Rapid Reaction: Syracuse 41, Central Michigan 17

Fans watch from the stands as the football game against Rhode Island enters the first overtime on Aug. 31 in Kelly/Shorts Stadium.

Following an impressive 18-point victory at Kansas last week, the Central Michigan football team was unable to overcome a mixture of injuries and sloppy play Saturday at Syracuse. 

The Orange (2-1) handed the Chippewas (2-1) their first loss of the season, 41-17 at the Carrier Dome. 

CMU started off strong with 10 points off two Syracuse turnovers in the first quarter, but a pick-six and interception late in the half swung the momentum for the Orange — who scored 31-unanswered points to pull away. 

How It Happened 

Leading 17-10 after a 14-yard touchdown reception from sophomore running back Jonathan Ward, the Chippewas’ boasted with confidence to start the second quarter. 

The confidence, however, was short lived. 

Syracuse flexed its muscle with back-to-back touchdowns from running back Dontae Strickland to end the half. The Orange scored 14 points off two interceptions from graduate transfer quarterback Shane Morris, who struggled without wide receivers Corey Wills (hand) and Brandon Childress (ACL). 

As the Central Michigan offense began to flounder, the SU offense began to heat up as quarterback Eric Dungey ran in a one-yard touchdown to begin the third quarter. Dungey then found tight end Ravian Pierce from six-yards out to push the lead to 38-17 at the 5:25 mark. 

After eight-straight CMU punts, the Chippewas thought they finally scored off a six-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back Romello Ross. However, the replay showed Ross fumbled short of the goal line and the play was ruled a touchback. 

Morris found sophomore wide receiver Cameron Cole for a 56-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Cole’s first career catch was quickly forgotten, though, after the Saline native tipped a pass which went for an Orange touchdown at the end of the quarter. 

The Chippewas were out-gained 300 yards to 105 on the ground and converted only 3-of-15 third downs. 

Morris completed just 22-of-45 passes for 279 yards and two touchdowns. 

What’s Next

CMU returns home next Saturday to take on Miami (Oh.) at Kelly/Shorts Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.