If it was supposed to be a secret, it wasn’t very well kept in the months leading up to the Syracuse football season: Dino Babers can run an offense. When he was first hired, he seemed too good to be true. This up-and-coming coach can turn even the worst of offenses into powerhouses… and he’s coming to Syracuse? It seemed too good to be true (and as the defense has shown us, there is definitely another side to the coin), but Babers really has brought a high-tempo offense to the Carrier Dome. Syracuse football is now — if nothing else — fun to watch, which you couldn’t say in the years under Scott Shafer.
As expected, the new offense has brought numbers to the Hill never before seen. Here’s a look at some of the players who have seen the biggest jump over last season.
Let’s get this one out of the way. Etta-Tawo has been, statistically, the best wide receiver in the nation. He leads the country in receiving yards, and lands in the top five in both receptions and receiving touchdowns. In the last two seasons at Maryland he caught one touchdown, while he has six in his first five games in Orange. Before this season, his game-high was 71 receiving yards. This year, he’s topped 100 yards in every game. With almost twice as many receiving yards this season as he had in two years combined at Maryland, Etta-Tawo is on his way to being the biggest success in the history of graduate transfers.
It’s not just that Eric Dungey is throwing for more yards this season (1730 in five games; good for best in the ACC and No. 5 in the nation), it’s that he’s doing it with more efficiency. Dungey’s completion percentage is at 64.3, up five points from last season. He’s even managed to keep steady at 7.5 yards per attempt. He’s also already matched his rushing touchdown total (5) from all of last season.
Quietly, sophomore Dontae Strickland has put together quite the season for himself. Eighth on the team in yards from scrimmage as a freshman, the running back has jumped up to third on that list (behind Etta-Tawo and Erv Phillips) this season. Strickland already has three times the carries he tallied last season, and is now the primary back for the Orange. Strickland has more touches than any running back or wide receiver on the roster.
Posted: Nathan Dickinson