Oct 15, 2016; Syracuse, NY, USA; Syracuse Orange players celebrate a victory over the Virginia Tech Hokies at the Carrier Dome. Syracuse won 31-17. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
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Syracuse football fans didn’t expect a win this past weekend over Virginia Tech. However, to our incredible disbelief, it happened, 31-17. We beat a ranked team on our home turf which had the nation’s third best defense. That in itself calls for storming the field.
For the first time since 2012, the Syracuse football beat a team in the top 25. That was four years ago, which is pretty sad, but we’ll take it. No one saw this coming. This Syracuse football team was projected to lose by 23 points. Instead we won by double digits (two touchdowns). So how did this happen? Well for one, role players stepped up and played better than they have all year. That’s what this Syracuse football team needs to do week in and week out.
So who played better than the rest against the Hokies? Here’s Inside the Loud House’s Weekly Player Power Rankings for Week 7.
Normally I wouldn’t put a player who didn’t show up in the box score in the weekly power rankings, but Zack did play, and that one play was pretty memorable. Late in the second quarter with Syracuse on an 11 play- 50+ yard drive, Eric Dungey got hurt. The Orange were at the Virginia Tech 28; well within field goal range. Tackled by behind on a scramble, Dungey left the game for a play for what seemed like a right knee injury. He would later return the next drive with a brace on the knee which would stay the rest of the game.
Since it was 3rd & 10 to go on the next play, backup
Zack Mahoney. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Zack Mahoney went in at quarterback. He lined up in the shotgun formation. He looked to the side clearly not paying attention to the center in front of him. Next thing he knows is the ball was snapped and it’s hitting him right off the chest. The ball is loose on the ground and can be recovered by anybody. Luckily, he woke up just in time to dive on it and recover, but for a seven yard loss. That made it a really hard field goal to attempt on the next play, a 53 yard field goal to be exact, on the left hash marks. A field goal Cole Murphy missed because it was slightly blocked. Thus keeping the Orange from being two touchdowns up. Instead the score remained 14-3.
So that leads me to say this: Thanks for nothing Zack. Now I know that might seem harsh, but we can’t afford plays like that if we want to pull it out against heavyweights like Clemson and Florida State. I don’t blame the center too much because it was a routine play. He has to play better, and that had to be recognized for how embarrassing it was. It’s just not acceptable as a backup quarterback to miss a hiked ball because you were looking away. Especially on your first play in relief of the starter who got injured.
Jordan Fredericks. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports
Things just keep getting worse and worse for these two. Last year’s starting running back Jordan Fredericks didn’t get any snaps this week. That marks the second time in four weeks that has happened. Moe Neal, a Freshman, instead got the nod and had two carries for 0 yards. Not very impressive. The only things that saved these two from last in our rankings is Zack Mahoney’s unawareness in a crucial spot. Their combined play last week wasn’t much better, but neither was anyone else’s. Both take a tumble this week to 9 in our rankings.
Steve Ishmael. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Still not the star we expected to break out as a junior this year, he is finally starting to get involved. This weekend against Virginia Tech he had 6 catches for 81 yards; one of which was a 31 yard reception. That performance would have put him higher in our rankings other weeks, but others excelled and stepped up even more this week. Thus he dropped again in our rankings. Still, keep it up Steve! You are finally starting to be who the Orange need you to be on offense: a silent threat not in the opposing teams game plan.
Amba Etta-Tawo (7). Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
Normally I wouldn’t drop a top player on this Syracuse football team this far in these rankings. However, others excelled more, much like the case with Ishmael. He had a decent game, with 5 catches for 54 yards, but not nearly as good as we’ve come to expect from him. In addition, he struggled last week as well, albeit in bad conditions.
Etta-Tawo is extremely talented, but double teams are now catching on and looking for him. Still ranked number 2 nationally in receiving yards, he’s still a threat week in-and-week-out. Look for him to have a better game next week at lowly Boston College.
Kicker Cole Murphy (48). Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
Yeah, he also missed a 53 yarder, but that was more due to being partially blocked. (I could also mention mention that it was that long because of Mahoney’s unawareness again, but that would be beating a dead horse.)
“Mr. Do Everything Right and Say Nothing” had a big game this week.
Brisly Estime (1). Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
He had 8 receptions for 131 yards and a touchdown. That’s impressive numbers and if he continues playing like that then Syracuse will have three great weapons on offense outside of our quarterback. We have leading receiver Amba Etta- Tawo and Ervin Phillips already playing spectacular, so if Estime keeps stepping up his game, we’ll keep opposing defenses even more on their heels. I expect another big game from him next week against a beatable Boston College squad who is 0-3 in ACC play.
Technically Dontae Strickland had the highlights of the night throwing an 84 yard touchdown to Brisly Estime as well as a rushing touchdown while breaking several tackles to clinch the game late in the fourth quarter.
The reasons we can’t put him in the top three is twofold.
1.) The 84 yard pass to Estime was a trick play which most times sets up the waiting receiver for success.
2.) He’s a running back, and he’s still needs to run the ball better. He had 16 carries for 69 yards. One of which was that 16 yard touchdown. That play was great and all, but 15 carries for 54 yards means he averaged just over three yards on all the other carries. Definitely not spectacular.
Yeah he had two highlight touchdowns, but as a running back he’s still disappointing. He has the talent, we can see that, but he’s got to make it a weekly thing. Let’s see how he does this weekend. For now he sits just outside our top three despite a great performance.
If anyone won this game for Syracuse it had to be our defense. Zaire Franklin in particular made multiple stops in particular in 3rd and 4th down short situations. The unit as a whole stood
Zaire Franklin (4). Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
out all game. They had a lapse in the third quarter, but got back on track in the fourth to close out the game after it became tied at 17-17.
The defense caused several three and outs for the Virginia Tech offense. That is surprising considered how our defense has been cut up in previous weeks like Swiss cheese. They played excellent but not perfect, which was just enough for the Syracuse football to beat the 17th ranked Hokies at home in the dome.
They alone pretty much made it so all the offense had to do was score points and that’s exactly what Syracuse did. To congratulate their efforts, here’s a place at Number 3 in our rankings.
Many may argue or debate whether the Orange defense or Dontae Strickland belongs here due to their great days but we chose to put Phillips at two. It’s about time he gets credit for how
Oct 15, 2016; Syracuse, NY, USA; Syracuse Orange wide receiver Ervin Philips (3) beats Virginia Tech Hokies safety Mook Reynolds (6) to catch a pass for a touchdown during the first quarter in a game at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
well he plays every week. He is not a star as we typically see them. But he gets great numbers every week and is more than just a role player.
Ervin Phillips was heard from all game and though he only had the one touchdown, he played better than most of Virginia Tech’s offense all game. That effort deserves a place at the Number two spot in our rankings.
Surprise, surprise! Look who has the top spot in our Syracuse football rankings once again. The star of the Orange and the starting quarterback Eric Dungey. A lot of Syracuse football players have had great games against Virginia Tech on Saturday but none quite like Dungey.
Oct 15, 2016; Syracuse, NY, USA; Syracuse Orange quarterback Eric Dungey (2) throws a pass during the first quarter in a game against the Virginia Tech Hokies at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
To make things even better he left with a minor knee injury in the second quarter only to return with a knee brace and play excellent the rest of the game. At some points in the game, even with the brace on he had some of his best runs that moved drives along and put the Orange in constant position to score.
His talent is undeniable and his stellar play led this team. He only completed 28 of 51 passes, but part of that was his offensive line couldn’t protect him well. That has been a problem all season though. Yet despite that he still threw for 311 yards and ran for another 106 yards on the ground.
He was the star of the game and the media took notice. Why he wasn’t being noticed much before for his efforts is questionable, but anytime you pound a ranked team you get your name in lights. Here’s hoping his efforts continue to improve and get noticed. If they do, we may have a shot at a bowl game. No question the Syracuse football team would be a different team without him at the helm this year. Hence he rises to the top of our rankings.