Stock watch: Alton Robinson, Moe Neal up; Dontae Strickland down after win over UConn

first_img Published on September 23, 2018 at 8:54 pm Contact Andrew: [email protected] | @A_E_Graham Syracuse (4-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast) walloped Connecticut (1-3, 0-1 American Athletic), 51-21, in the Carrier Dome on Saturday.The offense mowed down UConn, and ahead of a road matchup with No. 3 Clemson, Syracuse’s pass rush dominated.Here’s whose stock is up, or down, after Week 4.Stock upAlton RobinsonAdvertisementThis is placeholder textRobinson, a 6-foot-4, 249-pound defensive end, terrorized UConn quarterback David Pindell throughout Saturday’s game.Tallying three sacks and two other tackles, Robinson spent nearly as much time in the pocket as Pindell did. Consistently winning his one-on-one matchups with UConn’s right or left tackle, Robinson blew up countless UConn plays, chased Pindell around and forced numerous errant throws.Coming off a week in which he sacked Deondre Francois once, deflected a pass and recorded another hit, Robinson turned it up against the Huskies and absolutely dominated.Next Saturday, when the task is to get after Clemson’s quarterbacks, Syracuse should hope for a similar effort from red-hot Robinson.Moe NealNeal is Syracuse’s feature back, and Saturday’s performance made that clear. Neal toted the ball 13 times for 116 yards and could have had more, save for a few desperation tackles.Going against an inexperienced Huskie defense, Neal slashed through the middle, behind tackles and outside. He got involved in the passing game with a nine-yard reception.Neal didn’t find the end zone, but came close several times, getting to the second level before being dragged down by his shoestrings.Midway through the first quarter, Neal took a handoff and burst up the middle. He closed in on UConn safety Tyler Coyle, the Huskies’ last line of defense. Neal juked right and moved left to get past Coyle, but the safety stuck his arms out and managed to trip Neal with nothing but green grass between the two and the end zone.Through four games, Neal has 70 carries for 346 yards and two touchdowns.Eric DungeyAfter missing much of the Florida State drubbing with blurred vision, Dungey went on a mission Saturday. He produced five touchdowns, running it in himself three times, occasionally dragging defenders with him.But most impressive of all was Dungey’s efficiency. He went 21-for-27 for 286 yards and two touchdown passes. His three rushing touchdowns and 77 rushing yards came on 16 carries, sack included.All of this came in barely more than three quarters of action — Tommy DeVito came on in relief.Dungey has been solid this season, but Saturday’s performance was as efficient as the quarterback has been in recent memory.Stock downDontae StricklandUnfortunately for Strickland, Neal continues to have what Dino Babers has labeled “the hot hand.”After four weeks, it’s apparent that Neal has surpassed Strickland as the go-to guy in the backfield. Pile on the flashes from powerful freshman Jarveon Howard — whose stock took a hit with a goal-line fumble — and Strickland opportunities shrink more.Neal has nearly double Strickland’s carries (70 to 38) and is averaging more yards per carry. Strickland’s silver linings are goal line work — he has five touchdowns to Neal’s two — and pass blocking.Silver linings only go so far, though.TacklingOn one run in the third quarter, UConn running back Kevin Mensah turned an apparent third-down loss into a first down, breaking about four tackles in the process.First, he shook off the offensive and defensive lines, then bounced off Kielan Whitner and finally Eric Coley before being shepherded out of bounds.Syracuse at times struggled to finish tackles against the slippery Mensah and Pindell. Pindell proved plenty elusive when he burst up the middle for 75 yards and a touchdown, putting Coley on the ground without touching him in the process.The Orange’s defense needs to tackle soundly next week at Clemson. Tee Higgins, Travis Etienne and Kelly Bryant will all make the Orange defense pay for sloppy tackling.Tight endsStarting tight end Ravian Pierce will be missing extended time for Syracuse with an upper-body injury, Babers said after the win. Pierce wasn’t even on the sideline for Saturday’s game.In his place, Baldwinsville native and true freshman Gabe Horan made one catch for seven yards, a touchdown, waylaying a defender on his way into the end zone. Babers was optimistic about Horan but acknowledged that as a freshman, he has a long way to go.Regardless, losing Pierce is a big blow to Syracuse’s offense. Before Saturday, he was the only pass catcher other than Jamal Custis with multiple receiving touchdowns. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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