Football Rolls Over Central Michigan 41-17
By Nicole Hansen
SYRACUSE (N.Y.) – On Saturday, Syracuse football had its highest attendance of the 2017 season so far, with just over 33,000 Orange fans in the seats. But after a disappointing loss to Middle Tennessee State last weekend, it certainly didn’t feel like that many fans were there.
Then came Evan Foster.
With just over a minute left in the first quarter, the sophomore defensive back intercepted Central Michigan quarterback Shane Morris, and returned it 24 yards to the house to tie the game at 10-10.
“It was definitely a great feeling,” Foster said. “Earlier in the game, I made a mistake and it kind of got to me a little bit. But I knew if I kept on playing hard and getting to the ball, I knew I’d find a way to make it happen.”
Foster’s pick-six proved to be just the catalyst Syracuse needed.
The Orange and the Chippewas exchanged blows throughout the second quarter, entering halftime with SU on top 24-17. But in the third quarter, SU’s offense ignited in front of its home crowd.
Syracuse tallied 333 total yards on offense in the third quarter alone, scoring 17 points. Eric Dungey, Sean Riley and Mo Neal all broke free for long runs, including a season-long 74-yard run from Dungey.
“I haven’t had a long run like that since high school,” Dungey said of his 74-yard run. “The [offensive line] did a great job of making a hole for me and I saw the opportunity and I just tried to make a play. And I’m glad we could capitalize right after that.”
The game showcased the young talent that the Orange has. Sophomore receiver Sean Riley totaled 247 yards, a 44-yard pass in the second quarter and 98 yards as a kick returner.
“I just had to do my job, catch the ball, [and] get open,” Riley said.
“We had a lot of confidence in Sean [Riley] that he was gonna be able to come back and do some things,” head coach Dino Babers said about the sophomore’s day. “[Riley’s] always had the ability to make those plays, but he’s got to show us. And today he did.”
The last time these two teams met, Dungey suffered from a concussion off a hard hit by Mitch Stanitzek. Dungey said he talked to Stanitzek after the game, and that he had no hard feelings.
“Obviously I hope he didn’t mean what he did freshman year, but I’m not going to hold a grudge against him, it’s football, things happen,” Dungey said. “I just wanted to go up, shake his hand, tell him he’s a great player, best of luck with everything.”
The Orange leaves the Carrier Dome next week for the first time in the 2017 season to head to Death Valley to take on #12 ranked LSU, and the team’s toughest test yet. LSU suffered its first loss of the season on Saturday night, losing to Mississippi State 37-7 on the road.
“I’ve never been to Baton Rouge, and I’ve been to a lot of places,” Babers said. “As crazy as it sounds, I’m looking forward to it.”