|Posted on September 22, 2018 at 7:35 PM|
Article by Dan Tortora
The old Big East Conference rivalry was back on the field on September 22, featuring the Syracuse Orange hosting the UConn Huskies at the Carrier Dome.
UConn would begin the game with possession and went 73 yards to the Syracuse 24-yard line, but senior quarterback David Pindell would lose the handle and fumble the ball, with Syracuse redshirt-sophomore nose tackle Joshua Black recovering the ball at his own 33-yard line.
The Orange would march down the field and score on their opening drive on a short quarterback keeper from two yards out by senior quarterback Eric Dungey to give the Orange a 7-0 lead on the visiting Huskies with 9:15 remaining in the first quarter. Dungey went 4-for-4 on the drive. Junior running back Moe Neal would take three carries a total of 20 yards on the drive (6.7 yards per carry).
Syracuse would force a punt on UConn's next drive, and move the ball down the field once again, with the same result, a quarterback keeper by Dungey, this one from nine yards out, giving Syracuse a 14-0 advantage with 6:24 left in the first quarter, less than three minutes from his last score. The Orange gained 47 yards rushing on this drive, 30 of those yards from Dungey and there was a 17-yard run from Neal.
The Orange would score for a third-straight time, this a seven-yard pass from Dungey to true freshman tight end Gabe Horan, on their third drive of the game. This served as Horan's first career catch and first career touchdown all in one play, giving Syracuse a 21-0 lead with 3:53 left in the first quarter.
On their fourth drive of the game, after back-to-back punts, UConn attained their first score on a rush up the middle by Pindell where he broke into the open field and outran the entire Syracuse defense en route to a 75-yard touchdown run, making it 21-7 with 3:43 remaining in the first quarter.
Syracuse would get as far as the UConn 15-yard line on their fourth drive of the contest, with redshirt-freshman kicker Andre Szmyt booting the ball in on his first attempt of the game, this from 33 yards away to bring the score up to 24-7 Orange with 1:52 left in the opening quarter.
Pindell would then lead a drive out of the first and into the second quarter, where he went 5-for-5, with his final pass of the drive going to redshirt-freshman running back Zavier Scott to shorten the gap to 24-14 with 11:41 left in the second quarter.
Less than three minutes later, Syracuse had their first drive of the second quarter, a drive where Dungey seemingly scored his third rushing touchdown, but the ball was placed inside the 1-yard line, reviewed, and upheld. Dungey came back on the very next play and barreled in for his third score of the game, giving the Orange a 31-14 advantage with 9:10 remaining before half.
Coleman was relentless in his pursuit of Pindell on UConn's following drive, getting by his blocker and taking Pindell down for a seven-yard loss that aided in Syracuse forcing UConn to punt for the third time in the first half.
The Orange offense would gather a substantial gain by true freshman running back Jarveon Howard and the ball would be placed just outside of the Huskies' end zone, but after review, Howard was ruled to have fumbled and the Huskies were ruled to have recovered in the end zone for a touchback, negating another potential score for the Orange.
Syracuse responded by forcing UConn to punt for the fourth time, getting the ball back with 4:22 before half.
Neal would accumulate 26 yards on the ground on this first play of the seventh drive for the Orange, but pressure on Dungey on third down would ultimately lead to a punt back to the Huskies less than a minute after the Orange gained possession.
Junior defensive end Alton Robinson would gain his second sack of the game on UConn's following drive, giving Syracuse five sacks as a team in the first half alone, with Robinson joined by redshirt-senior free safety Antwan Cordy, senior strongside linebacker Kielan Whitner, and junior defensive Kendall Coleman each with one.
An offensive foul followed by pressure breaking through the offensive line placed Syracuse in a 3rd-&-32 situation with 1:40 to go in the first half. The Orange would punt the ball away for only the second time in the game, both in the second quarter, with 1:29 to go in the first half, and the Huskies down 17 with no timeouts remaining.
Junior wide receiver/returner Sean Riley had been trying to break one all day, and it finally happened early on in the third quarter when he took a punt return 69 yards to glory territory to elevate the Orange to a 38-14 lead with 10:35 left in the third quarter.
With under six minutes remaining in the third quarter, Dungey looked to have scored or at least come extremely close to scoring on a keeper. Instead, the play is not ruled a touchdown and it is reviewed and upheld, along with Dungey being flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct which rolled the Orange back 15 yards. Szmyt would connect from 27 yards away for his second field goal of the game and Syracuse would extend out to a 41-14 advantage at the 4:27 mark of the third quarter.
Pindell went out and redshirt-freshman quarterback Marvin Washington stepped in, throwing a touchdown pass to redshirt-junior tight end Tyler Davis for a 26-yard score, bringing the game to 41-21 Orange with 14:18 to play.
Syracuse would score on their next drive thanks to a 49-yard catch-and-run by Riley who caught the ball over the middle, got to the edge, and outran everyone to an open end zone, giving Syracuse a 48-21 advantage with 11:21 to play. Riley had 120 yards receiving and 159 yards on returns at this time, giving him 279 all-purpose yards on the day.
With 10 minutes to play, redshirt-freshman backup quarterback Tommy DeVito relieved Dungey. Dungey concluded the contest 21-for-27 (77.8%) for 286 yards and two passing touchdowns. He also had 16 rush attempts for 77 yards (4.8 yards per carry) and three rushing scores.
Backup quarterback Washington fumbled with under nine minutes to play and junior strongside linebacker Andrew Armstrong recovered the ball on the UConn 14-yard line, setting up the offense.
DeVito's try for true freshman wide receiver Taj Harris was a bit outside and the Orange would connect on a 25-yard field-goal attempt on fourth down, courtesy of Szmyt, getting out to a 30-point lead, 51-21, with 7:43 to play.
Well into Syracuse territory, Washington would attempt a pass as he rolled out right. He would overthrow his receiver and true freshman free safety Andre Cisco would grab his fourth interception of the season.
The Orange offense would not come away with anything on the following drive, punting away with 3:46 to go.
Syracuse's defense would force UConn to punt it right back, this the 10th punt of the game for UConn.
Sophomore running back Markenzy Pierre would carry the ball three times, gaining a first down on the second of these rushes, to end the game 51-21 in favor of the Orange.
The Orange accumulated 26 first downs in the game to the Huskies' 16.
They outgained UConn through the air 295 yards to 217 and on the ground by almost twice as many yards, 341 to 178.
Syracuse improved to 4-0 with the victory, giving them their first 4-0 start to a season since 1991, a span of 27 years, with wins over Western Michigan on the road followed by wins over Wagner, Florida State, and now UConn, all at home to begin the 2018 campaign.
In 1991, Syracuse, with Marvin Graves at quarterback, began the season with a win at home versus Vanderbilt, at Maryland, home versus Florida, and at Tulane; Florida was ranked fifth in the nation at the time.
The undefeated Orange will now head onto the road for the first time since August 31st, facing the Clemson Tigers on Saturday, September 29th, and longtime rival Pittsburgh Panthers on Saturday, October 6th. After a bye week, Syracuse will return home on Saturday, October 20th, for a match-up with the North Carolina Tar Heels.