Yesterday marked Syracuse‚Äôs yearly tradition of hosting an FCS sacrificial lamb inside the Dome, and 2022‚Äôs edition did not disappoint. The Orange laid the lumber to Wagner College 59-0 in historic fashion to move to 5-0 for the first time in 35 years. Let‚Äôs break down some of the bigger numbers that led SU to victory – with emphasis on the ‚Äúbigger‚Äù.
One of the more trendy numbers to come out of SU‚Äôs romp over Wagner was that the game marked the first time since 1998 that the Orange did not punt even one time in a game. Indeed, Max Von Marburg did not see the field even once on Saturday, and marked just the 10th time in SU football history that the Orange didn‚Äôt punt in a contest.
8,757 is the number of days between Syracuse‚Äôs most recent punt-less game and its last back on October 10th, 1998. That year, the Orange reached No. 11 in the AP Poll and scored 70 and 66 points on different occasions – against Rutgers and Miami, respectively – but saved its most efficient day for Cincinnati in Week 5 in a neat bit of symmetry. The Orange hammered the Bearcats with 35 first-half points en route to a 63-21 victory. Donovan McNabb turned in a glittering 15-18, four-touchdown performance, while SU’s ground game racked up a collective 353 rushing yards.
An under-the radar record that Syracuse set against Wagner is again a credit to the Orange offense during a sparkling day. The Seahawks provided notably little resistance (and with just 50 total minutes of football played to show for it), but Syracuse still set a new mark for offensive efficiency unrivaled by any performance in program history, against an FCS team or otherwise. 11.1 represents a new team mark for yards-per-play in a game if Saturday‚Äôs contest is counted in record books despite its abbreviated second half.
If not, it‚Äôs still worth mentioning the impressiveness of the figure. Syracuse‚Äôs previous program record is 9.50 yards-per-play against Colgate in 2010. That day, running back Delone Carter picked up quarterback Ryan Nassib during an uncharacteristically slow day (8-15, 169 yards) to the tune of 172 rushing yards and four scores. SU nearly broke its per-play mark a year ago against UAlbany, but fell just 0.07 yards-per-play shy of a new record in a 62-24 victory.
One record-book worthy performance that won‚Äôt go down with an asterisk was the figure that Sean Tucker put up on the ground. After two plodding weeks against Purdue and Virginia in which he ran for just 102 yards, Tucker exploded against Wagner for a new career high 232 rushing yards despite playing just one second half offensive series.
The mark breaks Tucker‚Äôs previous high of 207, set against Boston College just last year, and moves him into sixth place all-time on SU‚Äôs single-game rushing list. The Top 10 single-game rushing performances in SU history now stack as follows:
|216||Larry Csonka||West Virginia||11/13/1965|
|213||Prince Tyson-Gulley||West Virginia||12/29/2012|
|207||Sean Tucker||Boston College||10/30/2021|
Finally, it‚Äôs time to showcase our largest number to date in the history of this two-year series. It‚Äôs befitting of an all-time Syracuse performance, despite the low level of competition Saturday. With its decisive margin of victory, Dino Babers and company pulled off something rare in the annals of SU football history – and something that the 2018 team, Donovan McNabb‚Äôs 1990s squads, or Don McPherson‚Äôs 1987 bunch could not do.
October 1st, 2022 marked the first time in 22,967 days that Syracuse beat a team by 59 or more points. In case you don‚Äôt have a calculator handy, you have to go all the way back to 1959 to find the last occurrence. In Week 8 of an eventual National Championship season, No. 1 ranked Syracuse bludgeoned Colgate 71-0 at Archbold Stadium before a crowd of 31,000. After the game, the team accepted an offer to play in the Cotton Bowl, where SU would win its first – and still only – national title.