The last time Scott Shafer coached a game in the Carrier Dome, he was carried off the field by his players. Shafer had already been informed that he would not return the follow season as the head coach of the Orange entering the 2015 season finale against Boston College. A 20-17 win for Syracuse pushed Shafer's record to 7-17 over his final two season with the team.
Now, Shafer returns to the Dome as the defensive coordinator of Middle Tennessee State (0-1, 0-0). His job will be to stop the fast-paced offense of his successor, Dino Babers.
Syracuse (1-0, 0-0) defeated Central Connecticut State 50-7 to open its season a week ago. Junior quarterback Eric Dungey accounted for five touchdowns in the win.
On the other hand, Middle Tennessee fell at home to Vanderbilt 28-6. It was a sluggish performance from the Blue Raider offense, which accounted for just one touchdown and 215 yards.
Middle Tennessee is coming off a fairly successful season though. The Blue Raiders finished the regular season 8-4, before losing to Hawaii in the Hawaii Bowl to close the season.
Following a massive performance against Central Connecticut State, Dungey enters the contest with a chance to break the Syracuse record for most career 300-yard passing games, a record he currently shares with former 'Cuse signal caller Ryan Nassib.
If there was a concern in Syracuse's performance, it was the ineffectiveness of the ground game. The Orange's top two running backs, sophomore Moe Neal and junior Dontae Strickland, combined for 56 yards rushing on 19 carries. On top of that, the strongest point of Middle Tennessee's showing against Vanderbilt was its run defense, which held the Commodores to just two yards per attempt.
The Orange will also honor the undefeated 1987 Syracuse team led by the late Dick MacPherson, who coached Syracuse from 1981-90.