Eric Dungey and Central Michigan don’t have a good track record. Of all the times we’ve seen Dungey go down, this was arguably the scariest. Just take a look for yourself.
Regardless, Syracuse still won the game and in fact, Dungey threw a touchdown on that very play. However, the junior may still feel the need for revenge against a Chippewas program that has reached a bowl game in each of the last three years. Dungey’s performance against Middle Tennessee State was one of the most underwhelming we’ve seen during his tenure at SU, especially after his output in the opener against Central Connecticut State. Here are three things Dungey can do to lead a bounce back effort for the Orange:
Get Rid of the Ball
Syracuse was on the wrong end of six sacks last week, which may signal to poor offensive line play. However, that was not necessarily the case. In fact, Pro Football Focus named both of Syracuse’s guards (Sam Heckel and Evan Adams) as the two best interior linemen in the ACC in week two. There were numerous sacks that Dungey took where he was rolling out of the pocket towards the sideline and could have easily thrown it away, but instead, opted to be tackled behind the line of scrimmage. Dungey should have much more time to throw this week against a CMU team that has only recorded three sacks this season, but if the Chippewas dial up the pressure, Dungey has to make the smart play and throw the ball away.
Whenever Dungey’s name is thrown in a sentence with the word “run,” Syracuse fans hold their breath and turn their heads. However, while Dungey’s legs may be his most cringe-worthy attribute, they are also one of his most important. Last week, the quarterback had 19 rushing attempts, which is the second most of his career. However, they were largely unproductive aside from his 29-yard touchdown run, which accounted for more than half of Dungey’s yards. The most rushing attempts Dungey has made came against then 17th ranked Virginia Tech last season en route to the Orange’s biggest win of the season. Why did Dungey’s legs help win the game? Because he was efficient with his rushes. That game is the only one which Dungey has eclipsed the century mark in rushing yards and he did so in 24 carries. Of course the Oregon native’s health is important, but Dino Babers said that “you can’t be afraid when you play this game,” and he’s certainly right. Dungey is just as likely to get hurt on a sack as he is running the ball. He can’t become one dimensional for his own good, as well as the team’s.
Get Erv Philips the Ball
At the moment, Steve Ishmael has assumed the Amba Etta-Tawo replacement role. He currently leads the nation in receptions and is in the top ten in yards. However, that doesn’t necessarily make him the most dangerous weapon on the team, it just means he’s been given the most opportunity. Last season, Erv Philips caught 90 passes which would have blown the previous SU single-season record of 72 out of the water if it weren’t for his teammate Etta-Tawo catching four more than him. At the moment, Ishmael is getting all the love in the red zone, yet he hasn’t caught a touchdown. Philips thrives in space and is great with yards after catch. If Dungey looks to him early in red zone drives, Philips elusiveness can help alleviate the Orange’s goal line woes.