Syracuse football is undefeated.
Yeah, it’s only 1-0. And, no matter how much the SU coaching staff might have talked this game up as some good ‘ole competitive play, truly we knew this was basically the Orange’s preseason game.
destroyed defeated Central Connecticut State 50-7. The only blemish of the night came when the SU defense gave up a 24-yard passing touchdown to the Blue Devils on a fourth down attempt in the third quarter.
Eric Dungey showed little rust in his first game back since November 5 of last year when he was taken out against Clemson after a hard hit. He went 28-36 through the air for 328 yards. He threw three touchdowns, one being a 52-yarder to Moe Neal that is arguably the play of the game. And he rushed in two more touchdowns and led the team with 51 yards on the ground.
This is the seventh game Dungey has thrown at least 300 yards in his career, equalling Ryan Nassib, a guy who was drafted in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Steve Ishmael tied his career high receptions in one game at eight by halftime. He ended the game with 12 catches for 134 yards.
Rex Culpepper got some reps in at quarterback during the game as well. He replaced Dungey under center just before the end of the third quarter and played until the game clock ran out.
Culpepper completed nine passes on 16 attempts for 103 yards. His highlight was a 42-yard pass to Devin C. Butler during a fourth quarter drive that resulted in a field goal.
Yet while Dino Babers said the Orange passing game was “really effective and … was really working,” Dungey said he and his receivers “are not satisfied.”
In the postgame press conference, Babers said that he was “disappointed” SU couldn’t run ball better. On 41 total attempts, Syracuse ran a net gain of 155 yards (3.8 yards per carry). Taking Dungey’s numbers out of the equation, the Orange got 3.25 yards per carry.
And speaking of runs, Dungey again put on the theatrics. On one play, he flipped right over a defender.
In the postgame press conference, Dungey explained that the defender was aiming to tackle him at the knees, so instead of taking the impact of the low hit, he purposefully rolled forward out of the way, landing on his shoulder.
“You can’t play football and not get hit,” Dungey said, laughing. “You have to play smart, but, I’m working on it.”
Babers was able to laugh it off as well. “I hope it’s out of his system,” Babers said, smiling. “He only flipped once? We’re getting better.”
But Babers isn’t joking around about Antwan Cordy who did get injured and was removed from the game. Not wanting to discuss scenarios where Cordy’s injury might be serious, Babers instead mentioned that in a blowout game like this one, he was simply not going to put a top performer back on the field without being sure he is at full strength. Babers said he is happy the Orange has depth on the defense that could fill in for Cordy, and he expects him back soon.
Going back to last season against Pittsburgh, Syracuse has now scored 50 or more points two games in a row. The last time SU did that was week 3 and 4 of the 2013 season against Wagner (54) and Tulane (52).
Still, Babers said he is looking for — he is expecting — improvement.
“Football teams grow the most between their first and second game,” Babers said. “We’re looking for a lot of growth coming into our next game versus Middle Tennessee.”
Published: David Edelstein