A quick take on Syracuse’s prowess in all three phases of the game on route to thumping Connecticut 51-21 at the Dome Saturday evening:
WHAT HAPPENED: On a day in which the university finally recognized the school’s all-time leading rusher, the spectacular Joe Morris (4,299 yards between 1978-1981), by hanging his No. 47 jersey from the building’s ceiling, the Orange finished off old foe UConn and Randy Edsall. It’s the first time a ‘Cuse team has won the first four games of a season since 1991, it’s only the third time since 1987, and it is only the fourth season in program history to start 4-0 since the 1959 national championship team. Think about that for a moment. Eric Dungey was outstanding leading SU to a 31-14 halftime lead accounting for all four TDs rushing for three scores and passing for another, then added another 49 yard highlight scoring pass to the flamboyant Sean Riley in the fourth quarter.
ANALYSIS: Dungey (21 of 26 for 286 yards in the air) took what the Connecticut (1-3, 0-1) defense gave him, not throwing deep as much as underneath and horizontally, finding nine different receivers, many on WR screen patterns, while Moe Neal led the rushing attack with 116 yards. The Syracuse (4-0, 1-0) defense contained the Huskies biggest weapon, senior QB David Pindell, sacking him six times, and Riley dazzled in the punt return game with his 69 yard sprint for a score in the third quarter, and catching the ball (six receptions) including the 49 yard TD hookup in the fourth quarter, adding up to his 290 all-purpose yards.
HEROES: As has been the case this season in four victories, there have been many. Defensive ends Alton Robinson and Kendall Coleman were all over the Huskies backfield (four combined sacks, six combined tackles), Riley, of course, sizzled on special teams, and local product Gabe Horan (Baldinsville) will always be able to say that his first career catch as an Orange player was a seven yard touchdown reception from Eric Dungey. The freshman tight end’s stumble into the end zone made the score 20-0 in the first quarter.
ZERO: It’s certainly being nit-picking in a 30 point victory, but UConn’s elusive Pindell parted the ‘Cuse “D” for a 75 yard touchdown run in the second quarter, and SU committed too many penalties considering the score, being flagged an unacceptable 11 times for 100 yards.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse goes on the road for just the second time this season, and it’s a tall task facing this week’s No. 3 ranked team, Clemson (4-0, 1-0), next Saturday at Death Valley the Memorial Stadium variety. No one needs to be reminded what happened last time these two teams played – Friday the 13th of last October, the monumental Orange upset. It should be an interesting week of practice for both teams. The Tigers traveled to Georgia Tech Saturday and looked impressive dismantling the Yellow Jackets 49-21. Game Time: 12:00 p.m. ET / TV-Radio: ABC-Sirius XM.