What we learned from Syracuse’s 50-7 season-opening win over Central Connecticut State

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on September 2, 2017 at 9:22 am Contact Tomer: tdlanger@syr.edu | @tomer_langer UPDATED: Sept. 10, 2017 at 10:53 p.m.In an expected blowout, Syracuse (1-0) pummeled past Central Connecticut State (0-1), 50-7, in its season-opener. It was the first chance to get a glimpse at the new-look Orange, albeit against an inferior opponent that got “overwhelmed” at times, as CCSU head coach Pete Rossomando said.Here’s what we learned from the game.Revolving doorIt was announced shortly before the game that linebacker Jonathan Thomas would miss the game due to a violation of team rules. Thomas started nine games last season as the strong-side linebacker.Newly-converted linebacker Kielan Whitner sat behind him on the depth chart, and came on for the first play of the game. But by the second play, he was on the sideline, with graduate transfer Austin Valdez in his place.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textIt’s unclear if and when Thomas will come back. Whitner doesn’t have much experience at the position, while Valdez didn’t seem to be progressing all that quickly in training camp. Neither one seemed to come out ahead from this game. “We want to keep both those guys fresh,” head coach Dino Babers said, “…we think we’ve got some guys who can play, some depth.”Todd Michaelel | Contributing PhotographerAccepting the factEric Dungey ran some more in today’s game and statistically had some success. He rushed for 52 yards and two scores and was SU’s most efficient and effective threat on the ground.There’s always a health concern when your quarter back takes off, and it’s been attached to Dungey since the start. It seems though that Babers has become less focused on changing Dungey’s style of play. “That’s how he is. Obviously, he’s very difficult to change when it comes to that stuff,” Babers said. “But it makes his game.”Babers stressed that he wanted Dungey to be safer and commended him for running out of bounds on a few plays. Still, the second-year SU head coach did accept that Dungey still had a ways to go in the self-preservation area. Returning roleAntwan Cordy’s injury was a blow to the secondary. But another area where he was projected to contribute, at least per the depth chart, was as a punt returner. He never went back in this game, though. Before he got hurt, wide receiver Steve Ishmael came on to return a punt. Ishmael went back there twice. Eventually, after Cordy got hurt, Sean Riley went back to return punts.Riley is the primary kick-returner and is very speedy, but struggled in his opportunities tonight. Some were poor coverage situations where Riley just had to call a fair catch. But twice in the second quarter he tried to force the issue, only to lose yards on the return.SU had the nation’s best punt returner last year in Brisly Estime. Who solidifies a stronghold on the job is worth monitoring moving forward. Commentslast_img

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