Syracuse vs Central Michigan 2015

Syracuse foils Chippewas' come-back to win in overtime, 30-27

Central Michigan overcame a 14-point second-half deficit but could only muster a field goal in overtime before allowing Syracuse's game-winning touchdown.

Syracuse blew a 14-point lead in Saturday afternoon’s game against Central Michigan, and after not reaching first down in all of the second half, managed to score a touchdown in overtime to improve to 3-0 on the season. It’s the best start for the Orange since 1991, when they finished 10-2 under coach Pasqualoni. Following the 30-27 victory, head coach Scott Shafer had nothing but adulation for his team.

Photo: Yonah Perline
Both team's lines prepare for the play.


“Our kids found a way to win a game and be 3-0 right now and I’m so proud of them,” Shafer told reporters after the game. 


While all of the celebration after this win is warranted, the Orange did lose its starting quarterback Eric Dungey to what the team is calling an upper body injury. Shafer declined to elaborate on the extent of the injury. 


It came on a scoring play for the Orange in the second quarter. Dungey displayed his adept “eluding the defense” skills as he danced in the pocket and found running back Dontae Strickland for a 25-yard touchdown, giving Syracuse the lead, 17-3. After Dungey released the football, Mitch Stanizek drilled Dungey on a late-hit. The crowd showered him with boos and Dungey was escorted off the field. Stanizek was ejected for his play. 


It seems that although Syracuse is having adversity thrown in its direction, they are playing with confidence. Terrel Hunt was lost in the first quarter of the season and fresh off of his first career start, Dungey was on the wrong end of a cheap-shot that forced him to leave the game. The team relinquished a two-touchdown lead in the second-half. 


With the entire crowd on its feet and the players vociferously raising their hands on the sidelines to get the crowd to 12-man status, CMU quarterback Cooper Rush silenced the stadium with a game-tying 27-yard touchdown pass with just 7 seconds left of the fourth quarter.  


After the Syracuse defense held the Chippewas to a field goal to begin overtime, running back Jordan Fredericks received a toss from quarterback Zack Mahoney from the four-yard line. CMU might view this game as a missed opportunity. 


Similar to the first-half of last week’s game against Wake Forest, the Orange offense didn’t seem to be up to the challenge, but this time it was the second-half when the woes surfaced. The two turnovers by Rush (fumble lost and an interception) looked costly, but Syracuse couldn’t capitalize. 


The defense put pressure on CMU, limiting the team to just three-points on the opening drive of OT and it was all the offense needed to get going again. It was a hard-fought battle and Shafer’s team got it done.


“We had to adjust to the elements, but we found a way to win,” Shafer said. 


The story coming into the game was how stingy the Syracuse defense had been. It came into today’s affair with seven takeaways on the young season, leading the nation in turnovers gained. Furthermore, the opposition had only gained a total of 50 rushing yards, ranking second nationally to Boston College. 


But to the dismay of the Syracuse Orange, the Chippewas didn’t have too much trouble offensively. They corralled 143 rushing yards and Rush went 37-for-51 with 430 yards and two touchdowns. 


This game might not have been how the coach drew it up, but the only thing that matters is the Orange handled business. This was a huge win. The Carrier Dome is going to be rocking next weekend when LSU visits the Carrier Dome. 


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