Stock Watch: Who impressed and who regressed in Syracuse football’s win against Central Michigan

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on September 17, 2017 at 7:39 pm Contact: [email protected] | @jtbloss Syracuse picked up its second win of the season Saturday with a 41-17 win over Central Michigan. SU (2-1) held the Chippewas (2-1) scoreless in the second half and had its best performance on the ground in the Dino Babers era, finishing the game with exactly 300 rushing yards.Here’s an assessment of some of SU’s notable performances.Stock upSean RileyRiley did it all for Syracuse on Saturday. He returned two kicks for a total of 98 yards, forcing CMU to kick away from him. He added four receptions for 82 yards and rushed four times for 47 yards. Add 20 yards on punt returns and that’s 247 all-purpose yards for the sophomore. With senior receiver Ervin Philips’ status unknown at this point, electric outings like this from Riley will be a big pick-me-up for the SU offense.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text Andy Mendes | Digital Design Editor Moe NealThe sophomore broke loose for a 71-yard gain in the third quarter, marking a breakthrough for SU’s run game that struggled mightily through two games. It was Neal’s only major contribution, as he only received five carries, but it reinforced the notion that he is probably the team’s best big-play threat. With primary running back Dontae Strickland struggling to get in a rhythm, keep an eye on how many touches Neal gets moving forward.Evan FosterFoster took a bad angle when attempting to make a tackle on the sideline in the first quarter and his error allowed CMU’s Cameron Cole to run free for a 56-yard touchdown. But less than five minutes later, Foster made up for it by grabbing a tipped ball and taking it 24 yards to the house for a pick-six. Foster, along with several of his teammate in the secondary, deserves a good deal of credit for keeping the Chippewas scoreless for the final 37-plus minutes of the game. The unit has responded well to its mistakes, an encouraging note for a group that had some question marks entering the season.Sterling HofrichterHofrichter’s performance was key in giving CMU unfavorable field-positioning. SU’s punter averaged a career high 51 yards on seven punts and did not allow a single Central Michigan return. He booted a 64-yarder and pinned two CMU drives within the Chippewas’ 10-yard line and would’ve had a third if his coverage team didn’t accidentally step on the goal line when trying to down what was pretty much a perfect punt from Hofrichter at the one-yard line.Wasim Ahmad | Staff PhotographerStock DownCole MurphyMurphy’s struggles away from the Carrier Dome have been well documented, but it’s hard to justify some of his mistakes made at home. He sent two kickoffs out of bounds, giving CMU solid field position at the 35-yard line without having to earn it. He almost missed an extra point, but it bounced off the right post and in. Murphy did convert on each of his two field goals, one from 41 yards out and the other from 25.Dontae StricklandThe Orange’s featured back had two touchdowns over the weekend, one involving an open-field cut that showed Strickland’s potential when working in space. Strickland has struggled to consistently find that needed space through three games. He still has yet to rush for more than 10 yards on a single play and averaged just three yards on 15 carries Saturday. Strickland will continue to get his touches, but with weapons like Neal and Riley impressing, he’ll need to start making bigger plays to avoid losing touches. Commentslast_img