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Yet Again, the Defense Needs to Step Up

The Orange will be looking to build off of a strong defensive performance against Wake Forest when they take on Central Michigan on Saturday.

Eric Dungey and the Syracuse offense wasn’t great against Wake Forest, but, when paired with a strong defensive performance was good enough to win the game. Expect more of the same as the Orange take the field against the Chippewas of Central Michigan.

Dungey won’t need to be spectacular, but his defense will need another strong showing if the Orange hope to improve to 3-0 and get half-way to the goal of six wins and a bowl game appearance. Though Syracuse’s offense exploded for two huge plays — a couple of long touchdowns to Brisly Estime and Steve Ishmael — it was the defense that, arguably, made the biggest play of the day, when Donnie Simmons turned the game on its head with a pick-6.

The incoming opponent is led by a quarterback who, though his team has enjoyed mixed results, has put up some pretty impressive numbers. Cooper Rush, a junior, has a passer rating of 136.8 through the first two games, completing almost 69% of his passes for three touchdowns and two interceptions.

The Syracuse secondary, which underwent a tremendous amount of turnover this off-season, is facing yet another test. There is no other way to say it; this is a must-win game for the Orange. In order to win, they need a strong defensive performance.

What makes the Central Michigan attack somewhat dangerous is that Rush has several weapons. Through two games, Central Michigan has five receivers with at least a half dozen catches. The Orange’s leading receiver, by comparison, has four receptions.

An offensive attack with plenty of weapons presents an entirely new challenge for a defense. It requires tremendous depth and discipline, which the Orange will have to prove they have on Saturday.

It should be a fresh challenge for the Orange defense, but if they are up to the challenge, the Orange should dispatch the Chippewas and improve to 3-0 on the season.

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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