Syracuse 40, Central Michigan 3 — What we learned

Syracuse routed Central Michigan 40-3 on the road. Here are a few takeaways from the game:

The defense looked a lot better

You have to feel a lot better about the Syracuse defense after this game. In Week 1, the Orange allowed FCS Villanova to accumulate 389 total yards (including 190 yards on the ground), mostly due to fleet footed QB John Robertson. Against CMU QB Cooper Rush, who is more of a traditional pocket passer, the Orange was able to stifle the Chippewas to just 217 total yards and just 34 yards on the ground. It didn’t hurt that CMU leading rusher Thomas Rawls sat because of an undisclosed “issue,” and that leading receiver Titus Davis sat out a second game due to a knee injury. Give credit to Chuck Bullough, who dialed up a variety of blitzes and got to Rush five times, while forcing him into several poor throws. “I was pleased with the way the defensive line played,” Syracuse coach Scott Shafer said. “It was a good job, anytime you can hold them to 26 yards rushing that’s a great job and I couldn’t be more pleased with those men up front.”

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Hunt rushed for three scores against CMU

» Related: Syracuse stays undefeated by routing Central Michigan

The running backs were impressive

On the other side of the ball, the Orange had one of its most balanced rushing attacks in recent memory. Six different players rushed at least four times, and overall, the ground game finishing with 289 yards, with QB Terrel Hunt running in three scores. Ervin Philips and Adonis Ameen-Moore looked particularly impressive. Ameen-Moore finished with nine rushes for 106 yards (11.8 average) and Philips rushed nine times for 55 yards (6.1). “Offensively great job, 289 yards rushing, great job,” Shafer said. “I thought we took care of the football, which was key. It was great to see so many kids get to play and be apart of a productive victory.”

Norton shaky, Dixon impressive

It won’t raise too many eyebrows in a 37-point win, but Syracuse has to be concerned about its kicking game. Ryan Norton went 1-3 on Saturday, with his only make coming from 23 yards. He misfired on a 42 yard attempt, and then badly shanked a 45-yard attempt later in the game. His range appears to be 35 yards at the moment, and that isn’t going to cut it when Syracuse plays tougher competition. On the other end, Riley Dixon continues his stellar play. The punter unleashed three beauties, pinning Central Michigan inside their own 20 on all three occasions.

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Wes Cheng

About Wes Cheng

Wes has worked for Rivals.com covering the New York Knicks, as well as for Scout.com covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also worked for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005. Follow him on Twitter @ChengWes.
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Syracuse Orange rout Central Michigan Chippewas, improve to 2-0
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