Know Your Foe: Looking to improve against Syracuse Orange

Quarterback Bryant Shirreffs winds up to make a pass during a 13-10 win over Virgjnia in Saturday, Sept. 17. UConn will take on former Big East rival Syracuse at Pratt and Whitney Stadium this Saturday. (Photo by Tyler Benton/The Daily Campus)

The UConn football team will look to improve on their 2-1 record when they host the Syracuse Orange Saturday afternoon at Rentschler Field. Here’s a look at UConn’s second straight ACC opponent.

After winning their season opener 33-7 against Colgate University, the Syracuse Orange have dropped two straight.

Their first loss was to the No. 13 Louisville Cardinals in a 62-28 rout. The Cardinals racked up 845 total yards of offense to Syracuse’s 414. Louisville’s Lamar Jackson dominated the Orange; the Heisman hopeful quarterback ran for 199 yards and four scores, and threw for 411 yards and another touchdown. His 610 total offensive yards broke the ACC total yardage record.

Trying to recover from Jackson and the Cardinals, the Orange hosted American Conference member USF this past Saturday. Syracuse led 17-0 after the first quarter but would only add three more points the rest of the day, USF came roaring back for a 45-20 victory over the Orange.

UConn lost 28-20 in their last meeting with USF in October of 2015; they’ll meet again this season on Oct. 15. The Huskies and Orange also share Boston College on their schedules. Syracuse will travel to Chestnut Hill on Oct. 22; the Huskies will travel there on Nov. 19 for their third and final game against an ACC opponent.

The Syracuse Orange are led on the ground by sophomore running back Dontae Strickland. The New Jersey native has ran for a lackluster 175 yards over three games and hasn’t found the back of the end zone yet.

In terms of throwing the ball, Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey is a force to be reckoned with. Over three games, the sophomore quarterback has thrown for 960 yards and seven touchdowns. He’s completing passes at a clip of 65 percent and averaging 320 yards a game.

Dungey’s favorite receiver seems to be redshirt senior Amba Etta-Tawo. Etta-Tawo has racked up 436 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Other threats for Syracuse include senior Brisly Estime and junior Ervin Phillips; both have two touchdowns on the season.

On the other side of the ball, Syracuse is giving up an average of 38 points per game and allowing 231 rushing yards and 250 passing yards. Opponents are converting on third downs at a rate of 36 percent.

UConn and Syracuse will kick off at 1 p.m. at Rentschler Field on Saturday.


Connor Donahue is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at connor.f.donahue@uconn.edu. He tweets @conn_donahue.