Syracuse Vs Wake Forest. Sept 12, 2015

Key plays enough for the Orange to break away from Wake Forest, 30-17

Freshman quarterback Eric Dungey did just enough to help his team, but it was the Orange defense that stood out.

On Saturday afternoon, the Carrier Dome was the place to be as the Syracuse Orange and Wake Forest Demon Deacons squared off. Both teams were fresh off impressive victories in their season opener, but, in the end, it was the home team who left feeling good about the outcome and overcoming a lackluster first-half to corral a 30-17 victory.

All the pressure was directed at freshman Eric Dungey, who assumed the starting quarterback role once Terrel Hunt went down with a torn Achilles last week. The first full first-half of his career left much more to be desired.

“I think he missed a couple throws, missed a couple reads,” head coach Scott Shafer told reporters after the game. “He was more mad at himself than I was mad at him to be honest with you. I could see it in his eyes.”

By halftime, Dungey was 4-for-7 (started the game 3-for-3) with just 35 yards and the Orange offense didn’t display that same potency from the week before when they annihilated the Rams 47-0. Wake Forest led in the passing department 234-35, which could've proved disastrous for Syracuse.

Furthermore, the Demon Deacons had success on third-down to the tune of a 50 percent conversion rate (3 of 6), while Syracuse struggled heavily in that area going 0-for-5. This had a direct impact on the time of possession: Wake Forest won that battle by nearly five minutes.

The second half was a different story. Syracuse came out of the locker room with a different level of intensity and ultimately took control of the game, outscoring the Demon Deacons 17-0 the rest of the way.

While the overwhelming majority will look at the 89-yard bomb from Dungey to Brisly Estime that scored the offenses’ first touchdown of the game and giving the Orange a 20-17 lead, the turning point in the game preceded that sequence.

It was first-and-goal with promising things on the horizon, but then Wake Forest lost grasp and let the opportunity fall off a cliff. With the Demon Deacons threatening to take a two-possession lead with just under 30 seconds to play in the first half, Syracuse stymied those plans with an excellent defensive effort.

After failing to run the football effectively on two straight plays, Wake Forest elected to throw it into the end zone, and quarterback John Wolford failed to complete the pass and Syracuse held the opposition to just a field goal.

The Demon Deacons got back on their horse and marched down the field to begin the second-half, but a sack and a false start penalty proved to be costly. Mike Weaver missed a field goal from 50 yards and that was all she wrote for Wake Forest.

Two possessions later, Dungey displayed some elusive ability, avoiding a sack and throwing it down-field to Estime for that 89-yard touchdown. After the game, Dungey gave all the credit to his receivers when talking about how he was able to escape the defense and find his guys.

“I think they do a great job of getting open, and I just got to keep my eyes down the field and I got to find them,” Dungey said. “It’s the receivers though. They do a great job of getting open.”

That play will make it to the highlight reel and it’ll surely be the most memorable event taken from the game, but there’s no question the defense made it possible.

This game certainly wasn’t as easy at the blowout victory against the Rams, but Syracuse overcame adversity in this game to bring forth the same result. Dungey responded in the second half and finished the game 8-for-13 with 221 yards, two touchdowns and rushed for 36 yards. He put pressure on the Wake Forest defense with his legs and that opened up the field for him.

Highlighted by a second-quarter Donnie Simmons pick-six and the two defensive stances alluded to, the Syracuse defense was the story in Week 2. The Orange improved to 4-1 in the series history against the Demon Deacons and 2-0 on the young season. Next up for both teams: Syracuse hosts Central Michigan and Wake Forest travels to Army at West Point.

Given the circumstance and how they achieved the feat, this was a great win for the Syracuse Orange.

“Any time you win a fourth quarter game as player or as a coach, there is a sense of confidence going forward,” head coach Scott Shafer said.

Freshman quarterback Eric Dungey eludes a defender.

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