It was ugly and hard to watch sometimes, but somehow the Orange got the job done. It’s par for the course for Scott Shafer’s team so far, which somehow finds itself at 3-0 for the first time since 1991 after beating the Chippewas 30-27 in overtime.
Eric Dungey IS that good
Watching Dungey lie on the field of Carrier Dome while his teammates celebrated was one of the most bittersweet moments for SU fans who didn’t see the true freshman knocked out behind the play. Ultimately, as was the biggest story of the day, Dungey left the game with an upper body injury, as the coaches are calling it, and would not return. Before being removed from the game early in the second quarter, Dungey managed 96 yards on just 3-of-6 completions and a touchdown on its final play. Maybe the offense was as shaken up as the Dome faithful were after losing their quarterback, but from that point forwards, the offense looked terrible. Austin Wilson and Zack Mahoney split snaps for the rest of the game, but the two were only able to combine for 68 passing yards. The offense looked out of sync without Dungey under center, and it’s hard to imagine Syracuse winning three more games this season if the offense puts up a repeat performance without Dungey in the pocket. Here’s to a speedy recovery for the young quarterback.
The defensive line needs to be better
Against a MAC offensive line, the SU front struggled to win the battle. While Ron Thompson and Luke Arciniega managed two sacks a piece, Central Michigan was able to run the ball all day long and quarterback Cooper Rush had plenty of time inside and outside of the pocket to dissect the defense, especially on third down. Only on all-out blitzes, it seemed, did Rush have to improvise. The D-line failed to generate any push from the line of scrimmage which helped the Chippewas move the ball quickly and extend drives. CMU’s Devon Spalding and Jahray Hayes averaged a combined 4.3 yards per carry against a front seven that has been very stingy against the run this season. Next week when LSU rolls to town, superstar Leonard Fournette (who just ran for 228 yards on only 19 carries against Auburn) will have a field day against the SU defensive front if they do not improve on yesterday’s performance.
SU will find a way
In a game where a team loses its starting quarterback, its best receiver, and doesn’t manage a first down in the second half, it should have no business winning anything. Yet, the Orange battled every kind of adversity thrown its way and left fans on the edge of their seats until the last second when Jordan Fredericks stretched for the pylon in overtime. It’s not going to be pretty this year, but the Orange is halfway to a bowl appearance and it’s still September. Don’t count this team out until the clock strikes zero against Boston College.