In his Syracuse coaching debut, Dino Babers showcased his highly anticipated, fast-paced offense that was the cornerstone of his success at Bowling Green. SU showed that “Orange is the New Fast” was more than a clever slogan in a 33-7 romp against Colgate, but Babers made it clear that his team will only be moving faster as the season progresses.
“That will be the slowest game you ever see us play,” Babers said. “Did you see the paint drying? I did. We will never be that slow again.”
While Babers might have considered Friday night’s victory to be on the slow side of fast, the offense moved at a quicker pace than what Syracuse fans have been used to. In the first half, Syracuse possessed the ball for just over 12 minutes, executing 35 offensive plays.
The Orange scored on four drives, including one that lasted only 11 seconds, with running back Moe Neal breaking free for a 49-yard touchdown, part of a 20-7 first half lead.
It was more of the same in the second half, as Syracuse continued to test Colgate’s endurance with the uptempo play calling. SU snapped an additional 46 plays and scored three more times.
In total, the Orange ran 81 offensive plays, with a net gain of 554 yards in 30:26 of possession time.
Fast, but not fast enough.
“You never know what is going to happen with our style of play during the first game,” Babers said. “I think what you saw tonight was both sides. A little bit of the good and a little bit of the bad. Hopefully, you walked away with a glimmer… you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, of what this could become once you work all the kinks out.”
There are certainly a few kinks for the offense to iron out.
Aside from Neal’s touchdown run, the ground game was mostly ineffective. Baber’s attributed the lack of running success to Colgate’s sturdy defensive line.
Though the Orange pounded the Raiders through the air, Babers made it clear that he does not want to throw the ball every down.
“Most college football teams grow the most between their first and second games.” Babers said. “We finally got a chance to hit somebody else. I talked to the team in the locker room. Now we need to come in tomorrow and look at the tape unselfishly.
That is a message that Babers seems to have translated to his players.
“I don’t think it was fast enough,” Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey said. “There’s tons of room for improvement. I’m glad we got the win, but I’m looking forward to getting in there tomorrow, watching the film with these guys, and improving.”