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Who needs a visor when your team scores 47?
The highs and lows of sports seem great. No greater illustration than this past Friday's game with URI and Syracuse if you are an SU fan. Syracuse cruised to a 47-0 victory after a crazy start for both teams, coughing up the ball a lot. But along the way, Syracuse again lost starting QB Terrel Hunt for the season. True Freshman Eric Dungey came in and performed well despite the difficult circumstances. It will be interesting from here on out, but other than Hunt going down, not too much to be upset about in this one.
Hunt came in ready to go but then turned the ball over almost immediately after Syracuse caused URI to fumble the opening kickoff. Then Hunt was knocked out, and Dungey came in to try and engineer a winning offense. He did, getting help from RB Ervin Philips' two receiving touchdowns, while throwing no INTs and going 10/17 for 114 yards. The carries were spread around for the running backs, with Jordan Fredericks and Dontae Strickland finding the End Zone. As an offense they earned 23 first downs, were 11/19 on third down conversions, 1/1 on fourth down tries, and 426 yards off offense. Considering Syracuse's offense was dreadful last year, I'll take all of this.
The defense caused three turnovers (special teams had another), limited URI to only 64 yards, two first downs, 1/11 third down conversions, and only four yards rushing, this was a very good day. And URI wasn't ever even close enough to attempt a field goal. They have the #1 rated defense in the nation right now (enjoy it, it won't last) and really earn all the praise for being the biggest question mark coming into 2015 after all the graduating players from last year. They came and took care of business against URI, as they were supposed to.
Special Teams
When you force a fumble on the opening kickoff to your opponent and you recover, you are probably in for a great day. Add to that a punt return for touchdown and that is a solid day. Punting from Riley Dixon was great, and Cole Murphy did well overall, hitting 1 of 2 field goals (23yds, missed a 44yrd) and 6/6 on extra points.
The game plan was good, especially after Hunt went down to build confidence for Dungey. Some nice throws, and good blocking allowed scores to happen and never really have any pressure on losing. Syracuse was loose, able to play a lot of younger players, and the defensive scheme worked very well at keeping the URI offense off balance. Nice work overall.
A+ (4.0)
This might be the first 4.0 in the history of Orange::44 giving grades for each game. But holding URI to zero points, as well as having a punt return, scoring 47, and generally being almost perfect, save for the Hunt INT. To keep expectations real for a moment, URI is an FCS team (1-AA). Syracuse should dominate them because they aren't even a good FCS team. And they did. Keep working hard and Syracuse might just win more than the four I predicted. With a true Freshman starting QB now though, some bad beats could be just over the horizon.
Syracuse now has their first ACC game with Wake Forest coming into the Dome for another solid test, but a team that Syracuse beat fairly easily last year at Wake. You have to like Syracuse's chances, however again, starting a true freshman in his first game will be interesting. Exciting and dangerous. What more do you want?


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