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 […]
- 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.
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.