Syracuse football defeats Wake Forest, secures winning record

SU football secures winning record

SU will take on Louisville at 7 p.m. Friday in the Carrier Dome for the Orange's last home game.
Published: November 4, 2018
Syracuse vs. Wake Forest Football

The Syracuse University football team (7-2, 4-2 ACC) snapped their road losing streak after defeating Wake Forest (4-5, 1-4 ACC) today, 41-24. With this win, Syracuse is guaranteed to finish the season with a winning record for the first time since 2013 when the team went 7-6.

“I can’t say enough about what they have done to change this culture here at Syracuse University, and for giving us an opportunity to do greater things in the future,” Head Coach Dino Babers said in the post-game press conference. “Regardless of whatever happens, they will be known as the class that got this team turned around and headed back in the right direction.”

Wake Forest had a hot start, scoring 10 unanswered points, until Syracuse’s Moe Neal rushed 8 yards for a touchdown. A little over two minutes later, the Orange would score again after Jarveon Howard rushed up the middle for a one-yard touchdown. Wake Forest would not regain the lead.

“They really weren’t going to let us throw the football, and they weren’t going to change their minds,” Babers said. “So we said ‘okay, we need to run the football,’ and I think that balanced out the score very quickly.”

Howard and Chris Elmore went on to score two more rushing touchdowns for the Orange before the Demon Deacons could get back on the scoreboard.

Quarterback Eric Dungey ran in a 26-yard touchdown of his own. He also went 23 for 35 on passes and attempted 24 rushes for a gain of 135 yards. This was Dungey’s sixth career 100-yard rushing game. Additionally, Dungey is now second-place on the Syracuse all-time list for passing yards with 8,473, moving past Donovan McNabb (8,316).

“They went all out to stop the throwing game, but when you do that you open up the run game,” Dungey said. “O-line did a great job of getting holes open and the backs did a good job of carrying the ball, so when you try to stop the throw game, you have to also take account for our run game.”

The Orange couldn’t score another touchdown after Dungey, but kicker Andre Szmyt was able to kick two field goals (28 yards, 34 yards) and secure the Orange’s victory. Szmyt is tied for second place in Orange single-season point total history with 114. He’s tied with Floyd Little (114, 1965).

Overall, the Orange rushed for 264 yards on 60 attempts. Defensively, linebacker Ryan Guthrie led the defense with 11 total tackles, followed by linebacker Kielan Whitner with 10.

“Him getting on the football field and being unselfish at another position and giving up a year of eligibility — I think that experience is what’s really helping this year,” Babers said of Guthrie, who began his season with the Orange in 2017. “And now he’s sitting back in the middle of our defense playing Mike linebacker and making plays.”

“I think there’s a very good chance that he’s going to have a lot of opportunity to make plays on Sunday when the season’s over,” Babers added.

Defensive back Christopher Fredrick intercepted a pass from Wake Forest’s Sam Hartman and received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the same play.

“For the defense to have six sacks…and the way they controlled that line of scrimmage and got after them…” Babers said. “They made some mistakes, there’s no doubt about it. But when you have as many tackle for losses as we had, and then you’re able to run the ball on offense and control the clock, I mean — [I’m] just really, really proud of the total team performance.”

The Orange will face the Louisville Cardinals in the Carrier Dome on Friday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m.