|Posted on September 15, 2017 at 11:15 PM|
Article by Dan Tortora
The Syracuse Orange football squad's third game of the 2017 season pits them against the visiting Central Michigan Chippewas.
Syracuse has had Central Michigan on their schedule for two of the past three seasons, defeating them 40-3 on the road in 2014 and 30-27 (OT) at home in 2015.
This will be Orange head coach Dino Babers' first contest against the Chippewas as the leader of Syracuse's football program, and as a head coach in general.
Take a look at the analysis below to get a better feel for Syracuse's upcoming foe:
Senior quarterback Shane Morris elevated his completion percentage from Game 1 to Game 2 of this season, going from 51% in a three-overtime victory against the Rhode Island Rams to 75.7% in a win over the Kansas Jayhawks. Morris attempted 12 less passes versus Kansas than he did against Rhode Island (37 vs. Kansas to 49 vs. Rhode Island) and completed more (28 vs. Kansas to 25 vs. Rhode Island), achieving more with less attempts.
He also more than doubled his passing yards from Week 1 to Week 2, attaining 467 passing yards in Week 2 after 226 passing yards in Week 1.
As a third note of improvement from Week 1 to Week 2, Morris went from one passing touchdown and one interception in Week 1 to five passing touchdowns and no interceptions in Week 2.
Morris offers a dual threat for the Chippewas, rushing for at least seven times in both of the team's first two games of this season, gaining 32 yards on seven carries in Week 1 and 32 yards on eight carries in Week 2, meaning that he has averaged at least four yards per carry early in the 2017 season.
Four running backs have carried the ball for Central Michigan over the first two games of this season, with sophomore running back Jonathan Ward leading the back in yardage in both of the team's first two games. Ward gained 147 yards on 19 carries (7.7 yards per carry), including one rushing touchdown in Week 1, following with 58 yards on 11 carries in Week 2, both team highs for the respective games.
Senior running back Devon Spalding led the team in carries in Week 1 with 20 but had less than half the following week, with seven,
Despite taking 20 carries for 70 yards in Week 1 (3.5 yards per carry), then falling to seven carries for eight yards in Week 2 (1.1 yards per carry), Spalding did get into the endzone on the ground in both of the weeks.
Freshman running back Kumehnnu Gwilly and sophomore running back Romello Ross did not carry the ball in Week 1, but were added into the mix in Week 2, with Gwilly carrying the ball six times for 13 yards (2.2 yards per carry) and Ross getting three carries, taking them a total of 11 yards (3.7 yards per carry).
The Chippewas have carried the ball at least 35 times in both of their games leading into this contest with Syracuse.
Central Michigan ran the ball 50 times for 246 yards and two touchdowns versus Rhode Island (4.9 yards per carry) and 35 times for 123 yards and one touchdown against Kansas (3.5 yards per carry).
Seven different players have caught passes for the Chippewas in both of the team's first two games leading into this match-up with the Orange.
Senior wide receiver Mark Chapman has been the leading receiver in yardage in Week 1 and Week 2, gaining 88 yards on five catches in Week 1 and 168 yards on eight catches in Week 2, almost doubling his yardage total from Week 1 to Week 2.
Chapman leads the team with three receiving touchdowns, all of which came last week against Kansas.
Senior wide receiver Corey Willis caught the ball eight times in both games prior to facing Syracuse, but gained just shy of 100 more yards in Week 2 than Week 1 on the same amount of catches, going 140 yards on eight catches in Week 2 to 43 yards on eight catches in Week 1. However, Willis is expected to miss this week and potentially another three weeks thereafter due to a hand injury.
Willis also added his first receiving touchdown of this season in Week 2 to go with his more than doubling of his yardage from Week 1 to Week 2.
Sophomore wide receiver Brandon Childress attained around 20 receiving yards in each of the first two games, with one reception touchdown over the first two weeks combined, but is out for the season with a knee injury.
Junior tight end Logan Hessbrook became the fourth player to reach the endzone of a reception play when he crossed into glory territory in Week 2, where he finished with four catches for 61 yards against Kansas. Hessbrook caught five passes for 52 yards in Week 1, giving him at least four catches at the tight end position in both of the team's games to start their 2017 campaign.
Central Michigan has allowed their opponents 27 points in each of their first two games, but Rhode Island needed four quarters and three overtime periods to reach 27 points, while Central Michigan followed by giving up 27 points in regulation to Kansas in the following game.
The Chippewas have given up at least 100 yards on the ground to both of their adversaries in 2017, allowing 108 rushing yards to the Rams and then 147 most recently, to the Jayhawks.
After not giving up a single rushing touchdown in Week 1, Central Michigan allowed three scores on the grounds in Week 2.
Versus the pass, Central Michigan gave up 284 yards in Week 1, followed by 323 in Week 2.
However, the Chippewas have allowed a mere three passing touchdowns in eight quarters of regularion and three extra periods.
While only allowing three passing touchdowns over two games, Central Michigan has intercepted their opponents a total of eight times, accumulating six interceptions against Rhode Island alone, followed by two interceptions versus Kansas.
Senior defensive back Josh Cox leads the Chippewas with three interceptions in two games, two versus the Rams and one against the Jayhawks.
Three other defensive backs have at least one interception for Central Michigan over the team's first two games: senior Amari Coleman (2), Darwyn Kelly (1), and junior Zach Oakley (1).
Junior linebacker Alex Briones also has an interception in the opening two games.
Senior running back Berkley Edwards has three kickoff returns in both of the team's first two games of 2017, taking three kick returns a total of 57 yards (19 yards per return) in Week 1 and remaining consistent with those numbers in Week 1, attaining 56 yards in total on three kick returns (18.7 yards per return).
Freshman wide receiver Bailey Edwards equaled Berkley Edwards with exact numbers in the kick-return game, accumulating 56 yards on three kick returns in Week 2.
Chapman has also been involved in the kick return game as an option for the Chippewas, taking one return 15 yards in Week 1.
Defensive back Coleman has been the return man for Central Michigan on punts, gaining a total of 13 yards on two returns (6.5 yards per punt return).
In the kicking game, senior placekicker Michael Armstrong has made four of his five field-goal attempts, and his longest made field goal of 2017 was from 39 yards away. He is 7-for-7 on extra points so far in 2017.
Central Michigan has punted the ball away at least five times in both of their 2017 contests, with nine punts in Week 1 and five in Week 2. Junior punter Jack Sheldon has averaged 43.5 yards per punt over the team's first two games.
Central Michigan fumbled the ball four times in their first game of the season, a 30-27 win over the Rhode Island Rams at home, failing to recover three of their four fumbles. The Chippewas also fumbled the ball once in their second game, a road match with the Kansas Jayhawks, losing possession on that fumble as well, giving them five fumbles in their first two games of the 2017 season, and only one fumble recovery on offense.
The Chippewas have led a balanced offensive attack, passing 54 times and rushing 50 times in Week 1, followed by 37 passes to 35 rushes in Week 2.