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Western Michigan can't maintain late momentum, lose 55-42 to Syracuse

Dino Babers still knows how to win in Kalamazoo.

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Western Michigan Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Syracuse’s offense was almost unstoppable behind senior quarterback Eric Dungey, as the team captain helped the Orange amass over 600 yards en route to a 55-42 victory over Western Michigan.

Syracuse ran up the score in the first half, jumping out to 34-7 halftime lead behind an offense that looked impossible to stop.

However, all that changed in the 15 minute halftime break.

Dungey was absent for Syracuse’s early drives in the second half, allowing the Western Michigan offense to start clicking.

Western Michigan found pay dirt in every one of its four third quarter drives. In the process, the Broncos nearly erased that 27-point deficit, and turned the season-opener into a shootout.

Junior quarterback Jon Wassink passed over 300 yards in the loss and junior LaVante Bellamy continued his recent success dating back to last season with 120 yards on 11 carries.

Syracuse would not lie down though. Up 34-28 with about five minutes left in the third, Dungey returned to lead the Orange on a touchdown drive, with several Broncos penalties helping along the way.

Of course, that wouldn’t be the end of the scoring in the third quarter. Both teams went on fast scoring drives back-to-back to make it 48-35 Orange going into the final 15 minutes.

Syracuse and Western Michigan combined to score 42 points in the wild third quarter. Wassink and the entire Bronco offense more than doubled its yardage totals in the quarter.

Wassink and the Broncos had possession going into the fourth, but his first pass of the frame was intercepted by the Orange. Dungey would keep it on a 27 yard touchdown scamper on the very next play.

Dungey’s poise and senior experience played big for the Orange down the stretch. He finished 7/19 for 184 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. His legs led him to over 200 yards on the ground, good to make him the contest’s leading rusher.

Syracuse would grind the clock down in the fourth, and Western Michigan added a late, garbage time touchdown of its own to keep the scoreline respectable.

Next up, nothing gets easier for Western Michigan. The Broncos travel to No. 14 Michigan next weekend. Syracuse goes home to host FCS Wagner.