Syracuse was rolling. True freshman Eric Dungey looked like he had been playing in front of the Carrier Dome faithful for years. With SU up 10-3 over CMU in the second quarter Dungey threw a short pass to running back Dontae Strickland who took the ball 25 yards for a touchdown.
As SU fans roared, the Orange‚Äôs quarterback laid in the backfield. Chippewa defensive lineman Mitch Stanitzek had drilled Dungey in the head well after SU‚Äôs quarterback completed his pass to Strickland. That hit ended both players‚Äô afternoons. Dungey didn‚Äôt return due to injury and Stanitek was ejected. Receiver Steve Ishmael also left the in the second quarter and did not return with a neck injury.
The Orange resorted to both Austin Wilson and Zack Mahoney in the absence of Dungey. The unit did not look the same without the freshman quarterback though. Later in the second quarter Wilson threw a fade to receiver Jamal Custis in the end zone putting SU up 24-10. Those were the only points Syracuse would put on the board for the remainder of regulation.
In the second half, CMU went on two 90 plus yard touchdown drives to tie the game. The first TD came in the third quarter on a short run from Devon Spaulding making the score 24-17. The second one came at the end of regulation. Syracuse took a timeout with 15 seconds left in the game following a Luke Arciniega sack. Central Michigan did not have any timeouts left at that point and on the ensuing play quarterback Cooper Rush threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to receiver Ben McCord to tie the game. Postgame Scott Shafer said he called the time out because, ‚ÄúI didn‚Äôt feel good about where we were at.‚Äù
Central Michigan had plenty of other chances to score points in the second half, but Syracuse‚Äôs defense came up big. Parris Bennett recovered a Cooper Rush fumble in the third and Zaire Franklin picked off Rush in the fourth to keep the Orange in the game.
In overtime SU‚Äôs defense held Central Michigan to a field goal on the first possession of the extra period. On the ensuing possession walk on quarterback Zack Mahoney pitched the ball to Jordan Fredericks who scampered into the end zone winning the game for SU. The final score from the Dome was 30-27 in favor of the Orange. Syracuse is 3-0 for the first time since 1991.
After the game Scott Shafer said, ‚ÄúWe‚Äôre 3-0. We found a way.‚Äù Syracuse certainly did find a way to win this one without having its exciting true freshman quarterback under center for most of the game. Next week the banged up Orange welcomes LSU to the Dome. Syracuse is yet to lose a game, but after today‚Äôs contest this season is starting to feel a lot more like 2014‚Ä¶yikes.
Posted: Connor Morrissette