The Western Michigan Broncos and the Syracuse Orange engaged in a high scoring back and forth battle on Friday night. However, the Orange used an overpowering first half to defeat the Broncos, winning by a final score of 55-42. DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in-game report:
17 Jamal Custis 6’5, 224 Syracuse WR- Senior
Former Syracuse wide receivers Amba Etta-Tawo and Steve Ishmael were workhorse wide receivers who could be depended on to carry Syracuse’s offense at times. Custis’ performance on Friday night indicates that he is capable of similar production. The senior wide receiver put the team on his back in the first half, making two spectacular over the shoulder grabs, one of which resulted in a touchdown. He finished the night with six catches for 168 yards and two touchdowns. His best grab may have come in the second half when after running towards the sideline at full speed, he reached back with his left hand for an impressive one-handed grab. He then used his size to bull his way into the end zone after making a defender miss in the open field. What really stood out from Custis was his willingness to use his 6-foot-5-inch frame to block on the outside for running backs.
The high scoring affair underscored a largely disappointing night defensively for both teams. But a few Orange linebackers did stand out. Senior inside linebacker Ryan Guthrie (6’2, 224) flashed sideline-to-sideline speed and finished with four tackles, one of which was for a loss. The sideline-to-sideline speed did get Guthrie in trouble when he ran himself out of a play that resulted in a Western Michigan 64-yard rushing touchdown. Senior outside linebacker Kielan Whitner (6’0, 215) showed a willingness to play with discipline. In the first quarter, on a run play to the opposite side of the field, Whitner stayed even with the right tackle in order to maintain his gap control in the event of a cut back and then chased down Western Michigan’s running back from behind for a tackle for loss. The former strong safety finished with six tackles, an interception and a pass deflection.
Syracuse offensive production
Senior quarterback Eric Dungey (6’4, 226) is the commander of the offense and sort of a Swiss Army knife, when it comes to his ability to run and pass. Dungey ran for 200 yards (13.3 yards per carry) and passed for 184 yards while accounting for three total touchdowns. The senior will have to work on his accuracy, as he completed just seven of his 17 pass attempts and routinely missed receivers in stride. Head coach Dino Babers did a great job of mixing up the team's play calls and formations. Look for Syracuse to continue to run a heavy dose of read option, shotgun and traditional multiple tight end and fullback sets going forward. In total, the offense scored 55 points and racked up 560 yards.
7 D’Wayne Eskridge (5’9, 190) Western Michigan WR- Junior
Eskridge plays an aggressive game at wide receiver. The junior wide receiver makes all of his routes look the same because of his explosiveness off the line. In the first quarter, Eskridge attacked the backpedaling cornerback before stopping on a dime for a 15-yard gain. Eskridge is skilled at using minimal steps to get in and out of his breaks. He finished with eight catches for 240 yards and two touchdowns. The wide receiver could improve his route running a bit. In the first half near the goal line, Eskridge rounded his slant route and allowed Syracuse junior cornerback Scoop Bradshaw (6'0, 176) to come underneath him, deflect and nearly intercept a pass.