Syracuse, N.Y. — Eric Dungey rushed for 105 yards and one touchdown and threw for another, tailback Dontae Strickland scored twice, and Syracuse beat Central Michigan 41-17 on Saturday.
It was a critical victory for Syracuse (2-1), which was upset at home last week by Middle Tennessee. Central Michigan (2-1) was coming off a big win at Kansas.
It had been two years almost to the day since Dungey took a violent helmet-to-helmet hit in the Carrier Dome that knocked him out of a game against Central Michigan with a concussion in only his second start for the Orange. The Chippewas, who lost that game in overtime, returned with the player that delivered the blow — defensive end Mitch Stanitzek — a prominent part of their defense.
With the score tied late in the second quarter, Dungey showed he had put that play far in the rearview mirror. He rolled away from the rush of Stanitzek and hit Sean Riley for a 44-yard gain. Strickland scored on the next play from the 9 to give the Orange a 24-17 halftime lead.
The Orange defense dominated the third quarter as Syracuse outgained the Chippewas 333-60 to take control.
Even when CMU pinned the Orange deep in their own territory, it had no effect. Moe Neal raced 71 yards up the right side and Dungey took over. He hit Steve Ishmael for 17 yards and then scored from the 1 for a 31-17 lead.
Dungey, who was 19 of 35 for 279 yards, finished the surge late in the third. His 74-yard run gave the Orange a first down at the 6 and he hit tight end Ravian Pierce for a score on the next play.
Central Michigan’s Shane Morris, a transfer from Michigan, threw for 467 yards and five touchdowns in a 45-27 win last week at Kansas, but the Syracuse defense never let him get into a rhythm. Morris finished 22 of 45 for 279 yards with two interceptions.
The Chippewas did have their moments. They drove 91 yards in 11 plays to take a 17-10 lead midway through the second quarter. They kept it on the ground to start as Jonathan Ward gained 26 yards on four straight carries and then scored on a 17-yard screen pass.
Sean Riley returned the ensuing kickoff 64 yards for the Orange, Dungey converted a fourth-and-1 run, and Strickland scored on an 18-yard catch-and-run to tie it.
Poor execution by both quarterbacks led to interceptions off deflections by each team in the first quarter and both picks were costly.
An errant throw by Dungey bounced into the arms of Alex Briones and Michael Armstrong hit a 30-yard field goal to give CMU a 10-3 lead late in the first. It was the ninth interception of the season for the Chippewas, who led the nation entering the game.
Morris returned the favor just over a minute later when his pass over the middle was intercepted and returned 24 yards for a touchdown by Syracuse’s Evan Foster.
The Chippewas also forced a fumble by Markenzy Pierre and Morris quickly took advantage, hitting Cameron Cole for a 56-yard touchdown down the left side.
Dungey and Stanitzek shook hands at midfield after the game.
More Mid-American Conference
(At) Western Michigan 37, Idaho 28: Jon Wassink ran for a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to lift Western Michigan to a come-from-behind win. Matt Linehan scrambled in from 3 yards out to put the Vandals in the lead, 21-19 with 3:39 left in the third quarter, then made it a 28-19 advantage by hitting Alfonso Onunwor with a 39-yard scoring strike with 1:03 left in the period.
Wassink capped a seven-play, 80-yard drive, scampering the final 22 yards, cutting the Vandals lead to two points, then capped a six-play, 33-yard drive with a 1-yard run for the lead. After Giovanni Ricci scored the two-point conversion, the Broncos held a 34-28 lead.
Josh Grant kicked a 29-yard field goal for Western Michigan to set the final margin.
Linehan was 16 of 26 passing for 229 yards and three touchdowns for Idaho.
Wissink completed 21 of 31 for 212 yards and a score.
(At) Wayne State 41, Saginaw Valley State 31: D.J. Zezula threw for 191 yards and three touchdowns for Wayne State (2-1, 1-0). Saginaw Valley is 2-1, 0-1.
(At) Ferris State 42, Northern Michigan 10: Reggie Bell threw for 254 yards and four TDs for Ferris State (2-0, 1-2 GLIAC). Northern Michigan is 0-2, 0-1.
Ashland 42, (at) Northwood 14: Ashland (2-1, 1-0) scored 35 straight points in the second quarter to establish its 42-0 halftime lead. Travis Tarnowski threw for 339 yards and five touchdowns. Andre Carter and Grant Dunatchik ran for TDs in the second half for Northwood (2-1, 0-1).
Grand Valley State 42, (at) Michigan Tech 7: Marty Carter ran for a 68-yard touchdown and threw a halfback pass for another TD to Nick Keizer, He finished with 177 yards on 16 carries for Grand Valley (2-1, 2-0). Bart Williams threw for 188 yards and TDs to Keizer and Brandon Bean. John Williams ran for 129 yards and a touchdown for Michigan Tech (1-2, 0-1).
(At) Albion 79, Concordia (Wisconsin) 7: Kyle Thomas threw for 344 yards and two touchdowns before being relieved by Sam Blanzy, who threw for 126 yards and another touchdown. Patrick Czarnecki ran for two TDs for Albion (1-2). Concordia is 1-2.
(At) Alma 45, Benedictine 40: Alma (2-1) took a 45-19 lead on an 8-yard pass from Ryan Sample to Brandon Moore early in the fourth quarter, then withstood a furious Benedictine rally. Calen Reinhart rushed for 241 yards and three touchdowns on 32 carries.
(At) Olivet 37, Aurora 21: Lane Porter passed for 231 yards and two touchdowns for Olivet (2-1). Aurora is 1-2.
(At) Hope 37, Lakeland 35: Hope (2-1) held on when Lakeland missed a two-point conversion with 39 seconds to play. Brandan Campbell rushed for 207 yards and two touchdowns.
Concordia 41, (at) Kalamazoo 29: Kalamazoo (0-3) took a 27-26 lead with 17 seconds left in the third quarter when Jakob Frederick returned an interception 27 yards to the end zone, but Concordia (2-0) came back with fourth-quarter passing TDs from Shane Virnala to Leroy Bridges and Ryan Allison. Virnala finished with 371 yards and two TDs passing. Zak Zagon caught six passes for 133 yards and one touchdown for Kalamazoo.
(At) Adrian 62, Rockford 7: Emmanuel Stewart ran for 185 yards and two TDs, David Nutter ran for 183 yards and Colton Randle ran for 112 yards and one TD for Adrian (1-1). Rockford is 0-2.