It’s no secret that the expectations for Syracuse’s offense are sky high. Dino Babers’ new system has the Orange primed for an offensive outburst in 2016 and beyond. While it’s unreasonable to expect SU’s offense to match the production of Babers’ 2015 Bowling Green team, there’s still plenty to be excited about for Syracuse’s fast paced attack. The new head coach is inheriting an offense that was the 118th best in total offense, a huge step down from his previous unit that was ranked fourth in the country. But with these changes comes the potential for drastic statistical improvements.
Looking at the top guys at the three offensive skill positions, quarterback Eric Dungey and wide receiver Steve Ishmael are the names that stick out as the guys whose numbers should skyrocket. But there’s a slight advantage to Dungey because of how he can impact the game with his legs as well as through the air.
Last season, Dungey played just eight games due to injury, but still managed to rack up nearly 1,300 passing yards and more than 350 on the ground. While Babers’ old quarterback, Matt Johnson, puts Dungey’s aerial numbers to shame (he aired it out for nearly 5,000 yards last year), the Orange’s signal caller out rushed Johnson by almost 200 yards despite playing about half as many games as the Falcons’ quarterback. It will be exciting to see how Dungey’s running ability is utilized under Babers’ system. If the sophomore can stay healthy, he could rack up over 600 yards on the ground and sniff double digit rushing touchdowns.
In the passing attack, getting hurt is the only thing that will prevent Dungey from eclipsing his freshman totals of 1,298 yards and 11 touchdowns. Last season, Johnson nearly quadrupled both those figures. Dungey’s numbers should spike due to shear volume. Johnson never threw fewer than 29 attempts in 2015 and flirted with 60 passes on multiple occasions. On the other hand, Dungey never exceeded 34 tosses, and only surpassed 30 attempts three times. With a full season under Babers, an injury-free year and the likelihood that Syracuse will frequently be trailing, Dungey could top 3,000 passing yards and contend for 30 touchdowns. Injuries will always be the big question mark for the Oregon native, but if he can stay healthy, the ceiling is high for Dungey’s statistical campaign.