Syracuse Post-Game Quotebook from Colgate Win

Check out some post-game quotes from players and coaches after Syracuse's win over Colgate.

Syracuse head coach Dino Babers

Opening statement:  

“First of all, I hope everyone understands how fine of a football team Colgate is. Coach Hunt and his staff did a fabulous job. You’re talking about a team that went deep into the FCS playoffs. Anytime you get a team that’s ranked that high in the FCS, they’re probably a lot better than the bottom half of Division I teams. I’m not going to mention names-if you just look at the top 129 teams, or whatever the number is, just chop off the bottom 7, 8, or 9, because this is a fabulous football team, and they’re going to do extremely well at their level and conference. Hats off to them.

I thought that our young men from the special teams stand point did a good job. Except when obviously we rushed the punter on the opening drive that led to a continuation of where the defense gave up seven points. I told the defense after the football game, ‘In 31 years if I told you how many times I’ve seen a defense give up seven points to an option team and then hold them scoreless, it’s a whole bunch of times and that was the first thing that went through my mind after Colgate scores.’ I said, ‘Okay, wouldn’t it be a heck of a football game if that was the last score they got the entire night.’

What a fabulous job Brian Ward and the defensive coaching staff did. From the offensive standpoint I thought obviously the one turnover was not acceptable. Having the ability to not score touchdowns in the red zone greatly affected the game, and that is something we need to clean up.  

They are a very, very stout unit, they have three all-conference players at nose tackle, defensive tackle, and rush defensive end with the pre-season defensive player of the year, (Kyle Diener). Their front seven- that is a very, very stout defense. Obviously, they limited us in some of the things that we could do running the football. I’m not happy with the rushing yardage we had, but I do understand how good that front seven defense is and then their back end just got a little overwhelmed with the type of athletes that we have here at Syracuse University.”  

On how this game compared to the one he envisioned in the opening press conference:

“The game that I was imagining is the game in the second year between games four and six, you never know what’s going to happen with our style of play in the first game. I think what you saw tonight was both sides, a little bit of the good and a little bit of the bad. Hopefully you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, what this could become once you work all of the kinks out and you have the right type of individuals giving you the right efforts in the right places.”

On what he thought of how Amba Etta-Tawo played in the game:

“Amba played really well tonight and I’m really excited about his grab on the sideline. There was a lot of technique involved - a lot of technique that he’s worked on since transferring here and you saw all of that in that one play on the sideline. I know it wasn’t a touchdown, but to me that was his best play of the night and there was a ton of growth and a ton of faith, belief with evidence in that and he exercised all that on that play. I was so proud of him, and as soon as he called it in and the other ref called it out, and then the other ref said it was in and then it went to the replay - I already knew it was in. All I wanted to see was that he didn’t bobble the ball. I already knew it was a great play. Really proud of him.”

On how he would evaluate Eric Dungey:

“Eric did a nice job. Obviously the numbers are outstanding, but unfortunately I’m a football coach. Although I love the positive, I have a tendency to adhere to the negative side of it. He made some mistakes, but I would imagine if you put his opening performance against the other opening performances I’ve had, he’d be the best.”

On the running game:

“I think the biggest thing is not the offense or the run game did something bad, those are good coaches over at Colgate. These are playoff coaches, our staff used to be those playoff coaches less than two or three years ago. That staff is going to be a Division I staff someday. They just decided that they were going to take away the run which means they’re going to give up the pass. Coaches tend to be quite hard-headed sometimes. I’m hard headed myself and I just feel you have to be able to keep trying to run the football. I don’t want to throw the football every single snap, even though we might be able to. So, I might have been a little bit hard-headed, but I think it was more of Colgate saying, ‘Hey you’re not going to run the football if your quarterback can throw it and beat us, then beat us.’”

On Moe Neal:

“I thought all the backs left some as we would stay, some meat on the bone. There’s good and there’s bad. Most college football teams grow the most between the first and second game, it never changes. We finally got a chance to hit somebody else. I talked to the team in the locker room, now we need to come in tomorrow and look at the tape unselfishly. We have to look through somebody else’s glasses, not your glasses saying you did a fabulous job - a fantastic article I don’t know why it didn’t go on the front page. It can’t be your eyes it has to be somebody else’s eyes telling you, you did right or wrong and if we can drop the ‘e’ in ego so we can just ‘g-o’ and get going, and getting this place better, and making everyone else better, we’ll have a chance.

I know those guys are going to come into the film room tomorrow ready to go, and I think that out of all the running backs, they had good plays and I think they had some bad games. Our job is to make sure there are more good ones and eliminate a lot of those bad ones.”

Syracuse QB Eric Dungey

On bulking up this summer to avoid injuries:

“I wouldn’t say it was for that. It was more just to get bigger and be bigger out here. All these guys are big. It helps a little, but at the same time, that’s not my focus. My job is to throw the ball.”  

On the offense’s speed and time between snaps:

“I don’t think it was fast enough. I’m pretty sure Coach was already saying we’re not fast enough. Like I was saying, there’s tons of room for improvement. I’m just glad we got the win. I’m looking forward to getting in there tomorrow, watching the film with these guys, and improving.”

On his brother’s presence at the game:

“It was awesome. I was locked in, got off the bus, and saw my brother. I haven't seen him in years, so that was cool, overwhelming, and surreal to be honest. I had to lock back in and get ready for this game.”

On the red-zone offense:

“Again, we’re going to watch that tomorrow. But, there is tons of room for improvement. I’m happy we’re back in the Dome. It was awesome playing in front of these fans. We had a lot of Orange out there so that was great to see. I’m looking forward to getting back here next week.”

Syracuse WR Amba Etta-Tawo

On his overall play:

“The techniques we work in practice really gave me the opportunity to keep my foot up. It comes naturally when you work so hard in practice.”

On playing well in the Carrier Dome:

“I guess there is. I love the atmosphere. It’s a fast track. If you play fast you can make plays.”

On his relationship with Eric Dungey:  

“From day one, we knew that this type of offense had room for a lot of plays. We did a lot of stuff this summer, leading into the season, to prepare for opportunities like this.”

Syracuse RB Moe Neal

On his touchdown run:  

“It felt great getting my first carry in this kind of atmosphere. It felt great getting my first touchdown. Once I broke free, the sigh of relief broke. I’m just glad we got the win. It was a good team win.”  

On his family being present:

“Pregame, I knew my family was sitting over there: my uncle, my little nephew, my mom, and one of my friends. It was really good to get the score down there on that end. I didn’t see their reaction. I was so hyped. I hope I made them proud.”

Colgate head coach Dan Hunt

Opening statement:

“Right now it’s about being healthy. Very happy with our defense and happy with our field position and with our defense in the red zone. Very happy with how we played their tempo. This is just part of the game. Special teams I thought were good. We didn’t want to give up a big play. We got to give the defense a lot of credit. We knew watching film about the offense, but we didn’t know how good their defense was and we tried to force the pass and we struggled with the speed and the run game and the coaching. Came out with no turnover. I thought that was good. Plenty to work on, but overall, but our kids played 60 minutes, particularly on defense. Offensively, we’ll get our rhythm going. We have kids who didn’t practice with each other.”

On Syracuse’s defense:

“We had success early on, then they began to move around defensively, which I knew they were going to do. We couldn’t just really get the box on them. They let Jake [Melville] get out once for a touchdown, but they didn’t let him out again. When he is not playing like that, that is not what we want to do. We didn’t get a lot of first downs, which is not what we want to do. We tried to stay ahead of the sticks, but it ended up being third-and-longs. After the first drive, it was difficult.”  

On being surprised going up against Syracuse’s defensive line:

“A little bit. Usually when we face a team that hasn’t played against our team, they aren’t used to the read game, but they took it to us. We didn’t establish our run game. We’ve played teams in the past and have been able to run the ball. The last time we played them was in 2010 and we only scored seven points that day, but were able to run the football. In the second half we couldn’t get anything going and I give credit to the whole defense.”

On if Syracuse was better than expected:

“They were an ACC team on paper. We knew the speed and the individuals were going to be a big force for us [to overcome] and the defense ran by us a couple of times, and as a coach, you have to improve on that. They had the one run to wear us down and they had the chance to hit the quarterback before the touchdown. I thought our defense held up. We knew that they were better athletes. They had 85 and we had 66. It was a tough situation for us, but Colgate always play like this and our kids love to play this game. It helps with recruiting and being able to deal with the crowd noise and teams that play that tempo. My overall thoughts were positive for our guys. They didn’t come in and say ‘Hey, let’s have a good showing’ they wanted to win.”

On Jake Melville’s play:

“We had that one touchdown early, but after that, there wasn’t those third-and-6s where he could go out and scramble. When you get up to that part of what we are doing, we are not a drop-back pass team. I give credit to that team. They did a great job.”  

On areas to improve on:

“We had a couple of chances to make a play and our offense didn’t do it. We had bad balls thrown, and particularly early in the second quarter and with one third down we could have had that and that is one thing that we have to improve on. There are little things, substitution-wise that we could fix. We have to work on this. One thing we don’t have to work on is playing hard. We played 60 minutes.”

On the tempo of the Syracuse offense:

“I think that we were lucky to play them Game 1. It was fast, but watching Bowling Green film when they have a little bit of time is much faster than ours. I don’t think we’ve seen much yet. It was good. We have been conditioning since February and we held up. We had a couple of kids go down, but we handled it. It is definitely a challenge and it’s perceived chaos a little bit. There are times where you think it is going faster than it is. It gives them room and [plays] time to develop. I think, and I am not over-stepping my bounds, but they are going to get a lot faster.”

On if he was happy with the performance:

“Yeah, especially in a matchup like this. I heard earlier that since 1950, Syracuse has scored 40 or more points against us each time out. For us to hold them to 33 and for all of the field goals given up, they had the ball longer than us and we kept them off the field in the second half. That offense is going to generate points, but it is weird to give up 33 points and feel happy.”  

Colgate QB Jake Melville

On tonight’s game being a building block:

“It was a tough game. They were a very tough team and we certainly didn’t play our best game, but it’s back to work next Monday and we look forward to the rest of the season.”

On what clicked for him on the first drive of the game:

“We came out and threw a punch at them and drove down the field. I wish we could’ve continued that throughout the game, but it’s something we’ve got to learn from and move on.”  

On finding Owen Buscaglia in the end zone on a scramble play:

“I was scrambling for a little bit, but he got open for me and we made a nice catch.”

Colgate DB Nick Alvarez

On what impressed him the most about Syracuse:

“I think we were pretty prepared for what they were going to do. We studied a lot from what (Dino Babers) did at Bowling Green, and we were pretty prepared for what we saw. I don’t think anything really came out and was different than what we planned for.”

On what Syracuse was able to do to put up 33 points:

“I think they were efficient in the way they got to the line. We practiced that kind of stuff, but they did get to the line as fast as we saw on film, which is impressive for a team in their first game in a new system. I will give them credit for that – they got to the line fast.”  

On what impact a quick tempo offense has on a defense:

“I think it puts strain on you as a defense. Guys have to use subs wisely. People get tired and you have to substitute them. I think our team is deep on defense especially and so we were confident in that fact that we could substitute people and make some kind of correction.”  

On if the tempo wore Colgate down:

“It was nothing worse than what we practiced. I think we prepared well for the game. I think that we over prepared in the sense that we practiced all their speed. I feel like we were prepared for the speed of their tempo, but I think the tempo was still fast as it is.”  

Colgate WR Owen Rockett

On the first touchdown:

“That was fantastic. We were kind of struggling to get lined up. We were trying to just work through that. I wasn’t really anticipating the ball, it was more primarily going to the opposite side of the field and I just saw Jake (Melville) scrambling. We practiced that a lot just reacting and being put in a great spot.”  

On if the Syracuse changed defensively:

“They play a really aggressive style and I thought they were very instinctive on defense--- very disciplined. You can tell they’re very well coached. I think the real key was that we needed to stretch them out with throwing the ball—we just struggled with timing. I think that’s a matter of just developing more connections with the receivers and the quarterbacks.”  

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