started the Syracuse offense.

In an attack that so obviously misses the presence of AP All American, Amba Etta-Tawo, Riley can perhaps be the deep threat for this offense. It’s still too early to label him in that role, but if he can consistently stretch the field and create more chances to put points on the board, then Riley will play an incredibly valuable role for the offense.

While it is a bit unreasonable to expect him to keep up that pace each week, the sophomore’s performance today is perhaps a glance at the future for the Syracuse offense.

Nice win, Orange! LSU (gulp) up next.