The Syracuse Orange had a pretty nice offensive game to start this season, as to be expected when you face a team like Central Connecticut. As always, we’ll dive in below to see just how effective things were, certain areas for improvement and other trends that I’m sure a few people beyond myself will find interesting.
Dino Babers Play-Calling Season 2: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO is upon us. Let’s goooooo!
|14:54||1st and 10||SYR 30||Run||Strickland||Dive R||1 Yard Gain|
|14:31||2nd and 9||SYR 31||Play Action; Pass||Ishmael||Deep R||34 Yard Gain|
|14:10||1st and 10||CCSU 35||Pass||Custis||Screen L||5 Yard Gain|
|13:52||2nd and 5||CCSU 30||Play Action; Pass||RIley||Screen L||8 Yard Gain|
|13:39||1st and 10||CCSU 22||Play Action; Pass||Custis||Mid Range L||6 Yard Gain|
|13:04||2nd and 4||CCSU 16||Run||Strickland||Off Tackle L||2 Yard Gain|
|12:43||3rd and 2||CCSU 14||Run||Strickland||Dive L||3 Yard Gain|
|12:14||1st and 10||CCSU 11||Run||Dungey||End L||11 Yard Gain; TD|
|10:35||1st and 10||CCSU 50||Pass||Ishmael||Short R||7 Yard Gain|
|10:21||2nd and 3||CCSU 43||Pass||Philips||Screen L||8 Yard Gain|
|10:09||1st and 10||CCSU 35||Play Action; Pass||Custis||Deep L||29 Yard Gain|
|9:42||1st and Goal||CCSU 6||Run||Strickland||Dive R||6 Yard Gain; TD|
|5:34||1st and 10||SYR 14||Pass||Ishmael||Short R||6 Yard Gain|
|5:17||2nd and 4||SYR 20||Run||Neal||Counter L||1 Yard Gain|
|4:39||3rd and 3||SYR 21||Option; Run||Neal||End R||3 Yard Gain|
|4:29||1st and 10||SYR 24||Pass||Ishmael||Screen R||15 Yard Gain|
|4:20||1st and 10||SYR 39||PENALTY (Personal Foul)||Laguerre||N/A||15 Yard Gain|
|4:16||1st and 10||CCSU 46||Play Action; Pass||Ishmael||Screen R||13 Yard Gain|
|3:59||1st and 10||CCSU 33||Play Action; Pass||Ishmael||Screen R||14 Yard Gain|
|3:42||1st and 10||CCSU 19||Run||Neal||Dive R||0 Yard Gain|
|3:02||2nd and 10||CCSU 19||Run||Neal||Dive L||5 Yard Gain|
|2:47||3rd and 5||CCSU 14||Pass||Philips||Screen L||14 Yard Gain; TD|
|0:38||1st and 10||SYR 28||Play Action; Pass||Ishmael||Screen R||8 Yard Gain|
|0:19||2nd and 2||SYR 36||Play Action; Pass||Dungey||Deep R||Incomplete (Ishmael)|
|0:12||3rd and 2||SYR 36||Pass||Dungey||Deep L||Incomplete (Custis)|
Play-Call Breakdown: 15 called passes, 9 called runs
A brutally efficient first quarter that included 13 straight completions to start. Syracuse definitely tried to establish a run game early, and even if it didn’t gain the yards they were hoping for, it did keep the defense honest. It also helped that Central Connecticut didn’t cover Steve Ishmael on the same throw repeatedly, so Dungey could just hit him in the flat for a big gain every time.
|14:01||1st and 10||SYR 24||Run||Neal||Dive L||4 Yard Gain|
|13:39||2nd and 6||SYR 28||Pass||Dungey||Deep L||Incomplete (Custis)|
|13:32||3rd and 6||SYR 28||Pass||Dungey||Short R||Incomplete|
|12:21||1st and 10||SYR 32||Pocket Breakdown; Run||Dungey||Off Tackle L||7 Yard Gain|
|12:01||2nd and 3||SYR 39||Pass||Ishmael||Screen L||8 Yard Gain|
|11:44||1st and 10||SYR 47||PENALTY (Offside)||Puritt||N/A||5 Yard Gain|
|11:24||1st and 5||CCSU 48||Run||Strickland||Dive L||1 Yard Gain|
|10:56||2nd and 4||CCSU 47||Pocket Breakdown; Run||Dungey||Off Tackle R||1 Yard Gain|
|10:21||3rd and 3||CCSU 46||Pass||Philips||Short M||11 Yard Gain|
|10:05||1st and 10||CCSU 35||PENALTY (False Start)||Conway||N/A||5 Yard Loss|
|9:50||1st and 15||CCSU 40||Run||Strickland||Dive R||2 Yard Gain|
|9:21||2nd and 13||CCSU 38||Run||Dungey||Off Tackle L||8 Yard Gain|
|9:01||3rd and 5||CCSU 30||PENATLY (Pass Interference)||Morris||N/A||15 Yard Gain|
|8:55||1st and 10||CCSU 15||Run||Strickland||Dive R||1 Yard Gain|
|8:15||2nd and 9||CCSU 14||Play Action; Pass||Dungey||Mid Range R||Incomplete (Ishmael)|
|8:11||3rd and 9||CCSU 14||Run||Strickland||Dive L||4 Yard Gain|
|7:32||4th and 5||CCSU 10||Field Goal||Murphy||N/A||FG is Good|
|5:47||1st and 10||SYR 44||Play Action; Pass||Dungey||Deep L||Incomplete (Custis)|
|5:42||2nd and 10||SYR 44||Run||Neal||Dive L||4 Yard Gain|
|5:05||3rd and 6||SYR 48||Pass||Neal||Short L||52 Yard Gain; TD|
|3:19||1st and 10||SYR 27||Pocket Breakdown; Run||Dungey||End R||6 Yard Gain|
|2:57||2nd and 4||SYR 33||Pass||Pierce||Screen L||0 Yard Gain|
|2:32||3rd and 4||SYR 33||Pass||Perkins||Mid Range M||14 Yard Gain|
|2:15||1st and 10||SYR 47||Play Action; Pass||Butler||Screen L||5 Yard Gain|
|1:59||2nd and 5||CCSU 48||Pass||Pierce||Screen R||1 Yard Loss|
|1:23||3rd and 6||CCSU 49||Play Action; Pass||Dungey||Deep R||Incomplete (Philips)|
Play-Call Breakdown: 15 called passes, 7 called runs
Eric Dungey started getting hit a little bit here (including the frontflip), but overall, Syracuse made a lot out of mostly smaller gains — aside from Moe Neal’s 52-yard catch and run, however. Dungey was very accurate in this game overall, but some drops/strips stopped him from having a historically on-the-money throwing day.
|11:08||1st and 10||SYR 35||Run||Strickland||Dive R||1 Yard Gain|
|10:24||2nd and 9||SYR 36||Run||Dungey||End R||3 Yard Gain|
|9:51||3rd and 6||SYR 39||Run||Strickland||Dive L||8 Yard Gain|
|9:35||1st and 10||SYR 47||Pass||Ishmael||Screen R||2 Yard Gain|
|9:15||2nd and 8||SYR 49||Pass||Ishmael||Screen R||4 Yard Gain|
|8:51||3rd and 4||CCSU 47||Pass||Philips||Mid Range M||20 Yard Gain|
|8:33||1st and 10||CCSU 27||Play Action; Pass||Philips||Mid Range R||13 Yard Gain|
|8:21||1st and 10||CCSU 14||Run||Strickland||Dive R||10 Yard Gain|
|8:10||1st and Goal||CCSU 4||Run||Strickland||Dive R||1 Yard Loss|
|7:40||2nd and Goal||CCSU 5||Play Action; Pass||Pierce||Short M||5 Yard Gain; TD|
|6:13||1st and 10||SYR 39||Run||Dungey||Dive R||2 Yard Gain|
|5:49||2nd and 8||SYR 41||Play Action; Pass||Dungey||Mid Range L||Incomplete (Custis)|
|5:44||3rd and 8||SYR 41||Pocket Breakdown; Run||Dungey||End L||11 Yard Gain|
|5:27||1st and 10||CCSU 48||Pass||Philips||Short R||5 Yard Gain|
|5:06||2nd and 5||CCSU 43||Pass||Ishmael||Mid Range R||11 Yard Gain|
|5:01||1st and 10||CCSU 32||PENALTY (Personal Foul)||Kennedy||N/A||15 Yard Gain|
|4:52||1st and 10||CCSU 17||Pass||Ishmael||Mid Range M||12 Yard Gain|
|4:22||1st and Goal||CCSU 5||PENALTY (Pass Interference)||Bagley||N/A||3 Yard Gain|
|4:17||1st and Goal||CCSU 2||Run||Neal||Dive R||0 Yard Gain|
|3:48||2nd and Goal||CCSU 2||Run||Dungey||Off Tackle L||2 Yard Gain; TD|
|1:27||1st and 10||SYR 38||Pass||Avant||Screen R||12 Yard Gain|
|1:08||1st and 10||CCSU 50||Play Action; Pass||Avant||Screen R||6 Yard Gain|
|0:45||2nd and 4||CCSU 44||Play Action; Pass||Culpepper||Deep L||Incomplete (Custis)|
|0:39||3rd and 4||CCSU 44||Run||Perkins||Dive R||1 Yard Gain|
|0:06||4th and 3||CCSU 43||Pass||Avant||Short L||4 Yard Gain|
Play-Call Breakdown: 14 called passes, 9 called runs
Run totals creep up a bit as we’re firmly in garbage time already, but Babers does want to test out what that part of the offense can do (especially since it’s been so ineffective). The one thing I can’t figure out is why there were several called runs for Dungey in this quarter, two of which he received substantial hits on. If you’re going to keep him in late, probably best to avoid, no?
|15:00||1st and 10||CCSU 39||Play Action; Pass||Culpepper||Deep L||Incomplete (Custis)|
|14:55||2nd and 10||CCSU 39||Run||Perkins||Dive R||1 Yard Gain|
|14:20||3rd and 9||CCSU 38||Run||Perkins||Dive R||5 Yard Gain|
|13:38||4th and 4||CCSU 33||Field Goal||Hofrichter||N/A||FG is No Good|
|11:10||1st and 10||SYR 38||Play Action; Pass||Butler||Screen L||4 Yard Gain|
|10:51||2nd and 6||SYR 42||Pass||Culpepper||Screen R||Incomplete (N. Johnson)|
|10:47||3rd and 6||SYR 42||Play Action; Pass||Butler||Deep L||42 Yard Gain|
|10:28||1st and 10||CCSU 16||Run||Pierre||Off Tackle R||7 Yard Gain|
|10:11||2nd and 3||CCSU 9||Play Action; Pass||Culpepper||Screen L||Incomplete (N. Johnson)|
|10:06||3rd and 3||CCSU 9||Pass||Culpepper||Short M||Incomplete (Butler)|
|10:02||4th and 3||CCSU 9||Field Goal||Hofrichter||N/A||FG is Good|
|8:23||1st and 10||SYR 44||Run||N. Johnson||Reverse L||13 Yard Gain|
|8:08||1st and 10||CCSU 43||Pass||Butler||Screen L||3 Yard Gain; Fumble|
|5:51||1st and 10||SYR 17||Pass; Sack||Culpepper||N/A||7 Yard Loss; Fumble|
|5:40||1st and 10||SYR 21||Pass||Culpepper||Short L||Incomplete (Butler)|
|5:35||2nd and 10||SYR 21||Run||Pierre||Dive L||1 Yard Gain|
|5:07||3rd and 9||SYR 22||Play Action; Pass||Gilfus||Mid Range R||11 Yard Gain|
|4:50||1st and 10||SYR 33||Run||Pierre||End R||13 Yard Gain|
|4:33||1st and 10||SYR 46||Run||Pierre||End R||7 Yard Gain|
|4:04||2nd and 3||CCSU 47||Run||Pierre||Off Tackle R||3 Yard Gain|
|3:34||1st and 10||CCSU 44||Run||Pierre||Dive R||4 Yard Gain|
|3:14||2nd and 6||CCSU 41||Run||N. Johnson||Reverse L||10 Yard Gain|
|2:52||1st and 10||CCSU 31||Run||Culpepper||Dive R||8 Yard Gain|
|2:33||2nd and 2||CCSU 23||Pass||Avant||Screen L||2 Yard Gain|
|2:12||1st and 10||CCSU 21||Run||Culpepper||Dive R||2 Yard Gain|
|1:39||2nd and 8||CCSU 19||Option; Run||Stritzinger||End L||2 Yard Loss|
|1:09||3rd and 10||CCSU 21||Pass||Culpepper||Deep R||Incomplete (Gilfus)|
|0:59||4th and 11||CCSU 21||Field Goal||Murphy||N/A||FG is Good|
Play-Call Breakdown: 13 called runs, 12 called passes
Despite it being garbage time, we did see some nice things here as back-ups got work. Rex Culpepper was pretty accurate, with drops hurting his overall numbers. Markenzy Pierre showed some really nice vision with the ball, which helped opened up the run game a bit more. And Nykeim Johnson’s reverses were a cool fold that worked incredibly well. Culpepper ran a few times and even operated out of the option, which was strange. Perhaps he was running plays tailored to Zack Mahoney, however?
- Overall play-calling breakdown: 56 called passes vs. 38 called runs
- First half play-calling: 30 passes vs. 16 runs 26:22 in second half)
- First downs: 34 total (20 passing, 10 rushing, 4 penalty)
- First down play selection: 24 called passes, 20 called runs
- First down play selection on subsequent sets of downs: 17 called passes, 17 called runs
- First down plays for five or more yards: 25, which is more than any week last year (even the Pitt game)
- Second down play selection: 18 called passes, 12 called runs
- Third down play selection: 13 called passes, 6 called runs
- Third down conversion: 11-for-19 (6 passes, 4 runs, 1 penalty)
- Fourth down conversion: 1-for-1
- This week, 52 of Syracuse's 94 play calls (55.3 percent) took place in CCSU territory. The Orange made quick work of getting into Blue Devils territory on most drives.
- Even with minimal results in the run game until later, SU was effective out of play-action. Dungey started hot, connecting on several deeper strikes using it. Between him and Culpepper, they were a combined 14-for-21, with 181 yards and one touchdown.
- Syracuse had just six plays that went for 15 or more yards, but four of those went for more than 25 yards. That number’s lower on the big-play scale than some games last year, but the team also had 16 plays between 10 and 14 yards, which more than makes up for it.
- Including penalties, just five plays went for a loss, while just three gained a net zero yards.
- Syracuse was 8-for-8 in the red zone — tied for the best rate (on the most attempts) in the country. SU was also 7-for-7 vs. Pitt in the red zone, making them 15 of their last 15. That’s impressive. Worth noting that touchdown percentage still isn’t super high, however.
- The Orange had just three three-and-outs. Pretty solid work, gang.
While we thought Steve Ishmael could play a similar deep threat to what Amba Etta-Tawo did in last year’s offense, we were uncertain how he’d do in confined space. Ends up he’s doing exactly what Amba did there, too. Ishmael’s footwork and acceleration close to the line of scrimmage was impeccable, and led to several nice runs after the catch.
The high play count was a nice sign of things to come for Syracuse, since they hit that despite taking their foot off the gas a bit in the later stages. SU’s advantage comes from momentum and forcing teams to play at a speed they’re not comfortable with. It might just be CCSU here, but getting that practice in to force the tempo is great for the younger players especially.
Downfield blocking by the wide receivers was excellent and led to runs after the catch all around. The run game didn’t pick up much yardage after first contact, so the ability for wideouts to break tackles is going to be a big factor toward SU generating bigger plays.
We talked about it a little in the comments post-game, but Markenzy Pierre had some really nice field vision and was able to turn several of his runs into some solid gains. That’s a good sign for the future of the rushing attack, which was none too effective in week one otherwise.
Anything else that caught your eye above, or from watching the game yourself? Go ahead and add below.