A quick take on Syracuse’s 50-7 win over Central Connecticut State on Friday night at the Carrier Dome to open the 2017 season:
WHAT HAPPENED: Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey completed his first 13 passes, the offense scored touchdowns on its first three drives, and the defense pitched a shutout in the first half in a dominant performance. The Orange outgained Central Connecticut State 586-154, while amassing 37 first downs.
ANALYSIS: It’s difficult to draw too many conclusions in a season opener against an FBS opponent, but Syracuse looked the part of a Power-5 team dominating a lesser opponent. The offense looked like a well-oiled machine in the first quarter before hitting a lull in the second. SU’s defense also looked crisper, allowing just one third down conversion all night and holding the Blue Devils to under 200 total yards. But the win did come with a heavy toll, with safety Antwan Cordy suffering a lower body injury early in the first half. He returned on crutches. Remember, Cordy missed most of the 2016 season after breaking his arm against Louisville.
HERO: Dungey’s evening was done in the third quarter, but he still managed to throw for 328 yards and three touchdowns, adding 51 yards and two more scores on the ground. Still, Dungey, who had promised to slide more prior to the season, reverted to instinct, tucking the ball and absorbing contact far too many times. Eleven different SU receivers had at least one reception, with Steve Ishmael (12 receptions, 134 yards) and Erv Phillips (6-71) leading the way. Rex Culpepper got second-string duties behind Dungey over Zach Mahoney, and made the most of his opportunity, completing 9 of 16 passes for 103 yards.
ZERO: While it didn’t play much of a factor tonight, the Orange couldn’t establish much of a run game between the tackles. Dontae Strickland and his understudy Moe Neal combined with 19 rushes for an anemic 55 yards. The Orange ended up being led by Dungey’s 51 yards in that category.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse will play on Sept. 9 at the Carrier Dome against Middle Tennessee State at 3:30. TV: ACC Network.