Etta-Tawo Sets Receiving Yards Record in Syracuse’s win vs. UConn
By Marco Socci
EAST HARTFORD, Conn. – Here we go again. That’s the feeling Orange fans had after UConn running back Arkeel Newsome found the end zone with 34 seconds left on the first half clock to tie the game at 14.
Syracuse scored two touchdowns on its first two drives of the game to take a 14-0 lead one of them a 57 yard pass play to Amba Etta-Tawo, and the other 30 yards, again to the Maryland transfer. After that though, the Syracuse offense would not score again until the fourth quarter. It was eerily reminiscent of last week’s game against South Florida in which the Bulls rallied being down 17-0 to beat the Orange 45-20.
This time Syracuse was able to hang on behind two star performances on offense and a couple of game changing plays on the defensive end.
Just three games after setting a career high with 210 receiving yards against Colgate, Amba Etta-Tawo shattered that number along with Scott Schwedes’ program record 249 yard game, with a staggering 270 receiving yards on 12 catches. The redshirt senior also added two touchdowns on the day, pushing him to five on the season.
“He’s an exceptional player,” Head Coach Dino Babers said of Etta-Tawo. “He’s got a lot of god given athletic ability, and he really came in and bought in to technique and fundamentals. He’s taken off.”
Etta-Tawo’s performance was matched by Eric Dungey, who threw for 407 yards and two scores, while running in a touchdown as well. The sophomore Quarterback is now up to 1,367 yards on the season through four games, already 69 more than he had all of last year when he set a record for most passing yards for a Syracuse true freshman.
Those performances, though, would have been all for naught had the defense not stepped up when the result looked to be in doubt.
First, with 49 seconds left in the third quarter and the game tied at 17, UConn had just taken over after forcing a three and out when Quarterback Bryant Shirreffs was intercepted by Cordell Hudson who returned the pick 22 yards for a touchdown to give Syracuse it’s first touchdown since the 10:48 mark of the first quarter, and a 24-17 lead headed into the fourth quarter.
Later on, with just over six minutes left and Syracuse up 24-17, the Orange came up with its biggest defensive play of the game. On fourth and goal from the two yard line, UConn’s Bryant Shirreffs took off towards the right side of the end zone on a Quarterback keeper to tie the game when he was met at the one yard line by linebacker Zaire Franklin and defensive end Chris Slayton to force the turnover on downs.
“It was amazing,” Franklin said. “We had a lot of confidence and we wanted the game to be in our hands, so it just came down to execution in the most crucial moments, and thankfully our preparation had us prepared.”
After the stop, Syracuse went on to score on a 13 play, 99-yard drive to put the game out of reach.
Syracuse (2-2, 0-1 ACC) takes on Notre Dame (1-3) next Saturday at Noon at MetLife Stadium.