Syracuse football ready to go bowling

SU football ready to go bowling

Saturday's upset of No. 22 NC State makes SU eligible for post-season play.
Published: October 28, 2018 | Updated: October 31st, 2018 at 11:19 am
Nykeim Johnson scores Syracuse's first touchdown Saturday against NC State on an 82-yard-pass from quarterback Eric Dungey.
Nykeim Johnson scores Syracuse's first touchdown Saturday against NC State on an 82-yard-pass from quarterback Eric Dungey.

The Syracuse Orange upset No. 22 North Carolina State Wolfpack in a 51-41 shootout Saturday night. A tremendous amount of firepower was on full display in the Carrier Dome as both teams combined for over 1,100 yards of offense.

The win pushes the Orange to 6-2 on the season, which makes SU bowl eligible for the first time since 2013.

“We still have goals that are out there, goals that need to be met,” head coach Dino Babers said. “We’re not satisfied and we will not settle.”

Syracuse starting quarterback Eric Dungey led the Orange offense to their fourth 50-point game of the season. Dungey finished the game with 411 passing yards and three touchdowns.

The four-year starter has been criticized for his inability to throw accurately deep downfield, but on Saturday night Dungey put his critics to bed. He got off to a hot start by posting 24 points in the first quarter, including an 82-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Nykeim Johnson only six minutes into the game.

Freshman wide receiver Taj Harris runs down the sideline for a 31-yard touchdown catch while being chased by NC State cornerback Chris Ingram.
Freshman wide receiver Taj Harris runs down the sideline for a 31-yard touchdown catch while being chased by NC State cornerback Chris Ingram.

More than 40,000 fans witnessed Eric Dungey break a seemingly untouchable record, previously held by Syracuse-great and former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb. With a third quarter touchdown pass to freshman wide receiver Taj Harris, Dungey became Syracuse University’s all-time total yards leader. McNabb stood atop the list for 20 years.

After red-shirt freshman quarterback Tommy DeVito piloted a come-from-behind win against the North Carolina Tar Heels last weekend, Dungey’s job security was in jeopardy. DeVito provided a spark the Orange desperately needed to get their season back on track, and as a result, it gave birth to a quarterback controversy. Syracuse fans were divided, and it was clear Babers had a crucial decision to make.

“The practice week with DeVito and Dungey was amazing,” Babers said. “I’ve never seen archers perform at such a high level the entire week.”

A healthy competition between the two quarterbacks puts the Orange in an advantageous position moving forward. Dungey and DeVito might have different skill sets, but both of them give the Orange a chance to win.

“Competition brings the best in people,” Dungey said. “I’m happy with Tommy. You know he’s been pushing me. I’ve been pushing him, so it’s a great competition we have.”

The head-to-head battle between Dungey and DeVito can help reestablish a winning culture for Syracuse football. While Dungey is the present, DeVito is the future.

Next week, the Orange travel down to Winston-Salem to face off against ACC foe Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons are 4-4 on the season and is coming off of a lopsided 56-35 win over Louisville. Syracuse lost to Wake Forest 64-43 in the Carrier Dome last season.

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is a contributor to The NewsHouse.