After 30 minutes, the Syracuse Orange lead the Connecticut Huskies by a score of 31-14. That sounds exciting, sure, but it could also be a much larger lead for SU...
David Pindell and the UConn offense began marching down the field quickly on the first drive, but then the quarterback fumbled, leading to an Eric Dungey rushing touchdown on the other end. The Orange forced a punt and Dungey once again punched it in for another score shortly thereafter. Dungey would tack on score No. 3 near the four-minute mark in the first quarter, connecting with tight end Gabe Horan for a seven-yard touchdown.
But Pindell reeled off a 75-yard touchdown right after, and that made it a bit of a game. Syracuse added an Andre Szmyt field goal on the ensuing drive to make it 24-7 in favor of the Orange after one period.
Despite keeping up the momentum in the second quarter, though, SU also just sort of messed around for the next 15 minutes. They wound up with another score — Dungey’s third rushing touchdown of the game — but UConn also found the end zone again themselves. The last seven full drives of the quarter for both teams ended in punts.
Syracuse was close to scoring multiple times, though, as the offense put up an impressive 430 yards in the first half — including 250 on the ground (10.9 yards per carry). Jarveon Howard nearly had a long 52-yard touchdown, but he fumbled at the one, surrendering possession back to UConn. Officials also missed a clear pass interference call on a wide receiver pass from Nykeim Johnson to Devin Butler on a drive that ended in a punt.
Following three weeks of questions about his health, Dungey’s looked crisp in this one, rushing for 75 yards and three TDs, while adding 180 yards and another score on 16-of-20 passing. Those incompletions included at least one drop from Jamal Custis, who’s had a rough afternoon overall.
Though Dungey’s the leading rusher, Moe Neal is right behind at 68 yards on just six carries and very much feels like SU’s feature back. Howard and Dontae Strickland have also topped 50 yards on the ground in this game.
Receiving-wise, Sean Riley’s added to his dynamic day as a return man with four catches for 57 yards. Nykeim Johnson has 52 yards on five catches, and Taj Harris has two grabs for 35.
Defensively, Kielan Whitner leads the team in tackles with six (plus one TFL). Syracuse has seven tackles for loss on the game with five of those coming as sacks. Alton Robinson leads the way with two sacks so far, while Whitner, Antwan Cordy and Kendall Coleman have each chipped in one.
We’re here for the second half. Hopefully Syracuse clears up whatever was going on in the second quarter and puts this game away. When you have 200 more offensive yards than your opponent, one would think a team would be by considerably more than 17.