SU Football vs. Central Michigan

Dungey, 'Cuse offense erupt for 31 unanswered, defeat Chippewas

The Syracuse QB finished the game with 279 passing yards and 3 touchdowns.

The Orange trailed 17-10 mid-way through the second quarter. Central Michigan University just executed an A-11 offense play, 91-yard drive to take the lead. Fans aired their frustrations as the team look destined for another devastating defeat in the Carrier Dome.

Then the Orange offense came to life.

Led by junior quarterback Eric Dungey and sophomore receiver Sean Riley, the Orange shot off 31 unanswered points to trounce the Chippewas 41-17 and improve to 2-1.

Head Coach Dino Babers arrived at the postgame press conference with a hoarse voice, beaming with pride.

“The first thing I said to them in the locker room was that I am very, very proud of them,” Babers said. “They really went about their business and played this game the right way.”

Dungey Dominates

Dungey accounted for 388 of Syracuse’ 579 total yards. 279 were through the air and 109 on the ground. He also scored 3 touchdowns. His rushing yardage included a 74-yard scamper in the third quarter where he nearly outran the entire Central Michigan University defense.

“That was fun. I wish I would have scored,” Dungey said. “I haven’t had a long run like that since high school. The offensive line did a great job making a hole for me and I saw the opportunity to try to make a play.”

Not only did he light up the scoresheet, but he showed maturity and intelligence - a pleasant sight for his head coach.

“There were some plays where he flat saved us,” Coach Babers said. “He played smart quarterback football out there.”

Dungey’s leading receiver was Steve Ishmael. Ishmael hauled in eight catches for a season high of 139 yards. The senior from Miami, Florida is averaging over 11 receptions and nearly 130 yards per game. Ishmael is currently leading the ACC in both total yards and receptions.

Spectacular Special Teams

The special teams unit came under fire after last week’s defeat against Middle Tennessee State University, but they did the complete oppposite in today’s game.

“They were an extreme positive in this game.” Coach Babers said. “It was one of things that worked greatly in our favor, our special teams versus their special teams.”

When the offense was sputtering in the first half, punter Sterling Hofrichter pinned the Chippewas inside the ten-yard line three consecutive times.

One of the punts led to an interception returned for a touchdown by safety Evan Foster, which kept the Orange in the game.

The Orange were also helped out by their kick returner and sophomore receiver Riley, who ignited several Orange scoring drives and played his way onto the offense after Ervin Philips left the game due to injury.

“We call it ‘peacocking.’ If you’re going to peacock, you’re going to get more footballs,” Babers said. “There’s no doubt he had his feathers spread today.” Riley had 247 all-purpose yards in the game: four catches for 84 yards receiving, four rushes for 47 yards rushing, and 118 combined punt and kick return yards.

Tough Sledding Ahead

The Orange wrapped up their opening homestand with a 2-1 record. Next Saturday they head south to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to do battle with the Bayou Bengals of Louisiana State University.

The Tigers hold a slight 2-1 edge in the all-time series.

The programs last saw each other in 2015 when LSU defeated Syracuse in the Carrier Dome, 34-24. Coach Babers and the Orange have never visited Tiger Stadium.

“They keep telling me when they poke that tiger, it’s going to sound like something you’ve never heard before.” Coach Babers said. “Well, as crazy as it sounds I’m looking forward to that and I think the rest of the team is too. This team is ready.”

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