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SYRACUSE, N.Y. (cuse.com) – Freshman Jordan Fredericks led the Syracuse football team (3-0, 1-0 ACC) to its first 3-0 start since 1991 by beating Central Michigan 30-27 on a game-winning touchdown run in overtime at the Carrier Dome on Saturday, Sept. 19. The Chippewas (1-2) tied the game up at 24 with only seven seconds left in the fourth quarter before the Orange eventually prevailed.
Central Michigan scored the first points of overtime with a 20-yard field goal from kicker Brian Eavey, but Syracuse answered with a four-yard touchdown rush from Fredericks to seal the victory. The Orange offense scored 24 of its points in the first half, but was held scoreless in the second half. Syracuse freshman quarterback Eric Dungey had both a rushing and passing touchdown before exiting the first half with an upper-body injury.
Dungey finished the game 3-of-6 passing for 93 yards while also running for a career-high 50 yards. Sophomore Austin Wilson and freshman Zack Mahoney split time behind center after the Dungey injury, combining for 78 total yards of offense, including a touchdown pass from Wilson. Mahoney took the snaps for Syracuse in overtime, guiding the Orange down the field with five plays for 25 yards that included a big 13-yard third-down pass to Kendall Moore to move the chains.
Defensively, the Orange came away with two major turnovers in the second half that helped keep Central Michigan off the board. Sophomore linebacker Zaire Franklin created one of those turnovers, recording the first interception of his career while his classmate to the left side Parriss Bennet recovered a fumble. Junior defensive end Luke Arcinega and classmate Ron Thompson each registered two sacks and five tackles. Bennett led all Orange defensemen with nine solo tackles.
Despite a strong effort from the Orange defense, Central Michigan quarterback Cooper Rush had a successful day behind center. Rush finished his day by completing 37-of-51 passes for 430 yards and two touchdowns.
The Chippewas opened up the scoring at the 8:38 mark in the first quarter, as Eavey kicked a 34-yard field goal that resulted in a 3-0 lead. Syracuse answered with 17 straight points, starting on the following drive with a 36-yard rush from Fredericks to set up a 21-yard field goal from sophomore kicker Cole Murphy. Fredericks finished the contest with 11 rushes for 73 yards, leading the offensive ground attack.
The Orange had another long play on its ensuing drive as sophomore wide receiver Steve Ishmael caught a play-action pass from Dungey, taking it 62 yards all the way down to the Central Michigan 4-yard line. Dungey kept the ball in his hands on the following play, rushing up the gut to give Syracuse a 10-3 lead with 41 seconds left in the first quarter. The first-half scoring from the Orange was not done there.
Freshman Dontae Stickland put the Orange up by 14 after receiving a pass from Dungey near the sideline, swerving in and out of Central Michigan defenders, taking it 25 yards for the score. On the play, Chippewas defensive end Mitch Stanitzek delivered a late helmet-to-helmet hit on Dungey, resulting in an ejection. Dungey did not return for the remainder of the game, giving the Chippewas some much-needed momentum after trailing 17-3.
Central Michigan ended its scoring drought midway through the second quarter, moving the ball down the field 75 yards on nine plays. Joe Bacci capped off the drive on fourth and one near the Syracuse goal line with a 2-yard touchdown reception at the 5:57 mark to pull the Chippewas within a score, 17-10.
Sophomore wide receiver Jamal Custis put the Orange back up 14 headed into halftime after catching the first touchdown pass of his career in style, leaping in the corner of the end zone, making a one-handed grab of a pass from Wilson for the score.
Despite senior kicker Riley Dixon booting a 43-yard punt downed at the Central Michigan 6-yard line, the Chippewas scored on their first drive of the second half. The eight-play 94-yard drive was capped off with a Devon Spalding 2-yard touchdown run, pulling CMU within seven at the 8:58 mark of the third quarter, 24-17. The Orange and Chippewas exchanged multiple drives in the fourth quarter until Central Michigan tied the game up on a 27-yard touchdown reception from Ben McCord to send the game into overtime.