A quick take on Syracuse’s 33-7 win over Colgate in the first game of the Dino Babers era:
WHAT HAPPENED: After Colgate opened the game on a 12 play, 75-yard, 6:00 drive to take an early 7-0 lead, Syracuse responded less than two minutes later with a touchdown of its own. That was the impetus to 33 unanswered points as the Orange cruised past its upstate New York rival in the 2016 opener.
ANALYSIS: As advertised, Syracuse’s offense moved quickly, paused rarely and entertained constantly. The Orange ran 81 plays, gashing the Raiders for 554 yards, 437 of them through the air. But while much ado has been made about Syracuse’s new look offense, it was the Orange defense that shined. Colgate mustered only 143 yards, and only 68 yards after the Raiders’ initial scoring drive in the first quarter. SU held Colgate to 1.4 yards per rush and 11-24 in passing, with the inexperienced front four applying plenty of pressure on quarterback Jake Melville in its new Tampa 2 system.
HERO: Maryland transfer Amba Etta-Tawo had just one game with over 100 yards during his entire career with the Terps, ironically coming against the Orange. He has already matched that in one game with SU, hauling in 12 receptions for 210 yards and a touchdown. Erv Philips caught 14 passes for 87 yards and a score, tying a single-game reception record held by NFL Hall of Famer Art Monk. Quarterback Eric Dungey showed a mastery of the system, completing 34 of 40 passes for 355 yards and two scores before giving way to backup Zack Mahoney late in the fourth quarter.
ZERO: If you were to nitpick about the Orange in a blowout win, it would be its inability to finish out several promising drives. On four different possessions, SU drove deep into Colgate territory before settling for a field goal each time. That played little to no role in a game against an inferior opponent, but the Orange will need to finish drives against ACC competition. “It was just okay,” Babers said of his offense following the game, saying that his team should’ve put up touchdowns each time.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse will open its 2016 ACC schedule when it hosts Louisville on Friday, Sept. 9 at the Carrier Dome at 8 p.m. TV: ESPN2.