I may never understand what happened tonight. And neither will you. Still, the Syracuse Orange beat the Western Michigan Broncos, 55-42.
Syracuse opened up the game on fire, and grabbed a 34-7 lead at halftime. Eric Dungey was nearly unstoppable on the ground. SU’s defense made the plays it needed to and kept getting the offense the ball back.
Then the second half happened, and... we felt like we were transported back in time to last year’s Wake Forest debacle.
Tommy DeVito had taken over late in the second quarter, and continued under center through most of the third, but to little avail. That would’ve been fine with a big lead, however, the defense completely collapsed. WMU scored 28 points in that third period, and if not for Dungey’s return, perhaps it could’ve been more. I know he doesn’t play defense, but as we’ve learned by now, this is how it works at SU.
The senior was not all that efficient passing, going 7-of-19. Though he still accounted for 184 yards through the air and two touchdowns. Syracuse’s ground game really led the way, and of course, that was due most to Dungey. He had a stunning 200 yards on the ground (a school record), plus one score. Moe Neal added over 80 while getting the lion’s share of carries, along with two touchdowns. Dontae Strickland had 38 yards and two touchdowns himself.
One concerning thing for SU’s pass game was the fact that no one but Jamal Custis really got involved. After four years of potential, he had six catches for 168 yards and two touchdowns. Ravian Pierce and Moe Neal were the only other players with two or more grabs (and they only had two each).
Defensively, Syracuse allowed 621 yards — the fourth straight game allowing at least 600. On the bright side, if there is one, Kielan Whitner and Antwan Cordy each intercepted a pass.
There’s a lot more to say about this puzzling game, but we’ll get to that later. Just breathe a sigh of relief for now.