|Posted on October 1, 2017 at 12:05 AM|
Article by Dan Tortora
The Syracuse Orange are coming off an impressive effort against the Louisiana State (LSU) Tigers on the road in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in "Death Valley", where they fought back from down 21-3 to a 28-26 deficit within under six minutes to play.
In that game, the Orange scored 16 unanswered points in the second half within less than 13 minutes, before the Tigers' final touchdown of the game. Syracuse outscored LSU in the second half 23 to 21.
Syracuse sophomore punter Sterling Hofrichter and the special teams' unit pitted LSU back inside their own 10 on more than one occasion, inclduing at their own one-yard line on one drive, where the defense would force the safety immediately after, courtesy of senior outside linebacker Parris Bennett.
Hofrichter's longest punt in each of the first four games has been for 44 yards or more: 44 vs. Central Connecticut State, 44 vs. Middle Tennessee State, 64 vs. Central Michigan, and 58 vs. LSU.
Through four games, Hofrichter is averaging approximately 50 yards per punt.
Speaking on Hofrichter and the special teams' unit, Orange head coach Dino Babers shared, "Well, obviously they were outstanding, the LSU game, and that hidden yardage was one of the key parts of the game that kept us in the game, and Sterling is an outstanding punter."
"I keep telling all the young ladies around campus, you'd better grab him because he's going to working on Sundays," Babers expressed, believing that Hofrichter will find his way into the National Football League (NFL). "Your lifestyle is going to be pretty well. The guy is an outstanding student, he's a fine -- he is a fine representative of this football team on and off the field, and he goes about his business in a very serious, serious manner, and oh, yeah, he's an NFL punter."
Going from the special teams' phase of the game to the other two slices of the Orange, Babers offered, "You know, we have two heartbeats. You've got (senior linebacker) Zaire Franklin on defense, and you've got (junior quarterback) Eric Dungey on offense, and those guys play very passionately, sometimes too passionately, but sometimes they need to keep it under control so they can operate at a high manner and a high level. But there's no doubt that those two individuals want to win in the worst way, and they're fantastic competitors."
Dungey leads the Orange through four games in passing yards (1,052) and rushing yards (233). He has 11 total touchdowns, six passing and five rushing, both team highs this season. Dungey is completing 63.6% of his passes but that number should be higher due to the fact that Syracuse has had some trouble holding onto the ball in the field this season. On the ground, Dungey is averaging 4.5 yards per carry and had his longest carry of his collegiate career, 74 yards, two games ago against the Central Michigan Chippewas.
Franklin has been a captain seemingly since he walked through the doors of Syracuse University. He has 21 total tackles through four games this season, 11 assisted and 10 solo. Franklin has been a staple of Syracuse's defensive front, appearing in all 12 games in each of his first three seasons with the Orange, and all four games to begin this season as well, giving him 40 games played in 40 opportunities. He has started in 31 of those 40 games at middle linebacker, the "quarterback" of the Syracuse defense.
Syracuse will take on N.C. State in their second road contest of the 2017 season, in as many weeks, on Sat urday, September 30, at 12:20pmET.