After a shaky start that saw Syracuse fall behind 7-0 against Colgate on Friday night, the Orange offense woke up and cruised to a 33-7 victory. Eric Dungey was brilliant for entire game, completing about 85% of his passes and tossing for over three hundred yards and two touchdowns. Wide out Amba Etta-Tawo dazzled with 12 receptions (including a spectacular grab on the sidelines) for 210 yards and a touchdown. Yet, there was a somewhat troubling trend for Syracuse in the game.
Looking at the scoreboard, it would suggest that the Orange dominated. They certainly did. However, the scoreline should have been even more lopsided than it was. The reason the Orange put up 33 points instead of 40 plus is because of a familiar issue; Red Zone efficiency. Three times Syracuse got into the Red Zone and failed to punch the ball into the end zone. Throw in a 41 yard field goal, and Syracuse had four trips inside the Colgate 25 that resulted in three points, instead of six.
Obviously, this was not a problem for Syracuse against Colgate. After Dungey led the Orange down the field to tie the game in the first quarter, the Raiders had no answer and the game was, realistically, over by halftime. Unfortunately, for the Orange, things will only get more difficult going forward.
It really starts next week when Syracuse hosts Louisville on Friday night. Lamar Jackson, the Louisville quarterback, put up eight touchdowns in the first half against Charlotte on Thursday night. It is not likely Jackson will march up and down the field as easily against the Orange, but the Cardinals will put up points. In order to stay in the game, Syracuse cannot afford to settle for field goals when they get deep into Louisville territory.
Eric Dungey stressed after the game that Syracuse didn’t do enough and he said he wasn’t particularly happy with the performance. With all that said, there certainly were plenty of positives to take away from the first game of the season. The offense did move the ball well and Dungey looked very comfortable in the new offense. There is just something that the Orange have to improve on if they are to pull off an upset or two down the road.