Tim's Thoughts: Week 1

News, notes and observations from Syracuse football's week one win over Rhode Island and looking ahead to week two.

TAKEAWAYS FROM GAME 1: vs. RHODE ISLAND

• The obvious first take away is the loss of Terrel Hunt for the season with a torn Achilles tendon. But, this gives way to the revelation of Eric Dungey. Not many teams in FBS will be turning to a true freshman under center, especially within the early going of their first game on the schedule. Despite this pressure for Dungey, he did not disappoint any doubters in the Dome and throughout ‘Cuse Nation. His line included 10-17 for 114 yards, including 2 touchdowns. The question remains of course, can Eric Dungey carry the torch of the Orange offense? He has a lot to build on from the Rhode Island contest, as well as the support of his teammates and coaching staff. It is very unfortunate to see Hunt go down, after all he has been through, but sometimes circumstances lead to surprising endings throughout the season.
Jordan Fredericks established himself as “Ground Jordan” becoming one of the first true freshmen in a storied Syracuse backfield history to run for 100 yards (103) in his debut. On 14 attempts, Fredericks managed a 31 yard rush including a dazzling run in the red zone that led to a touchdown. A performance like this really provides a lot of hope for the Orange on offense, knowing that they can turn to their youth to provide quality production. It will take the leadership combination of Dungey and Fredericks to lead SU to success going forward in the season. Flying under the radar was the performance of another freshman running back, Jacob Hill. Hill’s role seems to be in a backup role, but the 5 foot 6 inch Detroit product managed 75 yards of his own. These two rookie accomplishments display the versatility and promise of the players within Tim Lester’s new offensive schemes.
• On the defensive side of the ball, the Orange did not disappoint either by shutting out the Rhode Island Rams 47-0. But, the story within the story includes individual performances. Zaire Franklin, who was tabbed a leader by Head Coach Scott Shafer before pre-season camp, made his presence felt. Franklin, who had a strong freshman campaign, built on his foundation immediately with six solo tackles, including one sack and two tackles for a loss. He is only listed at 6 feet tall, but the heart and drive of Zaire Franklin makes him much bigger as he prowls behind the defensive line. Over the past few years, Syracuse has had a hard-nosed defense regardless of statistics. But, in a year of uncertainty it is vital for the Orange to develop a swagger on the defensive end. Zaire Franklin gives the defense, and the team at large, a reliable figure of great talent to rely on going forward.

OUTLOOK FOR GAME 2: vs. Wake Forest

• Game 1 of Atlantic Coast Conference play begins early for the Orange in Week 2 of the season. The Demon Deacons of Wake Forest will come to the Carrier Dome looking to avenge one of the worst seasons in their history with only 3 wins.
• Syracuse had an identical record in 2014 of 3-9, but one of those wins came at Wake Forest with a 30-7 victory. So, without a doubt this will mean a lot for both teams, but Wake certainly will have a chip on their shoulder.
• Wake Forest also made mincemeat of FCS opponent Elon the night before the Orange took the field. The Demon Deacons beat the Phoenix 41-3, nearly matching Syracuse’s output against Rhode Island.
• For the Orange to be successful, they must contain quarterback, John Wolford. Wolford showed his potential last year going 9-14 passing, with 72 yards and 1 touchdown. His efforts in Week 1 were far more stout, going 20-27 for 323 yards and 3 touchdowns. Wolford also rushed for 63 yards, including a 70 yard run, and 1 touchdown. It is clear this is an offense primed to bring their show on the road.
• Due to the passing prowess of Wolford, three Demon Deacon wide receivers gained over 60 yards in the air. Chuck Wade (4-70), Cortez Lewis (3-64) and Cam Seringe (3-60) each had a touchdown for Wake Forest.
• Syracuse really cannot look past any opponent this season, but this week carries significant weight for overall, ACC, and personal goals.

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