Instant Juice: Syracuse 31, Connecticut 24

Babers_Thinker

Dino Babers and the Orange grabbed their first road victory since a 2014 win at Wake Forest, by defeating UConn 31-24 Saturday afternoon.

East Hartford, Conn. – A quick take on Syracuse’s hard fought 31-24 win over Connecticut on a beautiful fall afternoon for football in The Nutmeg State, in front of 31,899 at Rentschler Field.

WHAT HAPPENED: Syracuse notched its first road win since 2014 at Wake Forest, and recorded the first road victory in the Dino Babers era, by riding Cordell Hudson’s 22 yard interception return (tipped by Zaire Franklin) for the go ahead points in the third quarter, and stuffing the Huskies on a 4th and goal play from the 2 yard line (Franklin again leading the charge) with 6:12 in the fourth quarter to hold on.  Eric Dungey threw two scoring passes to Amba Etta-Tawo in the first half to give SU an early 14-0 lead, and his six yard scoring run with 2:13 to play clinched the victory.

» Related: Before Syracuse, Babers’ teams at Eastern Illinois, Bowling Green were routed, too

ANALYSIS: The Orange (2-2, 0-1) jumped to the quick 14-0 lead as Dungey took advantage of match-up advantages in single coverage of Etta-Tawo, while the SU defense settled down in the second half holding UConn to only three points.  The ‘Cuse offense beautifully mixed the run with the pass in the second half to keep the Huskies off balance.

HERO: Etta-Tawo broke Scott Schwedes’s 1985 record (249 yards) for most reception yards in a game with 270 yards on his 12 catches, the third best reception total in a game in school history.  It was also Etta-Tawo’s fourth straight game with over 100 receiving yards, another SU record.  Dungey was 26 of 40 for 407 yards passing.

ZERO: Two missed field goals by Cole Murphy from 47 and 33 yards out ended long ‘Cuse scoring drives without points in each half.  Murphy also knocked two kickoffs out of bounds giving UConn the ball at the 35 yard line.

WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse completes its four game series dating back to 2012 in the New York College Classic at MetLife Stadium next Saturday afternoon, Oct. 1, taking on Notre Dame, one of the Irish’s mandated five games against ACC teams each season.  N.D. (1-3) is off to its poorest start since 2007, and will come into the game with a worse record than the Orange after being upset by Duke 38-35 at South Bend Saturday afternoon.  Game Time: 12:00 p.m. ET / TV: ESPN.

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Brad Bierman

About Brad Bierman

Now in his fifth decade of covering SU sports, Brad was sports director of WSYR radio for eight years into the early 1990s, then wrote the Orange Watch column for The Big Orange/The Juice print publication for 18 years. A Syracuse University graduate, Brad currently runs his own media consulting business in the Philadelphia suburbs. Follow him on Twitter @BradBierman.
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