SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Eric Dungey threw for two touchdowns and Syracuse routed Rhode Island 47-0 in the opener for both teams on Friday night.
Dungey, a true freshman in his first collegiate game, completed 10 of 17 for 114 yards and a pair of touchdown passes to Ervin Phillips. He was pressed into duty due to an injury to Terrel Hunt, who played one series before leaving with an apparent right leg injury.
Jordan Fredericks carried 14 times for 103 yards and a touchdown for the Orange.
The Syracuse defense held Rhode Island to just 64 yards for the game. Syracuse cornerback Corey Winfield returned a Paul Mroz pass 24 yards for a touchdown at 10:56 of the first quarter. It was the first career start at Rhode Island for Mroz, a junior college transfer from Victor Valley in California. He finished 10 of 20 for 60 yards.
Senior and co-captain Terrel Hunt, who was ejected in last season’s season opener against Villanova and then suffered a season-ending leg injury that sidelined him for the team’s final six-plus games, suffered an apparent right-leg injury during the first quarter. He rolled to his left and stepped awkwardly before diving forward. He got up on his right foot but then dropped to the turf with 7:38 to go in the first quarter. Hunt walked to the locker room on crutches.
Hunt, who completed one of two passes and one interception, was then relieved by Dungey, who led the Orange on two touchdown drives en route to a 31-0 halftime lead.
Wide receiver Brisley Estime took a punt on his 26-yard line and snaked his way down the left sideline for a 74-yard touchdown as time expired in the first half. It was Syracuse’s first punt return for touchdown in 12 years.
The Rams, who finished 1-11 in 2014 and are now 4-34 in its last 38 games, recorded just one first down in the first half and the offense registered just 39 yards total offense on 23 plays in the first 20 minutes. The Rams fumbled four times in the first half, losing three. For the game, Rhode Island was held to 64 yards on 40 plays, an average of 1.60 yards per play, and just two first downs. Linebacker Zaire Franklin led the Orange with six tackles, two for loss and one sack.
The game, played in stifling heat, started out in sloppy fashion with three turnovers and two penalties in the first 55 seconds.
Dungey, who came all the way from Oregon to upstate New York, was a second-team all-state and All-USA Oregon selection at Lakeridge High School. He impressed in pre-season camp and quickly moved up the depth chart.
Two other first-year players impressed for the Orange. Fredericks, a 2014 Gatorade New York State Player of the Year, ran for 103 yards on 14 carries and a 13-yard touchdown run in the third quarter during which he broke several tackles. Dontae Strickland had 42 yards and one touchdown on two carries. The Orange ran for 315 yards.
Hunt entered his senior season ranked 10th in program history with 2,621 passing yards and was third on SU’s career list for highest completion percentage.