SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Despite a 50-7 win that saw his team dominate Central Connecticut State on both sides of the ball, Syracuse coach Dino Babers wasn’t totally happy.
“They were stout,” Babers said of the Blue Devils, who surrendered 586 yards, including 155 on the ground. “They made a decision they wouldn’t let us run the ball and I’m a little disappointed we couldn’t run the ball better but it was a good scheme and they made sure we couldn’t do that.
“Football teams grow the most between the first and second week. We’re looking for a lot of growth for our next game.”
Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey threw for three scores and ran for two more in the season opener and first-ever matchup between the schools.
The Orange led 21-0 after the first quarter and never looked back. The Blue Devils managed 167 for the game, just 54 on the ground. Six of Syracuse’s scoring drives took less than three minutes, including two of 58 and 53 seconds. Syracuse had 34 first downs to seven for Central Connecticut.
“I thought we definitely took what the defense gave us,” Babers said. “We threw the ball well. The quarterback (Dungey) was functioning at a really high level. “
Jacob Dolegala was 6 of 19 for 86 yards for the Blue Devils.
“I thought the defense played exceptionally well except for the one play in the end zone to stop the shutout but I thought they played a really fine game,” Babers said. “Overall, I thought it was a good, solid game. “
Dungey, who tied Ryan Nassib for the most 300-yard games in Syracuse history with seven, was 28 of 36 for 328 yards and ran for scores of 11 and 2 yards. Steve Ishmael had a career-high 12 receptions for a career-best 134 yards.
“I have a lot of respect for Ryan Nassib. It’s awesome,” Dungey said about tying the record. “It was good getting the rust off a little so it feels good.”
Like his coach, Dungey wasn’t totally satisfied either.
“I think we just tried to do much (after getting on top 21-0), me included,” Dungey said.
Syracuse scored on its first three possessions of the game, including Dungey’s 11-yard scamper around left end.
“I thought our kids fought hard,” said Central Connecticut coach Pete Rossomando. “Obviously we were overmatched. They have 85 scholarships. We have 45.”
The one downside for Syracuse: a lower-leg injury suffered in the first quarter by safety Antwan Cordy, who missed the final 10 games last season due to a broken forearm.
CENTRAL CONNECTICUT: Picked fourth in the Northeast Conference, it could be a long season for the Blue Devils. Playing in the Carrier Dome is daunting, but Central Connecticut needs to get an offense going.
SYRACUSE: It’s really hard to take much from a lopsided win over a much inferior opponent, but a win is a win. Sophomore wide receiver Moe Neal can be a real difference maker. Syracuse’s defense will be severely tested if Cordy is out for an extended period of time.
CENTRAL CONNECTICUT: The Blue Devils host Fordham in their home opener on Saturday.
SYRACUSE: The Orange have a home date next Saturday against Middle Tennessee. It’s an intriguing matchup: former Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer is in his first year as defensive coordinator for the Blue Raiders.