Believe it or not, some Syracuse fans don‚Äôt have an extensive knowledge of the Central Michigan football team. Luckily, this week‚Äôs edition of By The Numbers has you covered. Here‚Äôs a look at what you need to know about Central Michigan going into tomorrow‚Äôs game.
This is, of course, the score of last year‚Äôs meeting between the Orange and the Chippewas. Central Michigan led 3-0 after the first quarter, but after that it was all Orange. Syracuse was dominate in the game, and even when Central Michigan had the lead there was never any doubt about who the better team was. Terrel Hunt threw for 175 yards, but ran for 93 more and three touchdowns. The Chippewas weren‚Äôt able to convert anything on offense, and ended the game with only 34 rushing yards. These are obviously two different teams, but it will still be a lot of the same key players from last year on the field tomorrow. Hopefully history repeats itself.
Central Michigan has a total of 152 rushing yards after two games this season. That isn‚Äôt good. The Chippewas are averaging 2.5 yards per carry on the year, and Martez Walker leads the team with only 59 yards on the ground. The Orange are by no means set on the defensive line, but there‚Äôs no reason why Syracuse shouldn‚Äôt be able to stop the run in this game. If they can, the line will be able to focus on stopping Central Michigan‚Äôs more versatile passing game.
Where the running game has been miserable for Central Michigan, the passing game has been able to pick up the slack. Third-year starter Cooper Rush has completed an efficient 68.8 percent of his passes, and has shown throughout his career how he can dominate a game. In the Bahama Bowl last season, Rush threw for 493 yards and seven touchdowns in a 49-48 loss to Western Kentucky. Rush is without a doubt Syracuse‚Äôs biggest concern going intothe game given his ability to carry the team on his back. If Syracuse wants to have the same success against Central Michigan it did last season, it will have to again be able to keep Cooper Rush in check.
The number on everyone‚Äôs mind, however, is 3-0. A win tomorrow keeps Syracuse‚Äôs undefeated season alive, and matches the teams win total from all of last season halfway into September. Central Michigan is a must-win game if Syracuse wants the six wins needed to make a bowl game, and the Orange have to at least be starting to think about a bowl game with the way it‚Äôs started.
Posted: Nathan Dickinson