Syracuse football topples Western Michigan in the 2018 season opener

Syracuse tops Western Michigan in season opener

SU has not lost its first game since 2013.
Published: September 1, 2018 | Updated: September 7th, 2018 at 3:40 pm

In a game full of offense, the Orange topped Western Michigan, 55-42, at Waldo Stadium to begin the 2018 campaign.

Quarterback Eric Dungey led the Orange in both passing and rushing with 184 yards and two touchdowns in the air and 200 yards on the ground. The rushing total for Dungey is a new school record for most rushing yards in a game by an SU quarterback.

Syracuse opened the game with three straight possessions ending in points. With more than six minutes remaining in the first quarter, the Orange already led the Broncos, 17-0. The Orange scored on every first quarter drive.

The second quarter was again dominated by the Orange. While the Broncos remained scoreless throughout the quarter, Syracuse opened the quarter with yet another touchdown.

With Syracuse leading 34-7 at the half, Western Michigan stormed back in the third quarter by scoring 28 points. The Bronco rushing attack excelled behind 121 yards and two scores from running back LeVante Bellamy. In fact, WMU finished with more total yards of offense (621 yards) than the Orange (560 yards).

Even though the Broncos got into the end zone on their last four drives of the third quarter, the Orange responded at the start of the fourth quarter with a key defensive play. Syracuse defensive back Kielan Whitner picked off Western Michigan quarterback Jon Wassink to open the final quarter of play. Dungey then scored on the first play for the Orange, setting the tone for the rest of the quarter.

Dungey got help on the ground from running back Moe Neal, who had 82 yards rushing on 28 carries. Neal was the workhorse for Syracuse all night long, eating away at valuable time in the fourth quarter. The junior ball carrier scored twice in the game, as did fellow running back Dontae Strickland.

As for the go-to Orange receiver, Jamal Custis hauled in six passes for 168 yards and caught two touchdown passes. Western Michigan’s D’Wayne Eskridge countered with 240 receiving yards and two touchdowns of his own.

Both offenses had rather quick drives throughout the game. Every scoring drive for the Orange lasted less than three minutes. With a quick attack led by the versatile Dungey, the Syracuse offense suffocated the Broncos defense from the opening snap and never really slowed down.

Syracuse returns to typical Saturday college football next weekend as the Orange welcomes Wagner to the Carrier Dome on September 8. Kickoff is at 3:30.

Avatar for Jack Schlafly

is a contributor to The NewsHouse at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.