#22 Syracuse football did what it had to do on Saturday: win. As a ranked team for the first time in more than a decade, SU could not fall to a .500 team that lost its influential quarterback to graduation coming into 2018.
The Orange has now exceeded the four-win threshold that is had been bound to or under for four years in a row. Not to punch an almost clich√© metaphor at this point, but if Dino Babers was serious about making cake batter in 2016 and baking that cake in 2017, that cake is out of the oven and being eaten at a party right now.
While his completion percentage was up there, Eric Dungey didn’t have his best day ever. One week after passing for nearly 500 yards against a ranked opponent, he threw for 157 yards, which by many standards is good. He didn’t throw a touchdown, however. Meanwhile, he also led the team in rushing (as usual, it seems) with 119 yards and and ran for a touchdown. By Dungey’s own standards based on what he’s been able to do over his four years at the helm, this number is almost underwhelming. This speaks to where this program has gone over the past few seasons.
Both Moe Neal and Donte Strickland ran for more than 60 yards to help the Orange cause.
SU converted on 10 of 22 third downs, which is an improvement from the last two weeks, but still needs work going forward to keep drives moving and to string plays together. Yet, the Orange managed to score 40 or more points for the third week in a row, scoring each of the six times Syracuse was in the red zone.
Syracuse’s pass rush was effective, sacking Demon Deacons quarterback five times for 28 yards. Meanwhile, SU’s pass defense could have been better, allowing three sacks for 14 yards.
This is clearly a new era for Syracuse football. The team is now 7-2 with three games to go. All the momentum seems to be going the Orange’s way.
Up next: a short week for Syracuse as Louisville visits the Carrier Dome on Friday night. Formerly an underdog in games against the Cardinals, SU has the upside entering this game.
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Published: David Edelstein