The Syracuse Orange got back on track this past Saturday, earning a 41-17 victory over the Central Michigan Chippewas. While the defense was crucial there, the run game also took its turn as unlikely star, too. The game was still slightly uneven (including a very puzzling first quarter). But Dino Babers got the Orange back on track in the second quarter, making for an enjoyable rewatch.
Let’s jump in:
|14:54||1st and 10||SYR 42||Run||Strickland||Dive L||2 Yard Gain|
|14:27||2nd and 8||SYR 44||Pocket Breakdown; Run||Dungey||End R||5 Yard Gain|
|14:00||3rd and 3||SYR 49||Run||Strickland||Dive L||4 Yard Gain|
|13:44||1st and 10||CMU 47||Pass||Ishmael||Mid Range R||17 Yard Gain|
|13:23||1st and 10||CMU 30||PENALTY (Holding)||Pierce||N/A||10 Yard Loss|
|13:23||1st and 20||CMU 40||Pass||Ishmael||Screen R||3 Yard Gain|
|13:04||2nd and 17||CMU 37||Pass||Dungey||Short M||Incomplete (Philips)|
|13:00||3rd and 17||CMU 37||Play Action; Pass||Ishmael||Mid Range R||14 Yard Gain|
|12:19||4th and 3||CMU 23||Field Goal||Murphy||N/A||FG is Good|
|10:39||1st and 10||SYR 16||Run||Dungey||Off Tackle L||3 Yard Gain|
|10:14||2nd and 7||SYR 19||Run||Neal||Dive R||3 Yard Gain|
|9:39||3rd and 4||SYR 22||Pass||Philips||Short M||10 Yard Gain|
|9:22||1st and 10||SYR 32||Run||Neal||Dive R||4 Yard Gain|
|9:01||2nd and 6||SYR 36||Pass||Dungey||Deep R||Incomplete (Ishmael)|
|8:52||3rd and 6||SYR 36||Pass||Dungey||Short L||Incomplete (Philips)|
|6:58||1st and 10||SYR 48||Run||Neal||Dive L||1 Yard Gain|
|6:39||2nd and 9||SYR 49||Pocket Breakdown; Run||Dungey||End R||7 Yard Gain|
|6:13||3rd and 2||CMU 44||Run||Pierre||Dive R||0 Yard Gain; Fumble|
|5:24||1st and 10||SYR 23||Run||Dungey||Dive R||2 Yard Gain|
|4:56||2nd and 8||SYR 25||Pass||Dungey||Short R||Interception|
|2:29||1st and 10||SYR 36||PENALTY (Illegal Motion)||Pierce||N/A||5 Yard Loss|
|2:22||1st and 15||SYR 31||Play Action; Pass||Dungey||Short R||Incomplete (Ishmael)|
|2:06||2nd and 15||SYR 31||Run||Strickland||End R||6 Yard Gain|
|1:47||3rd and 9||SYR 37||Pass||Dungey||Mid Range R||Incomplete|
Play-Call Breakdown: 12 called passes, 9 called runs
Right away, you saw the offense trying to generate bigger gains, and if not for a holding call, SU would’ve scored an early touchdown too. A long passing play to Sean Riley was also eliminated via penalty. Also notable: Eric Dungey continued to roll right when flushed out of the pocket. That speaks to the better protection on that side of the line. SU coming away with just three points in this quarter was immensely frustrating.
|14:46||1st and 10||SYR 19||Play Action; Pass||Riley||Screen L||6 Yard Gain|
|14:32||2nd and 4||SYR 25||Play Action; Pass||Pierce||Short R||2 Yard Gain|
|14:12||3rd and 2||SYR 27||Run||Strickland||Dive L||2 Yard Gain|
|13:54||1st and 10||SYR 29||Run||Strickland||End L||2 Yard Gain|
|13:27||2nd and 8||SYR 31||Play Action; Pass||Dungey||Deep M||Incomplete (Ishmael)|
|13:19||3rd and 8||SYR 31||Pass||Philips||Short M||9 Yard Gain|
|12:55||1st and 10||SYR 40||PENALTY (Sub. Infraction)||TEAM||N/A||5 Yard Gain|
|12:55||1st and 5||SYR 45||Pass||Dungey||Short R||Incomplete (Neal)|
|12:46||2nd and 5||SYR 45||Pass||Dungey||Screen L||Incomplete (Neal)|
|12:41||3rd and 5||SYR 45||Run||Neal||Dive L||2 Yard Gain|
|7:42||1st and 10||CMU 32||Pass; Sack||Dungey||N/A||4 Yard Loss|
|7:11||2nd and 14||CMU 36||Pass||Philips||Short L||13 Yard Gain|
|6:44||3rd and 1||CMU 23||Play Action; Pass||Strickland||Screen R||0 Yard Gain|
|6:13||4th and 1||CMU 23||Run||Dungey||End R||2 Yard Gain|
|5:52||1st and 10||CMU 21||Run||Strickland||End R||3 Yard Gain|
|5:27||2nd and 7||CMU 18||Pass||Strickland||Screen L||18 Yard Gain; TD|
|3:05||1st and 10||SYR 47||Run||Strickland||End L||0 Yard Gain|
|2:39||2nd and 10||SYR 47||Pass||Riley||Deep R||44 Gain|
|2:19||1st and Goal||CMU 9||Run||Strickland||Dive R||9 Yard Gain; TD|
|1:15||1st and 10||SYR 15||Pass||Dungey||Deep M||Incomplete (Philips)|
|1:10||2nd and 10||SYR 15||Run||Strickland||Dive L||1 Yard Gain|
|0:57||3rd and 9||SYR 16||Run||Strickland||Off Tackle R||2 Yard Gain|
Play-Call Breakdown: 12 called passes, 9 called runs
By the time we hit drive No. 6, the nerves were setting in. The Orange went empty backfield on two straight plays with five yards to go, then give the ball to Moe Neal on third and five. Things turned up quickly after, however. Ervin Philips (with a nice run after catch) and Dontae Strickland did the leg work with a short field for one TD. Strickland grabbed the second score of the quarter too, but only after a gorgeous 44-yard connection from Dungey to Riley. NFL scouts were talking about that throw on Twitter afterward, and with good reason.
|13:16||1st and 10||SYR 10||Pass||Dungey||Deep R||Incomplete|
|13:09||2nd and 10||SYR 10||Run||Neal||Dive R||71 Yard Gain|
|12:52||1st and 10||CMU 19||Run||Strickland||Dive R||1 Yard Gain|
|12:23||2nd and 9||CMU 18||Pass||Ishmael||Mid Range L||17 Yard Gain|
|12:16||1st and Goal||CMU 1||Run||Dungey||Dive R||1 Yard Gain; TD|
|9:57||1st and 10||SYR 19||Run||Strickland||Off Tackle R||4 Yard Gain|
|9:36||2nd and 6||SYR 23||Run||Strickland||End R||5 Yard Gain|
|9:16||3rd and 1||SYR 28||Run||Strickland||Dive L||2 Yard Gain|
|9:11||1st and 10||SYR 30||PENALTY (Personal Foul)||Pierce||N/A||15 Yard Loss|
|9:09||1st and 10||SYR 15||PENALTY (Pass Interference)||Coleman||N/A||15 Yard Gain|
|9:03||1st and 10||SYR 30||Pocket Breakdown; Run||Dungey||Off Tackle R||11 Yard Gain|
|8:30||1st and 10||SYR 41||Pass||Ishmael||Short R||6 Yard Gain|
|8:03||2nd and 4||SYR 47||Run||Strickland||End L||2 Yard Gain|
|7:28||3rd and 2||SYR 49||Pass||Ishmael||Short L||29 yard Gain; Fumble|
|5:56||1st and 10||SYR 20||Run||Dungey||Off Tackle L||74 Yard Gain|
|5:31||1st and Goal||CMU 6||Play Action; Pass||Pierce||Short M||6 Yard Gain; TD|
|4:34||1st and 10||SYR 28||Run||Riley||End L||41 Yard Gain|
|4:14||1st and 10||CMU 31||Play Action; Pass||Ishmael||Mid Range R||22 Yard Gain|
|3:56||1st and Goal||CMU 9||Run||RIley||Off Tackle L||0 Yard Gain|
|3:39||2nd and Goal||CMU 9||Play Action; Pass||Dungey||Short M||Incomplete (Ishmael)|
|3:34||3rd and Goal||CMU 9||Run||Dungey||Dive L||2 Yard Gain|
|2:53||4th and Goal||CMU 7||Field Goal||Murphy||N/A||FG is Good|
|1:58||1st and 10||SYR 15||Play Action; Pass||Dungey||Deep R||Incomplete (Butler)|
|1:53||2nd and 10||SYR 15||Play Action; Pass||Dungey||Deep R||Incomplete (Ishmael)|
|1:47||3rd and 10||SYR 15||Play Action; Pass||Riley||Mid Range R||11 Yard Gain|
|1:24||1st and 10||SYR 26||Run||Dungey||Off Tackle R||2 Yard Gain|
|0:49||2nd and 8||SYR 28||Run||Pierre||Off Tackle R||4 Yard Gain|
|0:27||3rd and 4||SYR 32||Pass||Dungey||Deep L||Incomplete (Riley)|
Play-Call Breakdown: 12 called passes, 13 called runs
Runs on the perimeter started paying major dividends here, as it created more variance to the rushing attack. Moe Neal’s big 71-yard dash was encouraging because he let the hole develop, then burst through. Other long runs by Dungey (74 yards) and Riley (41 yards) were also excellent uses of space on the outside. The run game was still questionable in this one, but the big gains created some semblance of an effective attack in that it kept the defense worried about it.
|14:12||1st and 10||SYR 19||Run||Riley||End L||5 Yard Gain|
|14:05||2nd and 5||SYR 24||PENALTY (Personal Foul)||Pierce||N/A||12 Yard Loss|
|13:59||1st and 17||SYR 12||Run||Perkins||Dive L||1 Yard Gain|
|13:15||2nd and 16||SYR 13||Play Action; Pass||Ishmael||Short R||9 Yard Gain|
|12:57||3rd and 7||SYR 22||PENALTY (Offside)||Stanitzek||N/A||5 Yard Gain|
|12:52||3rd and 2||SYR 27||Pass||Riley||Deep M||21 Yard Gain|
|12:24||1st and 10||SYR 48||Run||Perkins||Off Tackle R||1 Yard Gain|
|11:38||2nd and 9||SYR 49||Run||Riley||End L||1 Yard Gain|
|10:57||3rd and 8||CMU 50||Pass||Dungey||Deep L||Incomplete (Butler)|
|6:37||1st and 10||SYR 20||Run||Mahoney||Dive L||3 Yard Gain|
|5:57||2nd and 7||SYR 23||Run||Pierre||End L||4 Yard Gain|
|5:11||3rd and 3||SYR 27||Run||Pierre||Dive R||1 Yard Loss|
|1:20||1st and 10||SYR 37||Run||Pierre||Dive R||5 Yard Gain|
|0:39||2nd and 5||SYR 42||Run||Pierre||End R||3 Yard Gain|
Play-Call Breakdown: 3 called passes, 9 called runs
Not much to take from these few drives, since it was all garbage time and both teams just wanted to get out unscathed. Dungey and RIley hooked up for another nice passing gain, though. And Devin C. Butler would’ve hauled in a touchdown catch if he’d been a half-step faster at the end of drive No. 15. Also, you probably noticed Ravian Pierce’s name a lot in the boxes above — mostly on penalties. That’s a bit unsettling given the pure volume of them in this contest.
- Overall play-calling breakdown: 39 called passes vs. 40 called runs (last week: 49:43)
- First half play-calling: 24 passes vs. 18 runs (15:22 in second half)
- First downs: 18 total (8 passing, 9 rushing, 1 penalty; 9:10:6 last week)
- First down play selection: 13 called passes, 20 called runs (15:23 last week)
- First down play selection on subsequent sets of downs: 8 called passes, 10 called runs (11:14 last week)
- First down plays for five or more yards: 11, which equals last week’s total
- Second down play selection: 15 called passes, 10 called runs (19:10 last week)
- Third down play selection: 11 called passes, 8 called runs (13:9 last week)
- Third down conversion: 7-for-19 (4 pass, 3 runs, 0 penalty; 1:5:2 last week)
- Fourth down conversion: 1-for-1
- This week, just 21 of Syracuse's 79 play calls (27 percent) took place in CMU territory, which is a pretty poor rate. However, SU’s defense set it up for success a couple times with short fields. And when the Orange had the ball on the Chips’ side of the field, they seemed to make quick work of scoring (for once).
- Play-action was reasonably accurate even if without big plays -- going 8-for-13 with 70 yards and a touchdown. A couple missed connections between Dungey and receivers could’ve pushed those numbers up. Additionally, play-action got more effective as the game wore on and the run game saw success, which isn’t surprising.
- Syracuse had eight plays that went for 15 or more yards, which is double last week’s total. Of those, four went for 25 or more and somehow none of those went for touchdowns (though they set up points). The Orange also added five plays that gained between 10 and 14 yards, which was good but not great.
- Including penalties, six plays went for a loss, which is nine fewer than last week’s total for this category. That’s a plus.
- The Orange were a perfect 5-for-5 in the red zone on Saturday, and even managed to up the touchdown rate a bit in the process. Scoring points in the red zone AND making more of them touchdowns? I like the sound of this. Let’s do more of it.
- Syracuse had four three-and-outs in the game, but also turned it over three times. Making matters worse on the latter figure, two of the turnovers were entirely avoidable (the tipped INT and Steve Ishmael’s fumble).
For the second straight game, Dungey was putting the ball on the money deep, but to little result. There were still a few drops in this one, but at least we started to see Riley emerge as a potential deep threat. His speed helps make up for the lack of size that complicates the matter of exploiting one-on-one coverage downfield (something Ishmael and Butler can both take advantage of).
Dungey threw really well on the run, avoiding hits where possible and throwing a controlled ball down the sideline. Again, that one pass to Riley was fantastic. But he made several more plays while avoiding pressure that show he’s getting smarter with his reads.
As mentioned above, running to the perimeter was a nice touch that completely changed the look of this offense. The rushing average minus big plays won’t really show it (still averaging less than three yards per carry otherwise), but exploiting the edge with our running backs (who are more suited for that than up-the-gut runs) is a very good thing. Riley’s involvement on jet sweeps was a perfect change of pace as well.
Mistakes were a big theme of this one, even in the midst of a pretty positive breakdown above. SU really only ran a capable offense for a quarter and a half, but really made the most of that time. Pierce made several big mistakes that would’ve bitten us against better opponents. Also, the turnovers were killers -- especially with the defense doing everything it could to get us the ball back.
Anything else that caught your eye above? Go ahead and add below.