Student Reporting Archive

Orange Men Use Strong Second Half to Take Care of Owls

November 7, 2017

Story by Jude Allume Photos by Dominique Patrick SYRACUSE, N.Y. —  The Syracuse Orange blew out the Southern Connecticut State University Owls despite a slow start, 84-59 at the Carrier Dome in its final exhibition game, Monday night at the Carrier Dome. It was the second straight blowout victory against a division II opponent for the Orange, but also the second […]

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Story by Jude Allume

Photos by Dominique Patrick

SYRACUSE, N.Y. —  The Syracuse Orange blew out the Southern Connecticut State University Owls despite a slow start, 84-59 at the Carrier Dome in its final exhibition game, Monday night at the Carrier Dome.

It was the second straight blowout victory against a division II opponent for the Orange, but also the second straight game the offense was out of sync to start off, as the Orange trailed for the entire first half.



Owls Come Out Strong


Southern Connecticut came out the locker rooms with more energy to start the game, collecting five offensive rebounds and forcing three turnovers as they jumped out to an early 11-0 lead.

“It’s effort,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said. “Sometimes with young guys they don’t understand the level of intensity that you have to play with. It takes a little while, we have to learn that pretty quickly.”

It wasn’t until more than four minutes had already gone by that the Orange scored its first points of the game, when Oshae Brissett gathered a missed three-pointer by Tyus Battle and laid it in for the bucket and a foul.

The Owls wouldn’t let up, however, as they built their lead to 15 points with the score at 27-12 and just over five minutes left to play in the first half.

Junior guard Isaiah McLeod led the way for the Owls, with 10 first-half points.

Defense Sets The Tone


With the offense failing to consistently score, Syracuse switched to its full court press defense hoping it would spark the offense as it did in the last game for the Orange.

“We couldn’t score,” Boeheim said. “So we might as well try and get a turnover, see if we can get something that way, that would help.”

While the defense was effective, it didn’t provide the spark on offense Syracuse was looking for. The Orange forced 20 turnovers on the night, but only converted them into ten points.

The Orange also blocked 11 shots for the game, led by freshman Bourama Sidibe with five.

A Tale of Two Halves


Syracuse didn’t do anything well in the first half and trailed the Owls in almost every statistical category, with Boeheim taking notice of rebounding in particular.

“We just didn’t make hustle plays.” Boeheim said. “We didn’t rebound and when that happens and you’re not working at this game, it doesn’t matter who you’re playing.”

In the second half, Syracuse came out a different team. The Orange built on the momentum at the end of the first when SU finished on a 9-0 run. The Orange started the second half on a 14-3 run to overtake the lead and never looked back as the rout was on.

Syracuse more than doubled its first half point total of 24, scoring 60 in the second half on a much in improved 57-percent shooting from the field.

Top Performers

It was a rough night shooting the ball for sophomore guard Tyus Battle. He shot just 26 percent from the field on 4 of 15 shooting.

“I was just missing shots,” Battle said. “I just gotta keep on shooting the ball, stop taking as many threes and start trying to take the ball to the basket and get to the foul line. The shots not gonna fall every night.”

Battle still led the Orange in scoring with 20 points thanks to a solid night at the free throw line where he went 10 for 10.

Junior guard Frank Howard finished second in scoring for the game with 19 points for the Orange.

Isaiah Mcleod paced the Owls with 18 points before fouling out.

The Season Begins

The Orange will kick off the regular season this Friday at the Carrier Dome against Cornell University at 7 p.m..

Jim Boeheim’ son Jimmy is expected to make his debut in the game starting at forward for Cornell.

The Owls’ next game will also be their season opener on Wednesday Nov.15 against the College of Saint Rose.

Syracuse Falls Short in Tallahassee Thriller

November 5, 2017

Story By Jonathan Singh  Photos By Tommy Farrell    Tallahassee, Fla. –  In a game that came down to the final seconds of regulation, the Syracuse Orange (4-5, 2-3 ACC) fell short once again on the road. Cole Murphy’s 43-yard, game tying field goal attempt, with six seconds left, was wide left. The Florida State Seminoles (3-5, […]

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Story By Jonathan Singh 

Photos By Tommy Farrell 

 

Tallahassee, Fla. –  In a game that came down to the final seconds of regulation, the Syracuse Orange (4-5, 2-3 ACC) fell short once again on the road. Cole Murphy’s 43-yard, game tying field goal attempt, with six seconds left, was wide left.

The Florida State Seminoles (3-5, 3-4 ACC) picked up a much needed win over the Orange. Dino Babers and company, continue winless on the road in a season where the ‘Cuse hasn’t been able to pick up a victory outside of the “Loud House.” 

Dungey Down, Seminoles Strike 

Eric Dungey was the story of the first quarter for the Orange. The junior lasted one drive as it was capped off by a Derwin James interception.

This was the start the struggling Seminoles were looking for. Dungey did not return for the rest of the quarter as he walked his way into the Syracuse locker room under his own power, limping on his right foot.

Senior Zach Mahoney would step in under center for the remainder of the quarter until Dungey returned from the locker room.

“I am not going to talk about the injury but he did a fantastic job on coming back and battling. Obviously he wasn’t 100 percent but he was out there giving us his arm and giving him his leadership, and giving us his decisions making skills. He did a fantastic job.” Babers said.

Across the field it would be Florida State’s James Blackman finding Nyqwan Murray for a 51-yard strike into the end zone, giving the Seminoles an early 7-0 lead following a Ricky Aguayo extra point.

The FSU defense would take advantage of Mahoney the next two possessions, harassing him in the pocket, keeping the Orange off the scoreboard for the remainder of the quarter.

 

Akers Adds a Couple, Orange Respond

Cam Akers tailed for two scores for the Seminoles in the second quarter. A 54-yard touchdown run with 13:38 remaining in the first half was the longest of the freshman’s career, until he broke off a 63-yard run later in the second quarter.

“I think good backs, you’ve got to tackle them. I think one good run Peanut Butter (Parris Bennett) missed a tackle. Good runners make tacklers miss, and they got big plays. I think we did a better job of tackling in the second half.” Babers said.

Akers finished the half with 159 yards on the ground.

Syracuse would rally back off the limping foot of Dungey. A 47-yard strike to Jamal Custis would cut the score in half. A few possessions later, Dungey fired a 34-yard pass to Steve Ishmael to send the Orange into the locker room trailing 21-14.

 

Kickers Duel 

The scoring in the third quarter would come off the legs of Cole Murphy and Ricky Aguayo. Murphy made it a four-point game with a field goal from 42-yards out cutting the lead to 21-17.

On the other end Aguayo nailed a crucial field goal from 49-yards to conclude the second half padding the Seminoles lead to 24-17.

 

A Late Rally Ends Wide Left

In a quarter filled with strong defense for both teams, it would be the final three minutes of the contest that had the fans on the edge of their seats.

Dungey rallied the Orange to a 14-play 75-yard drive, which resulted in a 3-yard quarterback keeper into the end zone, cutting the score to 27-24.

Babers elected to onside kick on the ensuing kickoff. The choppy kick was recovered by Derwin James, setting the Seminoles up with great field position at midfield. Syracuse’s defense would come up strong and force a punt later that drive.

“I said wait a minute, let’s see if we can get them with an onside kick. I know the percentages are low.” Babers said.

Dungey and the offense took the field with 1:23 remaining in the game with the ball at their own 18-yard line. After a couple of quick strikes to Steve Ishmael, Syracuse was able to drive down field spotting the ball at the Seminole 25-yard line. It would be the final six seconds remaining in regulation that would set up a Cole Murphy potential game tying kick.

The snap was good, the hold was great and the kick was wide. Murphy shanked the kick wide left from 43-yards out as Florida State stormed the field with the joy of victory. The Orange remained on the sidelines after coming up short yet again on the road.

 

Back To The Dome 

Syracuse heads home to host Wake Forest November 11th as they look to make a push for a Bowl Game. The Orange need to win two of their next three games if they want to find themselves playing in the post season.

The schedule does not get easier for Dino Babers and the Orange as they then head down to Louisville to take on Lamar Jackson and the Cardinals.

The final regular season game will conclude when Boston College comes to the Dome, in a game which can potentially determine their season.

 

Orange Ease Past Southern New Hampshire

November 5, 2017

Story by Peter Benson Photos by Ivan Traczuk   SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Syracuse men’s basketball team kicked off the 2017-18 season at the Carrier Dome on Wednesday night, with an easy 84-54 victory against Southern New Hampshire. The visiting Penmen came out strong, but after the Orange shook off some early-season rust, they never looked back. Head […]

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Story by Peter Benson

Photos by Ivan Traczuk

 

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Syracuse men’s basketball team kicked off the 2017-18 season at the Carrier Dome on Wednesday night, with an easy 84-54 victory against Southern New Hampshire.

The visiting Penmen came out strong, but after the Orange shook off some early-season rust, they never looked back. Head Coach Jim Boeheim was pleased with the effort in the first outing of the year. “Overall, it was a good first step,” Boeheim said.

Inside Out

Everything worked inside out. Center Paschal Chukwu and forward Bourama Sidibe rotated as rim protector at the five spot, and their presence forced Southern New Hampshire to take outside shots.

With the Penmen out on the perimeter, Syracuse’s depth at the guard spot proved too much. The majority of minutes went to starters Frank Howard and Tyus Battle, the two guards stopping the players opposite them, Chris Walters and Charlie Russo.

Any time Southern New Hampshire did venture inside, they found the rim protection lurking. Syracuse recorded an astonishing 16 blocks with Chukwu and Sidibe grabbing six each.

“It’s something we work on in practice,” Chukwu said.

“We hadn’t blocked that many shots in a long time,” Boeheim added. “These two guys are pretty good shot blockers.”

 

Local Boy

Southern New Hampshire’s Charlie Russo had a disappointing performance. The Syracuse local shot just 1-10 before hitting three straight in the final three minutes.

Russo interned in the Syracuse basketball office and was an integral reason the two teams organized an exhibition game against each other.

 

Offensive Movement

Early in the first half, most of the offense went through Battle. As Syracuse was shaking off the offseason rust, the sophomore helped ignite the offense with an early surge of 11 points in the first 10 minutes.

It didn’t take long for the Orange to begin to move the ball on offense, getting other players involved. Oshae Brissett finished with 17 points and 11 boards while Frank Howard, Howard Washington and Bourama Sidibe all finished with double digit points.

 

Exhibition Game

Syracuse returned only one starter this season — Battle — and will be forced to navigate the ACC with a roster that hasn’t played a lot of minutes together.  Exhibition games are important to the players trying to get a feel for each other ahead of the regular season.

“With these guys, it makes a big difference,” Boeheim said.

In a game where there was very little in the way of flashiness — a Tyus Battle dunk early in the first half and the blocks — coach was still happy to get the win.

“I think there were a lot of positives,” Boeheim said. “This was a good first effort.”

 

Up Next

The Orange have another exhibition against Southern Connecticut State on Monday, Nov. 6 before their regular season tips off against Cornell on Friday, Nov.10 at the Carrier Dome.

 

Hurricanes Hold Off Orange in Miami

October 23, 2017

Story by Monica Ortiz Photos by Peyton Zeigler Miami Gardens, Fla. —  Despite a late game surge, Syracuse fell to No. 8  Miami Hurricanes on a sloppy field at Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday. After beating the defending national champion Clemson Tigers eight days earlier Syracuse (4-4, 2-2 ACC) faced another top-ten opponent; this time on the […]

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Story by Monica Ortiz

Photos by Peyton Zeigler

Miami Gardens, Fla. —  Despite a late game surge, Syracuse fell to No. 8  Miami Hurricanes on a sloppy field at Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday.
After beating the defending national champion Clemson Tigers eight days earlier Syracuse (4-4, 2-2 ACC) faced another top-ten opponent; this time on the road and came up just short, losing 27-19.
The SU defense and place kicker Cole Murphy kept Syracuse in the game as Orange quarterback Eric Dungey threw four interceptions and was consistently pummeled by the Miami defense.
“The defense played a great game; offensively we have to help them out,” Dungey said. “But Miami is a great team. Bruises will heal but I just want to win.”
 
The Difference 

The Orange offense struggled to keep the ball in the first half. In addition to Dungey’s four interceptions Miami forced two punts.  Dungey kept it from potentially becoming worse as, after the first  interception he ripped the ball away from the Miami defender Demetrius Johnson, allowing Syracuse to keep the ball with a new set of downs. But that ended in a punt and Miami drove from its own 25-yard line to the Syracuse one before the Orange defense stuffed the Hurricanes, forcing them to take a chip shot field goal and a 3-0 lead.

That’s how it stood as the first quarter ended but Miami (6-0, 4-0 ACC) was driving and finished it off with a 10-yard pass from Malik Rosier, Jr. to tight end Chris Herndon and a 10-0 lead.

Dungey was picked off again and while the defense held Miami to a 39-yard field goal with 10:41 left in the second quarter Miami was up 13-0.

Syracuse drove but when Steve Ishmael was injured as he tried unsuccessfully to hold onto a pass in the end zone, the Orange turned to Murphy, who delivered a 22-yard field goal giving Syracuse a glimpse of hope, trailing 13-3 at the half.

Third quarter

Syracuse stopped Miami’s opening possession and drove to the Hurricanes’ 22-yard line, but passes to Irv Phillips and Steve Ishamel went incomplete and on fourth and five Murphy hit a 40-yard field goal, making it 13-6.

After an exchange of punts, the ‘Canes struck again after Braxton Berrios returned Sterling Hofrichter punt to the UM 47. Two-plays later, Rosier hit Jeff Thomas for a 48-yard touchdown and after the extra point Miami led 20-6.

Syracuse responded with its only touchdown with a six-play, 65-yard drive featuring runs by Dungey of 28 and 14 yards, and capped by a 15-yard burst by Moe Neal into the end zone. Murphy’s kick was good and it was 20-13 in favor of Miami. Twice in the game Dungey tried to hurdle would-be tacklers, crashing into them full-bore.

 

Fourth quarter: a one-point game

The Syracuse defense stopped Miami and the Orange drove for another Murphy field goal, this one from 45 yards. Miami led 20-16.

The Miami drive stalled after two first downs and Syracuse got the ball back and drove again.

This time the ‘Canes stopped the Orange at the UM 35 and Murphy came back on to the muddy, sloppy field again, this time to try one from 53 yards out.

And hit.

 

And then

 Miami immediately answered with a touchdown on a nine-play, 85-yard drive, but it was still a one-possession game at 27-19.

On the next drive for the Orange, Dungey connected to Devin Butler for 22 yards, giving Syracuse a first down. But on the last SU series, a fourth-down pass to Irv Phillips along the right sideline was ruled incomplete and was short of the first down marker anyway. That put Miami in victory formation to run out the clock.

“We found another way to make it really exciting,” said Miami head coach Mark Richt, whose team stayed unbeaten after a third consecutive close game. “Part of the reason was Syracuse is a really good football team. We’ve seen what they can do, especially last week with Clemson, but everybody that’s played them this year has been just talking about them and how much harder they’re playing now and with a purpose now.

“Not that they didn’t last year, but they’re a better team from what people say, from a year ago. It’s a tribute to what Coach [Dino] Babers is doing over there.”

“Obviously, [they are] a fabulous football team,” Babers said of the Hurricanes. “We had our difficulties shaking some people off in man‐to‐man coverage. Four turnovers in the first half, giving them great field position and putting our defense in a bad situation. Came back and played a better second half of football, but when you’re playing a team like this you got to score touchdowns, not kick field goals if you’re going to beat a team that’s ranked in the top 10.”

Orange Defense

Despite four turnovers by the Orange’s offense the defense held the Hurricanes to 27 points, only allowing Miami to score a touchdown off one of those turnovers.
“I think the defense played well,” said senior linebacker Paris Bennett, who had ten tackles for Syracuse. “We have a lot to improve on, but four turnovers and holding them to only 27, that’s big,”
What impressed Bennett was Cole Murphy.

“That’s my guy. I’ve never doubted Cole. I always felt he was a great kicker. They were big and they were outside. I was counting on him. We were all counting on him to capitalize.”

Making the field goals count

Murphy connected on four out of four field goals tries, 22 yards being the shortest. The next three were more than 40 yards, with the longest at 53 in the fourth  quarter, putting Syracuse within a point of Miami. Overall Murphy made 12 out of the 19 points for Syracuse.

What’s next

Syracuse has a bye week coming up, but the Orange will face Florida State (2-4, 2-3 ACC) in Tallahassee on Nov. 4. Syracuse is now third in the ACC Atlantic behind Clemson and N.C. State with a league record of 2-2.

HBO Boxing After Dark Brings Hard-Hitting Action to Central New York

October 23, 2017

Story and photos by Jose Cuevas Verona, N.Y. — A new champion was crowned Saturday night as HBO Boxing after Dark returned to the Turning Stone Resort and Casino. That was just one of nine fights on the card including a match that was televised to the live crowd from across the pond in Belfast, Ireland. It was a […]

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Story and photos by Jose Cuevas

Verona, N.Y. — A new champion was crowned Saturday night as HBO Boxing after Dark returned to the Turning Stone Resort and Casino.

That was just one of nine fights on the card including a match that was televised to the live crowd from across the pond in Belfast, Ireland.

It was a night that started with a TKO, included a fighter who came to the ring in a wolf mask and ended with a new champion’s fans waving the flag of Puerto Rico in the arena.
Results

Here is the fight card with the result of each bout:

Preliminary Bouts:

 Lightweights in a six-round bout Michael Dutchover (5-0, 4 KOs) defeated Anthony De Jesus (2-3, 2 KOs) via TKO in the fourth round.

Superfeatherweights in a six-round bout. Ruben Villa (7-0, 4 KOs) defeated German Meraz(54-44-1 34 KOs) via unanimous decision

 

Super Lightweights in a six-round bout Luis Feliciano (3-0) defeated Istvan Dernanecz (10-6, 7 KOs) via TKO in the second round.

 

Middleweights in a four-round bout Alex Rincon (2-0, 2 KOs) defeated Steven Andrade (3-2, 2 KOs) via TKO in the second round.

Light Heavyweights in a ten-round bout D’Mitrius Ballard (17-0, 12 KOs) defeated Jaime Solorio (9-3-2, 6 KOs) via unanimous decision

Lightweights in a ten-round bout Lamont Roach (14-0, 5 KOs) defeated Luis Hinojosa (20-12, 17 KOs) via TKO (doctor stoppage due to injury) in the first round

Middleweights in a twelve-round bout Demetrius Andrade (24-0, 16 KOs) defeated Alantez Fox (23-0-1, 11 KOs) via unanimous decision

Super Featherweights in a twelve-round bout Alberto Machado (18-0, 15 KOs) defeated Jezreel Corrales (22-1, 8 KOs) for the WBA Super Featherweight Title via KO in the eighth round

*Jezreel Corrales was stripped of the WBA belt after being four pounds over the 130 pound limit.

 

 

Notable Fights

 

Ruben Villa versus German Meraz

With a record of (54-44-1) Meraz is what many consider a journeyman; he’s a tough guy who will probably never reach the highest echelon of boxing. However, Meraz celebrated an accomplishment on Saturday that not many fighters can claim. Saturday was his 100th professional bout. Villa won a comfortable unanimous decision against Meraz, but the accomplishment is still an impressive one.

 

D’Mitrius Ballard versus Jaime Solorio

In Boxing it is customary for prospects to face journeymen in their first couple of pro fights. This is to see if they are the real deal and to prepare them for bigger fights that come down the road. D’Mitrius “Big Meech” Ballard was the prospect heading into this fight and Solorio was the rugged journeyman to test him. And did he test him.

Ballard was on his back foot through many of the rounds as Solorio would not stop coming forward. Ballard countered Solorio’s aggression with effective counterpunches and potshots.

The formula remained the same for Ballard, but Solorio made it very tough for him, consistently pushing Ballard to the ropes and landing some solid hard punches.

What separates journeymen from elite fighters is their technique. That is what got Ballard through this fight. He waited patiently to counter and land effective punches. He read Solorio’s fight patterns and exploited them when he saw an opening. The fight was not easy as Solorio would not quit and gave Ballard all he had. Ultimately Ballard won via unanimous decision.

 

Lamont Roach Jr. versus Luis Hinojosa

Roach Jr.’s trainer recently died and he dedicated the fight to him and went out looking for a decisive and memorable victory. It was memorable not for a titillating knockout, but a bizarre injury to Hinojosa’s foot.

A win is a win, but honestly I wanted this fight to end with him on the floor with a body punch or feeling his head swirl because I clipped him in the chin,” Roach, Jr. said after the fight. “This week, my team has gone from hell and back after losing my cousin, trainer, and mentor, Coach Roach. This win is a symbolism of the victories that await us because of the hard work put in by him.”

 

Demetrius Andrade versus Alantez Fox

The undefeated Andrade, who came to the ring wearing a wolf mask, was making his Middleweight debut after campaigning at the Junior Middleweight division. His first test was Alantez Fox who at Middleweight has an unusually tall frame of 6’4″.

The two exchanged heavy blows from round one. Andrade was consistently landing the harder and cleaner punches on Fox. You could see sweat fly from the ferocity of the punches.

In the seventh round Fox landed a straight right hand that sent Andrade down. Andrade used his footwork to regain his composure and finish the round strong.

Andrade had a fire lit under him and attacked Fox with more ferocity as the fight went into the final stretch.

Fox continued to come forward and try and pressure Andrade, but Andrade’s footwork and counters were too much for Fox.

Andrade was declared the victor by unanimous decision.

 

Jezreel Corrales versus Alberto Machado

Corrales was stripped of his WBA crown earlier due to him failing to make weight. Some wondered whether the weight advantage would help him against the tough and gritty Machado. The Turning Stone Resort and Casino was loud for the main event as many Puerto Ricans came to support Machado in his quest for his first world title.

Corrales came out swinging as is is style. Machado took his punches well, but from round one it was destined to be a slugfest as both men kept coming forward.

Corrales drew first blood as he landed a flush left hook on Machado’s chin. The punch short-circuited his nervous system and took him down to the mat.

Machado came back and used his footwork to buy some time until he fully regained his composure. The fight then quickly turned into a wrestling match as Corrales took down Machado with a tackle.

The two began exchanging insults with one another in the ring. They plainly did not like each other one bit and were more determined to knock the other fighter out. Machado began timing Corrales’ aggression and started his comeback.  In the eighth round lightning struck as Machado landed a thunderous right hook on Coralles’ temple.

Your winner by KO in the 8th round and new WBA Super Featherweight Champion, Alberto Machado.

“I won the world title for my family and Puerto Rico,” Machado said in the post-fight interview.

Dominion Energy Charity Classic Powers on Drama Down the Stretch

October 23, 2017

Story and Photos by Kent Paisley Richmond, Va.— Bernhard Langer came to the par 5 18th at The Dominion Energy Charity Classic Sunday searching for a birdie to force a playoff. He had parred the hole the day before. Instead, the titan of the Champions Tour rolled home a 12-foot right to left downhill slider for eagle, […]

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Story and Photos by Kent Paisley

Richmond, Va.— Bernhard Langer came to the par 5 18th at The Dominion Energy Charity Classic Sunday searching for a birdie to force a playoff. He had parred the hole the day before.

Instead, the titan of the Champions Tour rolled home a 12-foot right to left downhill slider for eagle, claiming the first round of the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs and his 35th championship of his Champions Tour career.

“It was very exciting to come down the 18th and to make an eagle,” Langer said.  “I was missing so many putts today, and I finally made one when it mattered.”


Langer and Singh Duel Early

Langer opened the day with a three-shot lead over Vijay Singh, who played an immaculate ten-under-par over the final 15 holes Saturday.

The two World Golf Hall of Famers were the final pairing of the day, and set for a duel for the title.

Langer expanded that lead to four strokes with a birdie at the first.

The German native failed to add a red number to his scorecard for another 12 holes.

Singh capitalized early on with Langer’s inability to convert birdies, closing the gap with birdies at 3, 5, & 6, trailing by one stroke heading to the par 4 seventh.

 

Singh’s Wheels Fall Off

On the seventh green Singh stared down an 18-footer for birdie, which he missed high side of the cup. The ball parked right behind the cup, a foot-and-a-half away.

It was not Singh’s swollen ankle that failed him. Nor his right knee, which needs to be replaced.

Every golfer’s nightmare, the cursed yips, did him in.

He missed the one-and-a-half footer, carding a bogey. He did not make another putt outside three feet until the 18th, where he converted a birdie from 12 feet.

He finished the tournament tied for third at -12, alongside Kenny Perry and Billy Mayfair.

The yips struck again later on in the tournament at a critical juncture.

 

Verplank Charges

Scott Verplank sat five back of the lead at the start of the day, tied for fourth place at -9.

He sat with plenty of Schwab Cup Points to spare to advance into the next round of the playoffs.

He could not have foreseen the struggle the groups in front of him had, methodically going about his business.

He posted the exact same score on the front and back nine from moving day, turning in another 33/33 for a -6 round.

Verplanck had an up and down final stretch, with plenty of moments remaining in his head on his plane flight back home.

On the 15th hole, the tournament moved the tee box to make the hole 284 yards. Verplank elected to go to an iron off the tee, laying up and carding a par on the hole.

He followed up with a gem of a 16th, going driver-three wood to 15 yards from the pin on the par 5.

He had about five paces of green to work with, and parked his wedge shot after one hop to four feet for his birdie.

At the 18th, another par 5, he went driver-hybid to a tough back left position. With the pin back right and sloping away from him, he had to pick the ball perfectly to get it to hold.

Verplanck stopped his ball on a dime from the slippery angle to set up another four-footer.

He followed with a case of the yips.

The ball missed right after the pushed putt, and he settled for par.

“You know what, if I won 35 times, I probably would have chipped it in or got it up and down,” Verplanker explained.

At -15, he held the clubhouse lead, with Langer on the 17th one stroke back.

 

Langer Grinds to the 18th

Langer carded his first bogey of the week on the 8th  hole. He avoided a bogey on the 6th with a resilient up and down from 75 yards after dropping a ball into the hazard.

Langer recorded his second birdie of the day on the 13th, and his tee shot made it look as if he still had more grinding to do.

He sat 130 yards out on the 347-yard hole after yanking his tee shot left into the thick Bermuda rough. The ball nestled down, with about a fourth of the ball visible from the top of the rough.

Langer had no trees in the way, and in spite of the rough, fired a pin seeker, the ball rolling to four feet above the flag.

The yips, which pervaded his opponent’s games, did not find Langer, as he knocked home the short birdie.

He bogeyed 14 from just outside the greenside bunker, missing a ten-footer for par. He scrambled for par at the 16th, and missed a 12-footer for birdie on the par 3 17th.

 

The Final Three Strokes

The 516-yard par 5 closing hole finished as the easiest scoring hole of the day, with players averaging half a stroke under par.

Langer piped his drive down the center of the fairway. He was stuck between clubs for his second shot, a two hybrid and a three wood.

He elected to hit a cut three wood, resulting with the ball twelve feet from the cup for the eagle and the win.

“You never know until it goes in,” Langer said.

It dropped dead in the heart of the cup.

The celebration was on from there, as Langer secured his sixth championship of the year out of twenty four events on the season.

 

The Field Shrinks

The top 54 players in Charles Schwab Cup points advanced to the Powershares QQQ Championship in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Fran Quinn and David McKenzie played their way into the field, from 59th and 57thto 53rd and 54th in points, respectively. Quinn carded an impressive 66, including an eagle on the 18th, to punch his ticket to California.

Larry Mize and Mark Brooks fell out of the second-round field, finishing at -2 and -1 respectively.

The Powershares QQQ Championship takes place next weekend, with the Charles Schwab Playoffs concluding November 10th-12th at Phoenix Country Club in Arizona.

Birdies for Charity

While most are focused on the quality of golf at the opening round of the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs, Birdies for Charity organizes itself to capitalize on that quality of play.

The proceeds from the Dominion Charity Classic went to Virginia Values Veterans Program and Richmond Fisher House, both programs assisting veterans in the Richmond area.

But fans can contribute as well through Birdies for Charity.

Birdies for Charity was originally conceived at the John Deere Classic, a PGA tour event.

In 1992, the tournament organizer offered the person closest to guessing the number of birdies converted by the field a free car, in exchange for a donation per birdie made.

The model delivered six times the amount expected to be raised, and has been expanding ever since.

Birdies for Charity has 122 charities under its umbrella this year. While the charities are primarily based in Richmond, there are charities from out of state as well, such as Saratoga War Horse in New York.

Fans are offered two ways to donate. They can either use a flat fee, or a donation made for every birdie in the tournament.

The PGA tour matches 10 percent of any donation made to a charity listed.

Monica Mitchell, the organizer of the Dominion Energy Charity Classic’s Birdies for Charity, explained that participation rose from last year, but that was due to the platform starting operations too late last season.

Shes aid a majority of contributions are flat fee donations, as charities reach out to their donors, recommending using the Birdies for Charity platform to capitalize on the extra 10 percent contribution from the PGA tour.

Currently, they have collected $55,000 in flat fees for various charities. The amount collected from per birdie amounts will be calculated after the conclusion of the tournament.

There were 584 birdies recorded last year over the three round tournament. The field expanded from 54 players last year to 72 players this year. Through two rounds this year, 526 birdies are posted.

Fans can donate at the tent in the Fan Experience Zone, or online, following this link.

Record-tying Moving Day in Richmond

October 23, 2017

Richmond, Va. —The top of the leaderboard delivered historic numbers on moving day at the opening tournament of the Champions Tour Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs, the Dominion Energy Charity Classic. Vijay Singh and Bernhard Langer tied the course record at The Country Club of Virginia, carding 63 apiece. “I’m playing ready. It’s a lot of fun,” […]

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Richmond, Va. —The top of the leaderboard delivered historic numbers on moving day at the opening tournament of the Champions Tour Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs, the Dominion Energy Charity Classic.

Vijay Singh and Bernhard Langer tied the course record at The Country Club of Virginia, carding 63 apiece.

“I’m playing ready. It’s a lot of fun,” Langer explained. “Hitting a lot of fairways, a lot of greens, giving myself opportunities, and today was pretty special.”

 

Langer’s Dominance

Bernhard Langer has owned the Champions Tour the last three years, as he is searching for his fourth consecutive Charles Schwab Title. He finished as the runner up the three seasons prior. Langer comes off a disappointing T-11 finish last week at the SAS Championship in North Carolina.

The 60-year-old German native firmly bounced back from that performance, with five birdies yesterday, and nine birdies today. For the tournament, he has yet to record a bogey enroute to his leading score of -14. He has hit 91.7 percent of greens in regulation, leading the field.

Langer strung birdies together beautifully across the day, striking them back-to-back three times over the course of the afternoon. His round was highlighted by his second birdie of the day at the par 3 fourth. From 159 yards, his tee shot rolled just outside the right side of the cup for a tap in two-footer for birdie.

Langer’s bid for the course record was shut down by a missed eight-foot slider for birdie on the par 5 18th green. He holds a comfortable three shot lead over World Golf Hall of Famer Vijay Singh.

 

Singh Rallies

Singh sat at one over through three holes, and one under par for the tournament. He had been reviewing his swing mechanics with his caddy on his IPhone on the driving range.

His left ankle swollen like a balloon.

A right knee that needs to be replaced.

Yet he responded by firing off four birdies in a row.

“I missed a very short putt there (the third hole)” Singh said, “and made two long putts, and then hit the par five I got it on in two.”

The Hall of Famer capped off the front side with a birdie on the 9th, to turn in four for the opening nine.

Singh punctuated his round with a gorgeous up and down from the green side bunker on the 18th from 40 feet out, his bunker shot trickling past the cup for an east tap in to cap off his 63.

In spite of Singh’s incredible performance, he holds just a one-stroke lead over Joe Durant, who carded another five under on the day to sit at 10 under par in third place.

 

The Playoff Bubble

The Dominion Energy Charity Classic is the opening tournament of three of the Champions tour Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs. The top 72 players from the money list qualify for the tournament, with the second tournament field cut down to 54.

The points are determined by money earned, dollar for dollar. In the Cup Playoffs, the points are worth double the amount of cash won.

Larry Mize entered the tournament at 53rd in the money list, and is projected to drop back to 56th if his current place of T-45 holds. Mize shot one under for the second consecutive round.

David McKenzie is now projected at 55th, moving up from 57th after shooting up to T-17. McKenzie currently holds a 17,077 projected point advantage over Mize.

 

Notes

Miguel Angel Jimenez finished the day eagle-birdie-eagle to post two under for the day. His stretching routine is always worth another view. He holds two of the nine eagles made so far at the Dominion Energy Charity Classic.

The course’s average round dropped from 71.1 to 69.4, the field taking advantage of perfect scoring conditions. Only seven players posted rounds above par.

Tomorrow, the first tee time is at 8:10 A.M. EST. Langer and Singh are the final pairing, teeing up at 1:07 P.M.

Bellator 185: A Night of Surprises

October 23, 2017

Story and photos by Jose Cuevas Uncasville, Conn. — Bellator 185 was brimming with anticipation for the long-awaited debut of Gegard Mousasi Friday night at Mohegan Sun. Mousasi was a former UFC Middleweight title contender and had fought some of the best in the world. The crowd was excited to see boxing sensation Heather Hardy continue her foray into the world of […]

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Story and photos by Jose Cuevas

Uncasville, Conn. — Bellator 185 was brimming with anticipation for the long-awaited debut of Gegard Mousasi Friday night at Mohegan Sun. Mousasi was a former UFC Middleweight title contender and had fought some of the best in the world. The crowd was excited to see boxing sensation Heather Hardy continue her foray into the world of MMA. The night was full of surprises, which tells you that anything is possible in the MMA Cage.

 

Results

Here is the fight card with the result of each bout.

Preliminary Bouts:
Dean Hancock 
defeated John Beneduce via TKO (Punches) in Round 1, time: 3:38

Pete Rogers Jr. defeated Timothy Wheeler via Submission (Guillotine Choke) in round 1, time 0:37

Joaquin Buckley defeated Venicius De Jesus via Split Decision

Costello Van Steenis defeated Steve Skrzat via TKO (Severe Elbows) Round 1, time: 2:52

Jordan Young defeated Alec Hooben via Submission (Triangle Choke) Round 1, time: 2:44

 

Don Shainis defeated Matt Denning via TKO (Severe punches) Round 1, time: 4:50

Vovka Clay defeated Frank Sforsza via Submission (Guillotine Choke) Round 2, time: 1:17

Kevin Carrier defeated Jose Antonio Perez via Unanimous Decision
Main Card Bouts:


Lisa Blaine
 defeated Ana Julaton via Split Decision

Ryan Quinn defeated Marcus Surin via Unanimous Decision

Kristina Williams defeated Heather Hardy via TKO (Doctor Stoppage after Severe Injuries) Round 2, time 2:00

 

Neiman Gracie defeated Zak Bucia via Submission (Neck Crank) Round 2, time 2:27

Gegard Mousasi defeated Alexander Shlemenko via Unanimous Decision

 

Notable Fights

 

Lisa Blaine versus Ana Julaton

 

Lisa Blaine versus Ana Julaton was a test of grit for both women. Julaton dominated the first half of the fight with her control of range and striking. She was also comfortable exchanging holds on the mat.

Blaine managed to wrestle Julaton to the mat in the later part of the fight and land some strikes. The rounds were hotly contested but she swayed the judges in her favor heading into the third and final round.

The third round was hotly contested. Blaine went into second gear to try to out-will her opponent.The fight ended in the center of the ring with both trying to get the upper hand and squeeze a decision or land a knockout. Blaine ultimately swayed the judges for a close but hard-fought split decision victory.


Kristina Williams versus Heather Hardy

Heather Hardy entered the cage for her second ever MMA Bout and many expected her to continue her winning ways. Hardy was the favorite in this fight as she has been positioned to be a star in Bellator. However, Kristina Williams in her pro debut had other plans.

From round one Williams asserted her dominance by exchanging with Hardy. Hardy had no answers to Williams’ arsenal of strikes and kicks.

As the second round commenced Williams rushed Hardy and continued to beat and batter her. The fight ended in the secnd round with a vicious headkick that forced the cageside doctor to examine Hardy’s wounds.


Gegard Mousasi versus Alexander Shlemenko

The main event was Gegard Mousasi’s highly anticipated Bellator debut against Alexander Shlemenko. The story driving this bout was how would Mousasi be able to stand toe to toe with the very tough, rugged, and hard-hitting Shlemenko. It was not an easy debut fight, despite Mousasi being a highly regarded fighter.

The fight began with Mousasi out-wrestling Shlemenko and continuously trying to lock in a rear naked choke.

However, Shlemenko showed his power and sneaked in a strike that formed a mouse on Mousasi’s right eye. The eye immediately began to swell grotesquely.

As the fight progressed Shlemenko began focusing on Mousasi’s eye. Mousasi was on his back foot trying to protect himself from Shlemenko’s scary strength. Mousasi had success on the mat, but Shlemenko successfully defended his rear naked choke attempts.

Heading into the third Shlemenko took control as Mousasi was backpedaling away from him. Shlemenko even had success on the mat as Mousasi seemed exhausted and hurt. Many in the audience believed Shlemenko won the fight as he was thoroughly in control in the third and final round.

But the winner was Mousasi by unanimous decision. The crowd was irate as many believed Shlemenko had won. Both men had to be taken to the hospital after the fight for further evaluation.

Syracuse Football Upsets #2 Clemson

October 14, 2017

Story by Jude Allume Photos by Kristin O’Grady SYRACUSE, N.Y. — For many, Friday the 13th is known as an unlucky day. For the Clemson Tigers, the day lived up to its reputation as the previously unbeaten Tigers were upset for their first loss of the season against the Syracuse Orange, 27-24. “That senior class, […]

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Story by Jude Allume Photos by Kristin O’Grady

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — For many, Friday the 13th is known as an unlucky day. For the Clemson Tigers, the day lived up to its reputation as the previously unbeaten Tigers were upset for their first loss of the season against the Syracuse Orange, 27-24.

“That senior class, three head football coaches all the things they’ve been through and to have an opportunity to have a win like that, that they’ll never forget for the rest of their lives” Syracuse head coach Dino Babers said after the game.

“Nobody believes in us except for us and that’s fine because at the end of the day, I put my pads on to play for these guys next to me” junior quarterback Eric Dungey said.

Dungey paced the Orange offense with 278 yards passing and three touchdowns through the air to go along with 61 rushing yards.

Linebacker Parris Bennett led the Orange defense with a team high nine tackles including a big sack on a potential scoring drive for the Tigers, knocking them outside of the 20 yard line to the 27.

The win brings Syracuse to 4-3 (2-1 ACC), their first time with a winning record since mid-September. The loss drops the Clemson Tigers to 6-1 (4-1 ACC).

 

The Orange Come Out Swinging

 Syracuse has recently been criticized for starting games slowly and doing too little, too late in games to stand a real chance for victory, as seen in its last two close loses to LSU (35-26) and NC State (33-25). This game proved to be much different from the first drive.

“I think it was an overall team effort and I’m really, really proud of the young men” Babers said.

The Orange received the opening kickoff and drove the ball 72 yards in three minutes and 16 seconds. The drive was capped off by a screen pass from Dungey to running back Dontae Strickland for a 23-yard touchdown and the early 7-0 lead.

The Tigers responded quickly, scoring in only one minute and seven seconds. A Syracuse unsportsmanlike conduct penalty set them up with great field position, as they went 62 yards in three plays to score and tie things up.

The Orange punted on its next possession, giving the Tigers the ball at the 37 yard line and a chance to take the lead. The Tigers moved the ball at will, as Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant was 5-5 passing on the drive for 46 yards. Once the Tigers reached the red zone, the Orange defense stepped up, forcing the Tigers to settle for a field goal try. Unfortunately for the Tigers, the field goal attempt was missed and the score remained tied.

On its next possession, the Orange capitalized on the Tigers’ missed opportunity. After a 14-yard pass to Steve Ishmael, Dungey threw deep to Ervin Phillips, connecting for the 66-yard touchdown and again giving the Orange the lead at 14-7.

 

Orange Fumbles Golden Opportunity

 The teams traded punts for the next three possessions until Syracuse got the ball again with 11:59 left in the second quarter. The Orange started at the six yard line, but that didn’t deter them from running their normal offense as they moved the ball quickly and with ease, taking advantage of two Tiger penalties that extended the drive. With second down and six yards to go on the Clemson 20 yard line, a false start penalty was called on the Orange, starting the downward spiral.

On the next play, Dungey was sacked for a five yard loss. That was followed by another penalty for offensive pass interference leaving the Orange third down and 31 yards to go. The drive ended for the Orange with a fumble by Strickland. The Tiger’s Tanner Muse scooped up the ball and returned it 63 yards for the score. A drive that seemed to be leading to a two score lead for the Orange quickly turned into a tied game at 14 all.

The Orange again took the lead with a field goal before halftime, going into the locker room up 17-14.

 

Clemson Sticks Around

 Though Syracuse had plenty of opportunities to pull away in this game, Clemson put up a fight. The fight became a lot harder when starting quarterback Kelly Bryant left the game at the end of the first half with a concussion, leaving redshirt freshman Zerrick Cooper to lead the offense for the second half.

Immediately, the Orange applied pressure on the new quarterback in an attempt to make sure he never got comfortable in the pocket. It worked on the first drive of the half as the Tigers ended up punting. On their next drive however, the Clemson coaching staff combined great starting field position at the Orange 42 yard line with a series of short throws that moved the ball and got Cooper rolling.

Though the drive fizzled out, the Tigers added a field goal to tie the game at 17. When the Orange got the ball, it used a 45-yard run from Dungey to set up a 30- yard pass to Ishmael for the score, putting the Orange up 24-17.

Again, Clemson responded. On the kickoff, the ball bounced out of bounds, setting the Tigers up at their 35 yard line to start. After two plays, on first down from the 48, Tiger running back Travis Etienne ran the ball for a gain of 52 yards and a touchdown, again tying the score, this time at 24.

 

Take Your Time 

With the ball to start the fourth quarter, the Orange changed from its usually high-paced offense to a slower tempo focusing on ball control. This was accompanied with a heavy run offense to keep the clock moving. The Orange burned over five minutes off the clock on the way to picking up a field goal to put Syracuse up 27-24.

Clemson fought all game to keep the score close in hopes of eventually overtaking the lead and responded again. This time, the clock was a factor as the Tigers were running out of time. After picking up, two first downs in the first four plays of their drive, the Orange needed a big play to stop the Tiger momentum. It came in the form of a sack from Chris Slayton, leading to a loss of four yards. The drive stalled, and the Orange took over on downs at the 41 yard line with 6:10 left in the game and the Tigers with two timeouts left.

From there, the plan was to run the ball and kill the clock. The plan worked to perfection as the Orange slowly moved the ball and picked up two first downs with the clock down to 2:29, forcing Clemson to use its timeouts.

On third down and eight to go, the Orange needed to convert or possibly have to punt the ball away and give the Tigers another chance to come back.  Dungey rushed for eight yards, stretching backwards to reach the first down marker. After the officials reviewed the spot of the ball, the ruling on the field of a first down was upheld, essentially ending the game. After a few kneels, the game was over and the Orange pulled off the upset, an accomplishment linebacker Zaire Franklin said he couldn’t believe.

“For some reason, I didn’t believe that the game was over when we got that first down” Franklin said. “I’m still in my mind like we’re going to have to go out and stop them from getting a field goal, whatever it is, whatever reason I didn’t believe the game was over until they were taking a knee and I was like ‘damn, that’s it.’”

 

The 12th Man

 The Carrier Dome had its biggest crowd of the season with over 42,475 counted in attendance. The home crowd was into the game and loud all night.

“How about the fans tonight?” Babers exclaimed after the game. “Are you kidding me? We have a DOME. No one else does. Neener neener neener. We’re loud, we’re crazy up here and that’s the atmosphere that it should be every single time that we come to the Carrier Dome.

“That was a good football team and I thought the fans were great, they were fantastic, they were the 12th man on defense and they made it very difficult for their offense to communicate.”

“It was loud,” linebacker Parris Bennett said. “Third down was rocking, you could tell those guys they could hear it, they could feel it. We fed off the energy. I feel like guys felt more confident. It felt like everybody was rooting for us and cheering for us and believing in us. When you get as loud as that, guys feel like they’re on top of the world”

 

The Numbers Tell the Story

 Clemson has one of the best defenses in the nation with averages of 264.33 total yards per game, 165.5 passing yards per game, 98.83 rushing yards per game and 11.33 points per game. The Syracuse offense blew all of these numbers out of the water with 440 total yard, 278 pass yards, 162 rushing yards and putting up more than double the average points the Tiger defense had allowed with 27.

The Clemson offense came into the game averaging 233.67 yards passing per game, 237.33 yards rushing per game, 471 total yards per game and 35 point per game. The Syracuse defense held the Tigers under all of these averages with 204 yards passing, 113 yards rushing and allowing only 24 points, seven of which came as a result of the Tiger defense scoring.

Conversely, prior to the game, the Syracuse defense had allowed its opponents averages of 357 total yards per game, 242 passing yards per game and 131 rushing yards per game, all numbers they held the Tigers under.

The Orange never trailed the Tigers in the game.

 

Up Next

 Syracuse travels to Miami next week to face the #11 ranked Hurricanes on Saturday at 3:30 PM.

The Tigers limp back home with some concerns at quarterback as they look to rebound from the loss. They have a bye week before hosting the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on Saturday, Oct 28.

 

 

Orange Holds Off Panthers for First ACC Win

October 8, 2017

Story by Corey Crisan Photos by India Timpton SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The Syracuse Orange held off late comeback efforts by the Pitt Panthers and won a close one, 27-24 in front of a Homecoming crowd at the Carrier Dome Saturday afternoon.  Syracuse(3-3, 1-1 ACC) moved to the .500 mark on the season with its first […]

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Story by Corey Crisan

Photos by India Timpton

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The Syracuse Orange held off late comeback efforts by the Pitt Panthers and won a close one, 27-24 in front of a Homecoming crowd at the Carrier Dome Saturday afternoon.  Syracuse(3-3, 1-1 ACC) moved to the .500 mark on the season with its first league win. Pitt fell to 2-4 (0-2  ACC).

“It was good to finally get that monkey off our back,” Syracuse head coach Dino Babers said after the game. “It was our third close game all the way in the second half. To see the team rally together, and not only have all three units play well in the last five minutes.

Quarterback Eric Dungey passed for two touchdowns and ran for a third and tight end Ravian Pierce had a breakout game for the Orange. The junior college transfer in his first season with Syracuse finished with nine catches for 99 yards, both career-highs.

“It was exciting. The kids are excited, and we’re happy that we’re able to do our part and make sure everybody had a happy Homecoming,” Babers said.

 

 

Fast start for the Orange

Last season, the Panthers and Orange battled to the finish in a wild contest at Heinz Field to end the regular season. Pitt won 76-61 in a game that featured 621 combined rushing yards, 19 touchdowns, and 1,312 total yards. In the fifth week of the 2017 season, the ACC rivals wrote a different script.

What looked to be a promising start for the Orange resulted in just three points. On the first drive, quarterback Dungey found his top target – Steve Ishmael – for a 34-yard gain that put Syracuse into Pitt territory. But Ishmael was called for offensive pass interference on an apparent touchdown catch and the Orange settled for a field goal on its first drive to lead 3-0 with 11:30 to play in the first.

Syracuse then forced a three-and-out as Pitt gained only six yards.

The quarter featured six three-and-outs and six combined punts and ended with Syracuse ahead by that 3-0 score.

 

Turning the tables

Pitt scored on the first play of the second quarter a 35-yard touchdown by Jordan Whitehead (who is listed as a defensive back on the team’s roster) and an extra point capped off a five-play, 54-yard drive that took 2:33 off the clock.

Syracuse responded by gaining a first down on the next drive, but the Orange had to punt again.

Pitt then added three more points on a 49-yard field goal by Alex Kessman with 7:26 to play until the half and led 10-3.

Syracuse showed life at the end of the first half. A 21-yard touchdown from Dungey to Devin C. Butler tied this one up at 10-10 with 0:34 to play in the half. This play capped off a nine-play, 93-yard drive that took 2:17 to play.

Syracuse and Pitt were tied, 10-10, at halftime.

 

Game of halves

On their first drive to start the second half, the Panthers padded their lead to 13-10 with a 42-yard field goal by Alex Kessman.  The Orange finally broke through the stout Pitt defense as Dungey scored on a 10-yard keeper. Syracuse lead 17-13 after a 13-play, 75-yard drive.

Cole Murphy then tacked on a 38-yard field goal with 2:12 to play in the third. Syracuse led by a touchdown, 20-13. That field goal capped off a 10-play, 52-yard drive.

Pitt QB Max Browne went out with an injury after being sacked with under 7:00 to go in the third quarter and Ben DiNucci took over.

Syracuse held the 20-13 lead after three quarters.

 

A Strong Finish

Kessman continued to boost the Panthers as he nailed a 56-yard field goal to cut the Orange lead to 20-16 just five seconds into the fourth quarter.

With 11:07 to play in regulation, Dungey connected with Ishmael for a 35-yard score to extend the Orange lead to 27-16. Ishmael entered Saturday’s game as the nation’s leader in catches (51) and he was second in yards (632). He finished the day with five receptions for 97 yards and a touchdown.

The Panthers found a way to make it interesting in the middle of the fourth quarter. Running back Qadree Ollison ran one in from 19 yards to cut the Orange lead to 27-22. Pitt converted a two-point attempt on a Whitehead rush to make it a 27-24 Orange lead with 7:15 still to play.

Syracuse’s next drive stalled on the Pitt five-yard line when the Orange went for it on fourth and one and Dungey’s shovel pass to Pierce fell incomplete.

The Panthers had a chance to win it with less than a minute to play but gained only ten yards on their final drive, and Syracuse escaped with the 27-24 victory.

 

Notes

The game took 3:33 to play, and 33,290 were counted inside the Carrier Dome to witness the Orange victory.

For Syracuse, Dungey went 33-49 in the air with 365 yards. He also rushed a dozen times for a net gain of 48 yards.

Dontae Strickland was Syracuse’s leading rusher on Saturday. He carried the ball 25 times for 81 yards.

The Pitt-SU rivalry goes back to 1916 and the teams have played each other every year since 1955, starting as independents, then as Big East members and now in the ACC. Pitt is the only Coastal Division team that SU, an Atlantic Division team, plays every season.

“They’re our rival,” Babers said. “If we’re going to play them every single year, we need to play them like a rival.”

 

What’s Next

The Syracuse Orange will turn around in a short week to welcome a national powerhouse into the Carrier Dome. The second-ranked Clemson Tigers (6-0, 4-0 ACC) will come to Syracuse for a nationally-televised contest that kicks off at 7:00 p.m. EDT Friday. The game can be viewed on ESPN.

Pitt returns home to take on the No. 20 North Carolina State Wolfpack (5-1, 3-0 ACC) at noon on Saturday.

 

Dark Knight Brightens Dutchess Stadium

October 4, 2017

Editor’s note: As part of his capstone for his master’s degree in Broadcast and Digital Journalism with Sports Communications Emphasis, Dontae Harris covered the Hudson Valley Renegades this summer. The story below is from August 12 – the night fans packed the stadium to see a visiting player. Story and photos by Dontae Harris Fishkill, […]

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Editor’s note: As part of his capstone for his master’s degree in Broadcast and Digital Journalism with Sports Communications Emphasis, Dontae Harris covered the Hudson Valley Renegades this summer. The story below is from August 12 – the night fans packed the stadium to see a visiting player.

Story and photos by Dontae Harris

Fishkill, N.Y. – The home team was not the headline for a sellout crowd at Dutchess Stadium on Saturday. In fact the home team promoted the visiting player through social media and on the big screen just outside the ballpark and there were a lot of orange jerseys in that crowd.

New York Mets All-Star pitcher Matt Harvey got his first start off the disabled list, throwing one inning for the Brooklyn Cyclones in the back end of a non-traditional doubleheader against the Hudson Valley Renegades.  He gave up a walk, a hit and a run.

“I was trying to get my rhythm and mechanics back down,” Harvey said. He had not pitched since June 14 due to a shoulder injury. Harvey said he threw some sliders, a few changeups and fastballs.

 

Renegades get on the board

Trailing 1-0, the Renegades came out with energy in the bottom of the first against the man known as the Dark Knight of Gotham. He started off his outing with a walk to Vidal Brujan. Brujan took second base on a delayed steal because the Cyclones didn’t pay attention to him. Taylor Walls knocked in Brujan with a single.

Harvey retired the side after that and his day was done. The Dark Knight said the excitement for his next start is to stretch things out and works things in a little more.

“I threw a good slider for a strike to maybe the second or third batter and it’s nice to get an extension and not have any pain on that,” Harvey said. “It’s hard to go out there for one inning and know you have one inning to throw and work on everything”

 

The 19-year-old

The Renegades didn’t cool down after Harvey’s exit. They scored one in the second inning, two in the third and two more in the fourth to win the seven-inning game 6-2.

That was more than the Renegades’ 19-year-old starting pitcher Tobias Myers needed to get the win. He pitched 5 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on two hits and striking out ten Cyclones.

“I just went in there and tried to attack them with fastballs,” Myers said.

This was his fourth start against Brooklyn but the first against them with the Renegades. The Orioles traded Myers to the Rays for Tim Beckham on July 31. Beckham was the #1 overall pick in 2008 MLB Amateur Draft.

 

Harvey fans had to wait

The double-header came about because Friday’s game had been suspended due to rain and was picked up on Saturday at 5:05pm. Rumor around the press box was that Harvey was going to resume the first game, but it turned out that he couldn’t because he wasn’t on Friday’s roster. The Renegades wound up winning that one 4-1.

 

Where they stand

The Renegades head into Sunday’s rubber match with the Cyclones two-and-a-half games out of a wild card spot. With four weeks left in the regular season, they are five-and-a-half games behind the Staten Island Yankees who lead the division.

 

A former Met in his true colors

Before game two, former New York Met Cliff Floyd threw out the first pitch along with some fans. Floyd showed his loyalty by wearing a retro teal Florida Marlins hat.  Floyd won a World Series with the Marlins in 1997.

Renegades Rule: Suitable for Framing

October 4, 2017

FISHKILL, N.Y. — The Hudson Valley Renegades are the 2017 New York-Penn League champions, having swept a best-of-three series with the Vermont Lake Monsters in September. As part of his Newhouse School master’s degree capstone project, Dontae Harris covered the Renegades’ season. Here is a look at season highlights as seen through his camera lens.

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FISHKILL, N.Y. — The Hudson Valley Renegades are the 2017 New York-Penn League champions, having swept a best-of-three series with the Vermont Lake Monsters in September.

As part of his Newhouse School master’s degree capstone project, Dontae Harris covered the Renegades’ season. Here is a look at season highlights as seen through his camera lens.

New York Liberty: Scenes from a Season

October 4, 2017

NEW YORK, N.Y. — The New York Liberty closed the 2017 WNBA regular season on a ten-game win streak to finish 22-12. Sitting at .500 on Aug. 4 after a loss to the L.A. Sparks, the Liberty got on a roll and finished in third place in the final standings. But whatever the Liberty had found was lost […]

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NEW YORK, N.Y. — The New York Liberty closed the 2017 WNBA regular season on a ten-game win streak to finish 22-12. Sitting at .500 on Aug. 4 after a loss to the L.A. Sparks, the Liberty got on a roll and finished in third place in the final standings.

But whatever the Liberty had found was lost in a single-elimination playoff game against the six-seed Washington Mystics and Coach Bill Laimbeer’s team went out, 82-68. 

As part of his capstone for his master’s degree in Broadcast and Digital Journalism with Sports Communications Emphasis, Dontae Harris contributed to the website “A Lot of Sports Talk” coverage of the Liberty’s season. Here is his look in photos at some of the highlights.

And here is the playoff loss to the Mystics.

Syracuse Stumbles Against NC State in ACC Opener

October 1, 2017

Story by Kent Paisley Photos by Dominique Patrick Raleigh, N. C. — The Syracuse Orange (2-2, 0-0) ventured into Carter-Finley Stadium for its ACC opener against NC State (3-1, 1-0) on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, with the newly debuted Wolfpack logo scowling at midfield on Military Appreciation Day. Syracuse left chasing its tail after another […]

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Story by Kent Paisley
Photos by Dominique Patrick

Raleigh, N. C. — The Syracuse Orange (2-2, 0-0) ventured into Carter-Finley Stadium for its ACC opener against NC State (3-1, 1-0) on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, with the newly debuted Wolfpack logo scowling at midfield on Military Appreciation Day.

Syracuse left chasing its tail after another failed second half comeback bid, with the Wolfpack winning 33-25.

“We’ve got to find a way to start faster,” Syracuse head coach Dino Babers said. “That’s the bottom line. You can’t spot the LSU Tigers and the NC State Wolfpack leads like that and then expect to run them back down in their venues with their crowds behind them.”

NC State Storms to the Lead

Syracuse elected to defer the opening kickoff, and NC State took advantage of the decision.The Wolfpack had scored on its first offensive possession in each game this season.

NC State topped that trend by scoring on its first five possessions in the first half, putting up 26 points on 350 yards from scrimmage. Its only blemishes were a missed field goal from 31 yards and a missed PAT.

“We knew that if we got on them early it would make it tough for them, so we wanted to get them out of their comfort zone,” Wolfpack wide receiver Stephen Louis said.

The Wolfpack approach proved effective as Syracuse opened the game as if having hit the snooze button on the noon kickoff.

 

Orange gets in its own way

Syracuse began the game kicking the ball out of bounds, setting the Wolfpack up with strong field position at its own 35-yard line. NC State drove for a field goal and a -3-0 lead.

As he had the week before against LSU, quarterback Eric Dungey once again threw an interception on the Orange’s first possession, with NC State cornerback Johnathan Alston securing his team-leading second interception of the season.

The Orange again held NC State to a field goal but then got in its own way again.

Placekicker Cole Murphy who went one of six last season on outdoor kicks, was tasked to convert a 48-yard field goal after Syracuse drove 45 yards. He missed, leaving the score at 6-0 and was benched from field goal attempts for the remainder of the game.

Starting at its own 20, NC State drove 70 yards in five plays, finishing with a 20-yard pass to Louis for the touchdown. The extra point made it 13-0.

Syracuse finally got going with a ten-play, 75-yard drive to get within 13-7. Dungey took it the last seven yards himself. Wide receiver Ervin Phillips highlighted the Syracuse drive with a 37-yard reception. It was one of 17 for him on the afternoon, setting a new school record for receptions in a game. Dungey also surpassed 6,000 career all purpose yards on the opening TD drive.

NC State answered back with a five-play, 75-yard drive, but missed the point after and led 19-7.

Driving after getting the ball back, Syracuse faced a fourth and one at the Wolfpack 17. Babers elected to go for it, leaving the ball in the hands of Dungey. Dungey broke left, and his offensive line broke right.

“I was just trying to get the first down, and there was a little miscommunication,” Dungey said.

That miscommunication resulted in a turnover on downs after Dungey was stuffed. The Wolfpack stayed on the hunt, striking for its final score of the half, leading 26-7.

The stage was set for a blowout, but the Orange responded.

 

Orange launches a comeback

The second half had the stands significantly thinned out from the start of the contest on the far side of the field. The sun beamed down on the stands the entire game, and fans headed for shade to avoid the heat.

The Orange took advantage of the quieter crowd, scoring a touchdown. The drive was highlighted by a 38-yard pass completion to wide receiver Steve Ishmael on fourth down.

Syracuse gave up one first down to NC State over its first three possessions of the second half.

This opened up opportunities for the offense to respond. On its third drive of the half, the Orange faced third and seven from the NC State eight. Dungey completed a slant route to Ishamel for an apparent touchdown.

But Syracuse once again got in its own way.

Penalty flag thrown into the air. Illegal formation.

Touchdown wiped off the board.

It was 5 of the Orange’s 93 penalty yards on the afternoon.

The Orange settled for three, leaving four critical points behind. Syracuse trailed 26-17 near the end of the third.


The Final bid

The Wolfpack opened the fourth quarter on a five minute, 65-yard touchdown drive. NC State Headcoach Dave Doeren went for one, leaving the game at a 16-point margin, 33-17.

Syracuse had to play a perfect game the rest of the way, needing two touchdowns and two two point conversions to tie the game.

The Orange marched down the field, with Dungey breaking out on a 22-yard run on fourth and four to get Syracuse into the red zone at the Wolfpack 15.

SU failed to move the ball forward another yard. Babers went deep into the playbook with a trick pass on fourth down from wide receiver Devin Butler to tight end Ravian Pierce.

It landed just outside his reach in the end zone.

NC State went three and out, with Babers using two of his three timeouts to stop the clock. Syracuse punt returner Sean Riley returned the Wolfpack punt into NC State territory.

Dungey and the offense scored in one minute n a ten-yard pass to Ishmael. Dungey kept it himself to convert two, and the Orange trailed by eight.

Syracuse never got the ball back, as Finley convertedt a fourth-and-inches into a first down on the next possession to ice the game.

Syracuse won the second half in both games on its road trip, outscoring LSU and NC State 41-28, but ended the road trip winless.

NC State won its 200th game at Carter-Finley Stadium with the victory. The Wolfpack advanced to 2-0 in ACC Play, the first time in eleven years.

Going Forward

State running back Dakwa Nichols was injured on his eighth carry of the season, and had to be carted off the field. Doeren updated his status after the game, saying Nichols is out for the season and will be have knee surgery tomorrow.

The Wolfpack advanced to 10-1 in the series history against Syracuse.

 

NC State and Syracuse’s next games will be ACC openers for their opponents. NC State hosts Louisville this Thursday at 8:00 p.m. on ESPN. Syracuse returns to the Carrier Dome against the Pittsburgh Panthers on Saturday at 12:30.

Tigers Survive Orange Upset Bid

September 24, 2017

Story by Brooke Meenachan Photos by Tyler Dudley Baton Rouge, La. — “Welcome to Death Valley” looms large in gold letters in the center of the Tiger Stadium stands. Nearly 100,000 fans who planted themselves in their seats Saturday night and almost got to witness the Syracuse Orange get out alive with a stunning upset against […]

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Story by Brooke Meenachan

Photos by Tyler Dudley

Baton Rouge, La. — “Welcome to Death Valley” looms large in gold letters in the center of the Tiger Stadium stands. Nearly 100,000 fans who planted themselves in their seats Saturday night and almost got to witness the Syracuse Orange get out alive with a stunning upset against the 25th ranked Tigers. Almost.

But the Tigers came away with a 35-26 win over the Orange using a handful of big plays and a 20-yard touchdown run in the closing two minutes that sealed the deal.

“I’m not upset,” Syracuse head coach Dino Babers said. “I’m disappointed that those young men didn’t get an opportunity to win a game like that in a venue like this that would affect them for the rest of their lives.”

“I give Syracuse credit, they battled the whole time,” said LSU head coach Ed Orgeron, whose team got hammered a week earlier at Mississippi State. “It’s a good win for our team. I know it wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t exciting, but I’m glad that we won.”

 

First quarter: quick LSU start

The first play of the game was almost a pick six after Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey’s pass was intercepted by Darrel Williams. Dungey yanked Williams down by the face mask at the 1-yard line and LSU took a 7-0 lead on its first play from scrimmage as Derrius Guice ran the ball in for a touchdown with just nine seconds gone. It was the fastest score in an LSU game since Oct. 12, 1985.

“It was a bad read on my part,” Dungey said. “I shouldn’t have taken the match up. I mean, testing those corners on a running back, that’s not smart.”

 

Where’s the offense?

Neither team was an offensive threat to start the game. LSU combined for ten yards on five carries, while Syracuse led the first 15 minutes with 79 total yards.

While the Orange won the offense in the first, its only score came on a 42-yard field goal by Cole Murphy at 7:58. It was his longest attempt of the season so far.

 

Second quarter: Opportunity came knocking

Syracuse had plenty of chances to make something happen in this game. But this one might haunt the Orange for a while.

Dungey saw wide receiver Sean Riley wide open in the end zone for a potential 55-yard touchdown pass, but the ball went off the sophomore’s hands and SU missed the chance to take the lead with just under nine minutes to go in the first half.

LSU quarterback Danny Etling found openings in the Orange pass defense and drove the Tigers 71 yards late in the second quarter, completing four passes in five attempts. He connected with Stephen Sullivan for a 43-yard touchdown and the Tigers took a 14-3 lead heading into the half.

 

Third quarter: We’ve got a game, folks!

 

The Tigers got the ball to start the second half and they came out strong. LSU’s first play of the second half was an 87-yard touchdown bomb from Etling to wide receiver Drake Davis, who beat his defender.

But the Orange responded quickly. Syracuse marched right back with a 30-yard touchdown pass from wide receiver Devin C. Butler to wide receiver Ervin Phillips on a flea flicker to make it 21-10.

Myles Brennan replaced Etling under center for LSU and the true freshman led his team down to Syracuse’s 20-yard line. Williams finished the job with a 20-yard rush into the end zone and LSU took an 18-point lead. Williams recorded 77 of the 91 yards on the six-play drive.

On the next series, a 58-yard Sterling Hofrichter punt pinned LSU at its own one-yard line and when SU Linebacker Parris Bennett tackled Williams in the end zone for a safety the Orange cut the deficit to 28-12.

Syracuse got the ball back and drove 72 yards in ten plays, finishing with a 14-yard touchdown run by Dungey, who kept around right end and smashed his way through tacklers past the pylon. .

For the game, Dungey completed 32 of 53 passes for 265 yards and a TD. He ran the ball 13 times for 24 yards and caught a pass for 13 yards

Babers opted to go for the extra point rather than two.

“Points are so hard to come by and you would think that one point, oh you gotta get that one,” Babers explained after the game. ”No you don’t. You need to be patient.”

The Orange trailed 28-19 heading into the final 15 minutes.

 

Fourth quarter: close, but

Juwan Dowels intercepted Etling’s pass and the Orange took over at their own 20-yard line. Syracuse went on an 80-yard drive in 13 plays, resulting in a 22-yard touchdown pass to Steve Ishmael with 5:40 left to play.

Trailing by two, Babers called for an onside kick.

The Tigers recovered at their own 44. With less than two minutes in the game, D.J. Clark ran the ball in to give LSU a 35-26 edge and the upset bid was over.

“I kept telling the guys, you know, ‘we’re winning this, we’re winning this’. I mean, we all had confidence,” Dungey said. “I really felt like we left a lot on the table, out on the field.”

 

Not a moral victory

Plenty of people wrote the Orange off before kick-off. But Syracuse hung around and gave the Tigers a game.

Babers is not a moral victory kind of guy, but said he’s still proud of the way his team performed.

“We shouldn’t be satisfied,” Babers said. “We could have won that football game and we didn’t. They need to understand that that hurts and we need to find a way to go out and win the next one.”

“I think that we’re a good team. Now, we’ve got to line up and play again. We got to play another team that had a fantastic win (North Carolina State, which beat Florida State in Tallahassee.) We’re coming off of a loss.

“We got to be healthy. I don’t know how healthy we are. It’s going to be a long road, but I think I got a bunch of guys that will line up every single Saturday and fight, even if the Saturday’s on a Friday” (as it will be when Clemson comes to the Dome on Oct. 13).

Now if his team turned a corner after putting up a fight? He said that’s still questionable.

“We’re going to have to see. We just lost a game. I don’t think you turn corners when you lose.”

 

Next up

Syracuse (2-2, 0-0) opens up ACC play when it visits N.C. State (3-1, 1-0 ACC) on Saturday with kickoff set at 12:20.

LSU (3-1) takes on Troy (3-1) in a 7:00 p.m. game in Baton Rouge.

Orange Roars Back, Rolls Over CMU

September 17, 2017

Story by Ashley Burroughs Photos by Jared Bomba SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Syracuse Orange football team struggled early, then bounced back for a blowout win against Central Michigan at the Carrier Dome on Saturday. Looking at a must-win situation after the loss to Middle Tennessee State a week earlier, the SU offense rolled up 579 […]

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  • Story by Ashley Burroughs

Photos by Jared Bomba

SYRACUSE, N.Y.

The Syracuse Orange football team struggled early, then bounced back for a blowout win against Central Michigan at the Carrier Dome on Saturday.

Looking at a must-win situation after the loss to Middle Tennessee State a week earlier, the SU offense rolled up 579 yards.The defense held the Chippewas to 382 yards and shut them out in the second half in front of the largest reported crowd this season, 33,004.
“I am very-very proud of them,” head coach Dino Babers said. “They really went about their business and came out and played this game the right way. I thought they played extremely well.”

 

First Quarter: Back and forth

Central Michigan won the coin toss and deferred. Quarterback Eric Dungey led the Orange down the field but the drive stalled and Cole Murphy hit a 41-yard field to put Syracuse ahead 3-0.

Central Michigan battled back and Shane Morris completed a 56-yard touchdown pass to Cameron Cole for 56-yards to give the Chippewas 7-3 lead.

On the next series, Dungey’s pass was intercepted by Jacorey Sullivan at the 28-yard line and while the Orange defense stopped CMU,the Chippewas were already in position for a 30-yard field goal by Michael Armstrong, extending the lead 10-3.

Syracuse tied it up when defensive back Evan Foster intercepted a Morris pass and returned it for a 24-yard touchdown and the first quarter ended tied at 10-10

 

Second Quarter: Momentum Shift for Syracuse

Both teams moved the ball but neither put points on the board early on the second quarter. But at 7:52, Morris completed a pass to Johnathan Ward for a 17-yard touchdown for Central Michigan to regain the lead 17-10. That turned out to be the last score for CMU

Wide receiver Sean Riley, returned the kickoff 64 yards to Central Michigan’s 32-yard line. Six plays later Dungey compled an 18-yard touchdown pass to Dontae Strickland to tie the game 17-17.

Later in the quarter, Syracuse defensive back Christopher Fredrick intercepted Morris’s pass at the 24-yard line and returned it to the SU 47-yard line. Dungey completed a deep pass for 44 yards to Riley resulting in a first down for the Orange. Strickland took it the last nine yards up the middle to give Syracuse a 24-17 lead at the half.

“Sean did a great job,” Dungey said. “They defensively set the tempo for us. Defense did a great job today. The line did a great job. You know Sean and the receivers making plays and some of the young guys stepping up.”

 

Third Quarter: Dungey Making Major Plays 

At the start of the third quarter, the Orange continued to drive the ball. Wide receiver Moe Neal, made a game-changing play by rushing the ball 71-yards to Central Michigan’s putting Syracuse in the red zone again. Dungey completed a 17 yard pass to Steve Ishmael to the one-yard line. Then, Dungey ran the ball up the middle for a touchdown increasing Syracuse’s lead to 31-17.

As the Orange defense shut CMU down, SU’s offense kept churning out big gains. Dungey took a turn, rushing the ball 74-yards to Central Michigan’s six-yard line before the Chippewas caught up with him.

“It was good, I wish I would have scored but I haven’t had a long run like that since high school,” Dungey said. “The offense did a great job- the line making a hole for me and I saw the opportunity and I just tried to make a play. I am glad we were able to capitalize after that.”

This play set up a six-yard touchdown pass to tight end Ravian Pierce to pad the lead to 38-17. Cole Murphy kicked a 25-yard field goal to end quarter., 41-17, Syracuse.

 

Fourth Quarter: Orange Defense Dominates

Central Michigan continued to struggle offensively due to the Orange defense. Morris had two complete passes for nine yards to get a first down. Wide receiver Romelo Ross rushed the ball up the middle for five-yards, appearing to get a touchdown but the play reviewed and it was ruled a fumble and SU recovery. As a result the Orange defense held Central Michigan scoreless in the fourth quarter and Syracuse coasted to a 41-17 win.

 

Looking Ahead:

The Orange will be facing two tough opponents in the next two games. Syracuse (2-1) will be on the road Sept. 23 against LSU (2-1) then at North Carolina State the following Saturday.

“We just have to go in there focus and play the way we play,” Riley said.

The LSU Tigers (2-1) were ranked 12th in the country but got blown out Saturday at Mississippi State (3-0). The game is schedule to start at 7 p.m.

This was the first loss of the season for Central Michigan (2-1). The Chippewas will host the Miami RedHawks (1-2) next Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

 

 

WAER Hall of Fame for Marv Albert

September 14, 2017

Story by Zach Staton Staff photos SYRACUSE N.Y. – Before he became “The Voice of the New York Knicks,” fans were already accustomed to Marv Albert’s voice ringing throughout the stands in Madison Square Garden. “I used to go to the top of Madison Square Garden and do play-by-play for all of the Knicks games,” Albert […]

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Story by Zach Staton
Staff photos

SYRACUSE N.Y. – 
Before he became “The Voice of the New York Knicks,” fans were already accustomed to Marv Albert’s voice ringing throughout the stands in Madison Square Garden.

“I used to go to the top of Madison Square Garden and do play-by-play for all of the Knicks games,” Albert told the crowd gathered in the Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School.

“That really got on the nerves of the fans around me,” he said, drawing enthusiastic laughter.


Hall of Fame Broadcaster

Albert was inducted into the WAER Hall of Fame Wednesday evening, joining alums such as Ted Koppel, Bob Costas, Sean McDonough, Dick Stockton, Beth Mowins, Mike Tirico and Ian Eagle.

WAER also announced that its news and sports studios have been named in his honor.

WAER, the University- licensed radio station, is currently professionally staffed but uses student volunteers in broadcasting news and sports.  When Albert attended Syracuse, from 1960-1963, the station was entirely run by students.  He said he knew he wanted to be a sportscaster and it was one of Albert’s idols who convinced him the opportunity he had at WAER would be unlike anything else.

“I had gotten to know Marty Glickman quite well when I worked for him in high school,” Albert said.  “He kind of convinced me that coming here would be the right move because it had all the good sports teams and it had WAER.”

Glickman, the Olympic runner and Syracuse football star turned sports broadcaster is legendary as the person who started the line of successful sports media professionals who came through SU although WAER did not exist when he was a student, graduating in 1939. He became the play-by-play man for the NBA New York Knicks and the New York football Giants, broadcasting a wide variety of sports and mentoring dozens of successful broadcasters who came after him.

WAER Sports – the incubator

At WAER, Albert called play-by-play for various sports, including basketball.  He also called Syracuse Chiefs baseball games in 1962, the same position former S.F. Giants and N.Y. Yankees announcer Hank Greenwald, Monday Night Football announcer Sean McDonough, ESPN and Chicago White Sox announcer Jason Benetti, “Voice of the Orange” Matt Park and other SU alums held early in their careers.  Each was a student broadcaster at WAER.

“It is fantastic to see that kind of success,” Albert said. “The more people are produced here, the more people are attracted to come here.”

Albert moved on to become the play-by-play broadcaster for the New York Knicks from 1967-2004, the lead announcer for the NBA on NBC from 1990-2002, and is currently calling NBA games on TNT. He’s also made his mark as Voice of the New York Rangers in the NHL and covering boxing, including in the Olympics for NBC.

Sparring with the Czar

Former NBA head coach and current Turner Sports colleague Mike Fratello delivered the Hall of Fame introductory speech, showing that they are not just good broadcast partners, but also close friends off the air.  In addition to saluting Albert, the man whom Albert dubbed “Czar of the Telestrator” poked fun at his various appearances on television shows such as Everybody Loves Raymond, The Simpsons, and Sesame Street, which the audience saw in a highlight clip.

“Marv was always trying to get into acting,” Fratello said. “He was so prepared for the games during that phase, he leaned over to me one game and asked, ‘Who is that wearing the number 23?’ So I said, ‘That’s Michael Jordan.’”

Albert made sure to return fire, playing a video of Fratello getting angry at officials while he was coaching.

Fellow greats

Joining Albert in the 2017 WAER Hall of Fame class were Ed Levine, owner of Galaxy Communications, and Scott MacFarlane, an investigative reporter for NBC 4 in Washington D.C.

In his speech, MacFarlane highlighted a trip he made with his father to watch the Denver Nuggets play the New Jersey Nets.  The teams’ play-by-play announcers were Al and Steve Albert, Marv’s younger brothers.

“I thought, ‘Wow, those guys must have a really good older brother,'” MacFarlane said.

Blue Raiders Down Orange in Shafer Return

September 10, 2017

Story by Erica Pieschke Photos by Ivan Traczuk SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders came from behind, then held off two late Syracuse drives to upset the favored Orange 30-23 at the Carrier Dome, Saturday. It was a triumphant return for former Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer who is now the defensive coordinator for […]

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Story by Erica Pieschke

Photos by Ivan Traczuk

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders came from behind, then held off two late Syracuse drives to upset the favored Orange 30-23 at the Carrier Dome, Saturday.

It was a triumphant return for former Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer who is now the defensive coordinator for Middle Tennessee. His defense repeatedly stymied the Orange’s fast-paced offense, and stopped Syracuse just short in its final drive to tie the game.

Shafer’s successor as head coach, Dino Babers said the emotion that Shafer’s presence brought had an effect on the SU players.

“There’s nobody to blame but myself,” Babers said. “It’s my job to get them ready, they weren’t ready. We didn’t handle the emotional roller coaster with all the stuff that was brought into this game.”

First Quarter: Slow Start 

The teams exchanged punts early in the game, but on MTSU’s second possession the Blue Raiders drove to the Syracuse 24. Evan Foster forced a Brad Anderson fumble and Parris Bennett recovered for Syracuse at the 16..

From there the Orange want backwards.

Dontae Strickland was stopped after a three-yard run. Quarterback Eric Dungey threw an incomplete pass to Steve Ishmael, then was sacked for a six-yard loss.

The snap went over punter Sterling Hofrichter’s head and into the end zone and he took a safety. Middle Tennessee led 2-0 halfway through the first quarter.

A couple of series later, Syracuse’s Jonathan Thomas intercepted a Brent Stockstill pass at the MTSU 19 and ran it back to the four-yard line. The Orange looked to be in business.

But Strickland was stopped for two consecutive losses rushing, and another incomplete pass from Dungey to Ishmael on third down led Syracuse to settle for a field goal. Cole Murphy connected from 25 yards out, putting Syracuse in the lead 3-2.

Shane Tucker returned Murphy’s kickoff 64-yards to the Syracuse 35 and while the first quarter ended with Syracuse ahead 3-2, that wouldn’t last long.

Dungey had a total of four yards passing while Middle Tennessee’s Stockstill ended the quarter with 118 yards.

 

Second Quarter: Missed chances

Stockstill opened the second quarter by keeping the ball for a 12-yard gain to the SU 14. Ty Lee took it the rest of the way on the next play and Canon Rooker added the extra point, putting Middle Tennessee back in the lead 9-3.

This seemed to fire up Syracuse. After Sean Riley returned the kickoff to the SU 48, the Orange drove to the MTSU one-yard line this time Strickland took it in up the middle.

After Murphy’s extra point, Syracuse had the lead back at 10-9.

The Orange stopped the Blue Raiders and drove again, this time to the MTSU eight-yard line. But a fourth-down pass to Ishmael went incomplete and SU came away empty.

The Orange stopped the Blue Raiders again, and again drove, this time to the MTSU four-yard line. A rush and two incomplete passes left Babers with another choice and this time he took the field goal. Murphy’s 22-yard kick was good.

Syracuse led 13-9 at the half.

 

Third Quarter: MTSU ties it

Dungey came off the field gimpy, early in the second half after a couple of hard hits, one of which got MTSU defensive end Walter Brady tossed out for targeting.

Backup Zach Mahoney drove Orange to the MTSU 19-yard line but got sacked, losing six yards, and Syracuse set up for another field goal. Murphy made the 40-yard kick, putting Syracuse up 16-9.

The Orange seemed in control when it forced a Blue Raiders’ three-and-out, but Riley fumbled the punt, Ruben Garnett recovered at the SU 28 and the Stockstill was not about to miss another chance.

After getting nowhere on first and second down, he passed found Richie James open for the score.

Rooker’s extra point tied the score at 16-16.

Murphy missed a 40-yard attempt that would have given Syracuse back the lead and the third quarter.

ended with the tie intact.

 

Fourth Quarter: Blue Raiders finish it

Stockstill opened the fourth quarter with a 48-yard touchdown pass to Ty Lee and suddenly the Blue Raiders had the lead back.

Dungey answered with an eleven-play, 75-yard drive, taking it in himself on a 29-yard keeper up the middle to tie the game at 23.

Stockstill led Middle Tennessee 75 yards in ten plays,  hitting Shane Tucker on a a ten-yard crossing route for the touchdown and a 30-23 lead.

Syracuse had two more chances, but Dungey was intercepted on the 24 on the first drive.

The Orange defense held and there was one chance left. Syracuse drove again from its own 40.

With 28 seconds left and the Orange at fourth down and 15 yards to go, Dungey completed a sideline pass to Ishmael who was close to the first-down marker. As the Syracuse crowd held its collective breath, the play was reviewed. The catch was ruled one yard short and MTSU ran out the clock.

“Steve did a great job,” Dungey said. “He executed well on that play and the line did a great job as well. I thought we had it, but I guess not.”

 

Shafer’s success

Shafer’s defense held Syracuse to 308 yards of total offense, 126 rushing and stopped the Orange twice in comeback attempts in the fourth quarter.

Middle Tennessee threw an array of blitzes at the Orange and Dungey said that caused difficulty, especially early.

Shafer, who embraced a number of his former players before the game, brought a cigar to his post-game media opportunity but passed on any opportunity to gloat.

“It was never about anything more than the kids, the players,” he told reporters after the game.

“I love those boys on this Middle Tennessee team and I love those boys at Syracuse.”

 

Notes

Quarterback Eric Dungey started out seeming to be affected by the emotion but wound up gaining 89 yards by rushing the ball, 29 of gave him to that touchdown in the fourth quarter.

In addition, Dungey passed a total of 180 yards on 26 completions. This number pushed Dungey past Don McPherson’s career completions to being fifth on the SU list with a total of 373.

McPherson was in the Dome as part of the 30th anniversary of the 1987 undefeated SU team that he quarterbacked, winding up second to Notre Dame’s Tim Brown in the Heisman Trophy voting.

Linebacker Parris Bennett said his past year’s experience of losses gives him knowledge of how to make a come back for the next game.

“I mean you just got to go look at the film. Look at the mistakes and examine yourself hard,” Bennett says. “But you also can’t let the loss weigh on you and effect you for the next game. After you watch the film, and make your adjustments, you’ve got to flush it.”

Looking Ahead

This was the first loss of the season, and in a game Syracuse was favored to win. Babers said he knows what the team needs  to move forward.

“Well the first thing that we need to do is we need to go back and we need to reexamine ourselves tomorrow, and it has to be an honest evaluation,” Babers said.

“You’ve got to drop the E so we can GO. These young men, sometimes you look at them and tell them the truth and sometimes they believe you and sometimes they don’t. I guarantee you all 104 of them will believe tomorrow in the meeting. And with that belief we have an opportunity to be better.”

Syracuse (1-1) hosts Central Michigan (2-0) Saturday, Sept. 16 at 3:30 p.m. The Chippewas beat Kansas on Saturday, 45-27.

Middle Tennessee (1-1) will be on the road Saturday, Sept. 16 at 2:30 against the University of Minnesota (2-0.) The Golden Gophers rolled over Oregon State, 48-14.

Walk-off Win for Chiefs on Community Night

September 3, 2017

Story and photo by Kent Paisley SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Andrew Stevenson lashed a walk-off single to give the Syracuse Chiefs a 2-1 win over the Buffalo Bisons at NBT Bank Stadium Saturday night to even their final series of the season at one each. The walk-off single snapped the Chiefs three game losing streak, and allowed the […]

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Story and photo by Kent Paisley

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Andrew Stevenson lashed a walk-off single to give the Syracuse Chiefs a 2-1 win over the Buffalo Bisons at NBT Bank Stadium Saturday night to even their final series of the season at one each.

The walk-off single snapped the Chiefs three game losing streak, and allowed the team to celebrate on the final fireworks night of the season.

 

Community Night at NBT Stadium

The Chiefs held their second annual Community Night, offering a free mystery bobble head to the first one thousand fans who entered the stadium. The bobble heads ranged from Game of Thrones characters to NBA players.

People were also able to purchase additional bobble heads for $5, as well as participate in a 50/50 raffle. All the proceeds went to the Syracuse Chiefs Charitable Foundation.

In addition, one dollar from every game ticket was donated to Maureen’s Hope, a charitable organization which has partnered with the Syracuse Chiefs for its Beads of Courage program.

The Beads of Courage program has Chiefs players wear beads for one game of the season, and write an inspirational note to go along with the beads. The note and beads are then given to hospitalized children that are fighting cancer.

After recognizing during a pregame ceremony some children fighting cancer and having them each throw out a first pitch, the game was on.
Second Inning Scare

Esmil Rogers (3-2, 3.58 ERA) took the hill for the Chiefs. Murphy Smith (3-5, 3.66 ERA) started for the Bisons. The first inning was uneventful for both teams, but the Bisons and the Chiefs each had the opportunity to draw first blood in the second inning.

In the top of the second, Bisons first baseman Randy Tellez drew a walk, and third baseman Jason Leblebijian followed with a single up the middle, putting runners on first and second.

Rogers proceeded to amplify the threat by throwing a fastball in the dirt, knocked down but not corralled by the hobbling catcher Pedro Severino. Serverino hurt his lower leg on a foul tip in the top of the first.

Rogers then struck out Bison catcher Mike Ohlman, and got shortstop Shane Opitz to hit a soaring pop up to Chiefs second baseman Brandon Snyder just outside the infield dirt for the second out of the frame.

Rogers then added to his personal highlight reel to support his cause, with Bisons second baseman Jon Berti hitting a one hop grounder towards the mound.

Rogers stabbed out with his pitching hand and snagged the ball, and then calmly threw to first base to get out of the jam without surrendering a run.

“It wasn’t hit that hard,” Chiefs manager Billy Gardner said after the game.  (But) we’d rather see him use his glove,”

 

Two-out Magic

No base runner got past first base in the third through fifth innings, but the Chiefs broke the streak in the bottom of the sixth.

Smith had set down nine consecutive Chiefst before facing right fielder Neftali Soto, who singled on a line drive to right field.

Cleanup and designated hitter Clint Robinson strode to the plate next, and cleaned up the lone runner on the bases with a line drive into the left center gap that hopped to the wall for a double.

Snyder followed up with a ten-pitch at bat that resulted in a strikeout, but the damage was complete. The Chiefs had secured the first lead of the game, 1-0 through six innings.

The Bisons responded in the top of the seventh, with Leblebijian hitting a hooking line drive down the left field line for a double. Ohlman, in his second at bat with a runner in scoring position, struck out for the second time.

Opitz answered the bell, hitting a ground ball between the second and first baseman into right field. Soto threw home, but the throw was not in time.

Berti hit into a fielder’s choice at shortstop for the second out and then make the strange decision to try to take second while Rogers was set. He was thrown out to end the inning.

 

Relievers 

The second inning repeated itself in the bottom of the seventh after reliever Chris Smith entered the game for the Buffalo Bisons, ending the evening for Murphy Smith.

Matt Skole opened up the proceedings with a double. Severino followed up with a walk, putting two ducks on the pond with nobody out.

Sanchez dropped a successful sacrifice bunt to set up second and third with one out for the nine-hole hitter Almanzar.

Almanzar failed to drive home a run by striking out.

Chiefs center fielder Rafael Bautista followed by grounding out to shortstop to end the Syracuse scoring threat.

Chiefs reliever Wander Suero replaced Rogers for the Chiefs in the top of the eighth. Rogers finished his evening throwing 100 pitches, giving up six hits, striking out six with one earned run.

Suero gave up a single to right fielder Ian Parmley to begin the top of the eighth.

Fields dropped a sacrifice bunt to advance Parmley to second with one out.

Bisons left fielder Anthony Alford came to the plate and Suero threw a wild pitch to him, resulting in Parmley taking third base.

Alford hit a pop up that Snyder caught over his shoulder in shallow right field, and Parmley wisely did not attempt to score from third for Buffalo.

Designated hitter Dwight Smith Jr. was intentionally walked on a 3-1 count. He then stole second on the first pitch seen by Tellez. Tellez grounded out to first to end the Buffalo scoring opportunity in the top of the eighth.

Syracuse again saw first and second with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, following a Robinson double and a Snyder walk against Bisons reliever Leonel Campos. But Skole struck out swinging, and the score held 1-1 going into the ninth.

 

Bobbling the Ninth

Suero returned to the hill for his second inning of work, as only three Chiefs relievers had not pitched on Friday night in a 4-0 loss to the Bisons.

Suero gave up a single to right field to Leblebijian to open the frame. Ohlman flew out, and Opitz walked to set up first and second with one out.

Berti hit a ground out to the third baseman Almanzar, who instead of stepping on third base which he was two feet away from, threw to second base to try to convert the double play. A bobbled decision resulted in first and third with two outs, instead of the inning potentially being over.

Parmley arrived to the plate and Berti stole second base with no throw to set up two runners in scoring position with two outs.

Suero steadied the ship by striking out Parmley, Parmley’s second K of the game.

Wil Browning came into the game for the Bisons in the ninth, hoping to force an extra inning of labor on Labor Day weekend.

He gave up a single to start the frame to Severino. After a Sanchez strikeout, Irving Falu pinch hit for Alamanzar and grounded into a fielder’s choice to Berti, who failed to convert the 4-6-3 double play.

It was now the Bisons’ turn to bobble. Two outs, runner on first, extra innings in sight.

Bautista came to the plate. Falu stole second base, and then took third on a wild fastball in the dirt.

Bautista showed patience, and took the walk handed to him.

Bautista stole second base with no throw on the first pitch of Stevenson’s at bat, to ensure one less force out option for the Bisons.

It did not matter, however, as Stevenson hit a rocket line drive outside of the reach of the diving Leblebijian at third base.

Stevenson had a simple initial thought once he saw the ball get past Leblebijian.

“Game over” Stevenson said.

 

Remainder of the Season

The Chiefs host two more games against the Buffalo Bisons, and the 142-game season will conclude with a Labor Day afternoon game.

Gardner explained the goals for the team for these final outings.

“Go out and compete like we’ve done all year. Play some good baseball, put ourselves in a position to win.”

The Chiefs and Bisons game Sunday starts at 7:05 P.M., celebrating Back to School Day at NBT Bank Stadium.

 

Orange Dispatches CCSU in Opener

September 2, 2017

Story by Alana Seldon Photos by Katie Benoit SYRACUSE, N.Y. –The Syracuse Orange football team started its holiday weekend off with a blowout win in the 2017 season opener against Central Connecticut State at the Carrier Dome on Friday night in front of a reported crowd of 30,273. The Orange rolled up 586 yards on 93 […]

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Story by Alana Seldon

Photos by Katie Benoit

SYRACUSE, N.Y. –The Syracuse Orange football team started its holiday weekend off with a blowout win in the 2017 season opener against Central Connecticut State at the Carrier Dome on Friday night in front of a reported crowd of 30,273.

The Orange rolled up 586 yards on 93 offensive plays but just 155 on the ground in a 50-7 win.

“I thought we definitely took what the defense was giving us,” Syracuse head coach Dino Babers said. “They made a point that they didn’t want us to run the ball. We threw the ball well.”

 

Dungey being Dungey

Junior quarterback Eric Dungey set the pace for the Orange’s energy with 13 straight completions to start the game, spinning and somersaulting and occasionally leaving Orange fans’ hearts in their mouths. After missing parts of his first two seasons with injuries Dungey staying healthy all year is a major concern.

In his second season as Syracuse head coach, Dino Babers says that flair on the field is just a part of Dungey.

“That’s how he is,” Babers said. “He’s very difficult to change when it comes to that, but it makes his game. A lot of quarterbacks do that stuff and it affects their accuracy and their numbers and their percentages drop. He does that stuff and he throws at high percentages.”

Dungey reached his seventh career 300-plus-yard passing game, completing 28 of 36 for 328 yards and accounted for  three touchdowns. He rushed for 51 yards on five carries.
With an aggressive performance on both sides of the ball against the Blue Devils, Dungey says he was most pleased with the defensive line.

“I’m proud of their movement and their good condition,” Dungey said. “I was happy watching the defense out there, I probably get the most pleased watching them.”

Cordy injured

An injury to safety Antwan Cordy on Friday night caused the redshirt junior to leave the game and return to the sidelines on crutches with a boot on his leg. Cordy missed most of last season after breaking his forearm.

Jordan Martin, who took Cordy’s spot on the field, called his teammate  a “thermostat” for the defense.

“He sets the tone for us,” Martin said. “His play speaks for itself. I mean, he’s a high-energy guy. He brings a lot of fun to the defense, he brings a lot of good plays, a lot of big plays. That’s why we call him the thermostat, he raises the temperature for all of us.”

Head coach Dino Babers said he was unsure of the status of Cordy’s injury, but he’s hopeful.

“We don’t have a final say on Antwan yet,” Babers said. “We’re going to have to wait and see what the doctors say. Obviously, we expect him back, we’re trying to hope for the best.”

 

First Quarter: Big SU Lead

Dungey and running back Dontae Strickland set the pace for the Orange with back-to-back touchdowns in less than six minutes after kickoff, while the Blue Devils had a slow start.

The quarterback ran it in 11 yards on a bootleg around left end and kicker Cole Murphy added the extra point. as Syracuse grabbed an early 7-0 lead on the opening drive.

After the Blue Devils went three-and-out, Strickland scored on the second drive, skipping into the end-zone from six yards out.

Senior wide-receiver Ervin Philips followed, scoring the third touchdown for the Orange on a 14-yard pass from Dungey.

Syracuse led the Blue Devils 21-0 at the end of the first.

 

Second Quarter: Orange Puts on the Pressure

The second quarter saw some of the same action from Syracuse and a lack thereof from Central Connecticut.

A good field goal a from the 29 by senior Cole Murphy after an SU drive stalled advanced the Orange lead to 24-0. Then, sophomore Moe Neal added another touchdown after a 52-yard sideline catch and run on a pass from Dungey.

“The effort was really good,”  Babers said. “Defense is hitting people and making it difficult on their quarterback.”

Syracuse was in control at the half, outscoring the Blue Devils 31-0.

 

Third Quarter: CCSU Wakes Up

After a slow offensive first half, CCSU responded. Jake Dolegala completed a deep pass to receiver Jose Garcia for 24 yards. Garcia beat Scoop Bradshaw down the sideline, scoring Central Connecticut’s first touchdown of the night.

The Blue Devils had finally put some numbers on the board, trailing Syracuse 31-7.

Their celebration did not last long. Syracuse added another touchdown when Dungey connected a crossing pass to tight end Ravian Pierce in the end zone, for Pierce’s first career touchdown.

With 3:42 left, Dungey collected his second rushing touchdown of the night. Orange led 47-7. His night was over and redshirt freshman Rex Culpepper got some reps.

 

Fourth Quarter: It’s an Orange Game

The Orange entered the final quarter with the same momentum and back-to-back plays seal the deal over the Blue Devils.

Sophomore Sterling Hofrichter’s field goal attempt was good and Syracuse advanced to 47-7.

The Blue Devils get aggressive for a moment and sacked Culpepper who fumbled  and CCSU recovered the ball.

But on the next play, Syracuse forced a fumble on a sack and got the ball right back.

With 53 seconds left in the game, Cole Murphy tacked on a 39-yard field goal.                           

 

Looking Ahead

Syracuse hasn’t lost a season opener since its matchup against Penn State in 2013.

“Overall, I thought it was a good, solid game,” Babers said. “Football teams grow the most during their first and second games. We’re looking for a lot of growth coming into our next game versus Middle Tennessee.”

The Orange will host Middle Tennessee on Saturday, Sept. 9 at 3:30.

Central Connecticut State will host Fordham. That’s a noon game on Sept. 9