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Saturday, Nov 03, 2018 at 7:56 pm

Syracuse affirms Top-25 ranking, smacks Wake Forest 41-24

By Chris Venzon

CitrusTV Football Reporter

Syracuse opened flat in Winston-Salem. Early in the 1st quarter, the Orange stared down a ten-point deficit thanks to three straight offensive possessions in which Eric Dungey didn’t complete a pass. But then, SU pivoted.

“They really weren’t going to let us pass the football,” SU head coach Dino Babers said. “We thought, ‘Well, maybe they’ll change their mind’ But they didn’t.” 

A slight adjustment of philosophy produced five rushing touchdowns and 264 yards on the ground as No. 19 Syracuse (7-2, 4-2 Atlantic Coast) is off to its best start since 2001 with a 41-24 win against Wake Forest (4-5, 1-4). It is the first road ACC win for the Orange in two seasons.

For Syracuse, the win exemplifies the dramatic reinvention  the program has undergone since Babers took the helm after the 2015 season. For Babers, it validates the prophecy he’s spoken into existence from his first day on the job. For Dungey, it is the result he’s been waiting for since freshman year.

“I just want to win,” said Dungey, “The past couple of years, we’ve really been through a lot, and it’s made [the team’s] bond a lot stronger.”

Dungey finished as the team’s leading rusher and scored on a 26-yard burst up the middle in the third quarter. The Oregon native already owns 16 individual offensive records at SU, and by the end of this season, he will statistically be either the second or third greatest quarterback to ever don the block ‘S’ helmet. What the remainder of the 2018 season offers for Dungey, is the chance for the senior to etch his name in the annals of SU football history as a crucial cog of Syracuse’s three-year turnaround in the “Orange is the new fast” era.

“You can’t say enough about what they’ve done to change this culture here at Syracuse University and give us an opportunity for us to do greater things in the future,” Babers said. “Regardless of what happens, [the seniors] are going to be know as the class that got this thing turned around and headed back in the right direction.”

cjvenzon@syr.edu | @ChrisVenzon_