Lucas Bort and Reinaldo Colon
In the 70s, football was one of the first things to pop into people’s minds when they thought about Syracuse. But that has long since faded. “Syracuse football isn’t what it used to be. To win we have to play like we used to,” says freshman fan Matthew Alexander.
With Dino Babers returning for his second season as head coach, he hopes to turn the program around. Student Counselor Will Hartley says he “likes Syracuse’s hurry up offense,” which Babers brought to Syracuse. Freshman Nolen Brann suggests that Babers should work on improving the defense in order to win more games this season. But with this season’s schedule, that could be tough.
This season, Syracuse plays five teams ranked in the top 25, including second ranked Clemson, the reigning champions. All five of these teams are in Syracuse’s conference, the ACC. Most fans are not expecting these games to be pretty. “Syracuse football needs to leave the ACC to get wins. There are too many good teams in our conference,” says freshman Marshall Withers.
Junior Eric Dungey, the starting quarterback for Syracuse, was a popular pick for most exciting player to watch this season. “He can not only pass but he can run as well. Ever since he became the starting quarterback at Syracuse he’s done an outstanding job,” said freshman Gunther Schnorr. Throughout the first five games of this season Dungey has completed 135 out of his 212 pass attempts for 1437 yards. Against North Carolina State, he threw for 385 yards and one passing touchdown. He also had one rushing touchdown. “There's no one else on the team that stands out on the team like him.” said Brann.
Many people are also delighted on how wide receivers Steve Ishmael and Ervin Philips have started the season. Philips, a senior, has 420 receiving yards this season and is in second for receptions this season with 44. Philips has just recently set the Syracuse and ACC record for most receptions in a game with 17 against NC State. Ishmael, also a senior, has 51 receptions this season, first in the nation and slightly ahead of Philips. Ishmael is also in second place for receiving yards this season with 632 yards and has had over 100 receiving yards in all five games. He most recently had 120 yards against NC State along with one touchdown. “He is going to be very successful in his college career and the NFL.” says Schnorr.
With a third of the season complete and stuck at 2-3, Syracuse is preparing for the final seven games. Freshman Audrey Norden predicts Syracuse will go 2-10 while junior Ameen Iraqi thinks Syracuse will finish this season at 5-7, which is a .42 win percentage. Long time SU fan and sophomore Habe Conlon says to finish the season strong, Syracuse needs to “rely more on teamwork and less on a fraction of a team.” He said he was referring to how Eric Dungey and Steve Ishmael have made more of an impact than other players this year. Conlon also said “Syracuse can’t think of these big name teams any differently, it’s just business as usual and the players should just try their hardest.”