Syracuse is 4-2 going into the bye week. There were ups, there were downs, but these 11 players deserve high praise for their first halves to the season.
1. Eric Dungey
Last week at Pitt was a sub-par from Dungey. But when a bad week is leading your team to 37 points on the road, you’re doing something right. Dungey’s QB rating is a healthy 134.40, and he’s leading the team in rushing again, averaging about 72 yards on the ground per game. He’s the clear MVP if the season ended today.
2. Alton Robinson
Robinson has been a major force coming off the edge. He’s tied with Kendall Coleman for the team lead in sacks with six. Robison gets the nod here because he has done a little more than Coleman in other areas. The Texas product has more tackles and quarterback hurries. Plus, he’s forced two fumbles.
3. Andre Cisco
A freshman comes in at number three. Cisco’s four interceptions is tied with two others for the nation’s lead. The free safety also leads the team with three pass breakups. If he keeps this up, he’s a bonafide ballhawk. Cisco struggled to tackle Pitt’s power back Quadree Ollison on a few occasions last week, which keeps him behind Robinson.
4. Kendall Coleman
A revelation this season. Coleman has been nearly as dominant as Robinson.
5. Andre Szymt
Another NCAAF individual statistics leader. Szymt has hit more field goals than any kicker in the country (16). The next best kicker has 13. Three of Szmyt’s field goals are from 50 yards or longer. And the freshman has only missed his mark once. Impeccable stuff.
6. Jamal Custis
There’s a drop off in the rankings here, but Custis has consistently been the Orange’s best receiver. While he hasn’t lived up to the 168 yard, two touchdown pace he set in week one against Western Michigan, he deserves a spot on this list.
7. Christopher Fredrick
The cornerback has surpassed expectations. Fredrick has logged two interceptions and been a solid defensive back in coverage.
8. Moe Neal
Neal looks improved from last season. He has shown he’s the rightful starting running back over Donte Strickland. But in SU’s two losses, the junior has been held under 40 rushing yards.
9. Kielan Whitner
It’s hard to give this linebacker corps a lot of credit. Syracuse has struggled to stop the run and a lot of that has to fall on this group. Whitner deserves some praise, however. He’s the Orange’s leading tackler (52) by a wide margin.
10. Sean Riley
As a returner, Riley has helped lead the Orange to the third best special teams efficiency in the country. He’s also getting it done in the slot, leading the team in receptions.
11. Sterling Hofrichter
Hofrichter is only a punter. But punters are people too. And Syracuse has a darn good one.