I’m not Eric Dungey. I’m not Dino Babers. I’m not a member of the Syracuse Football training staff. I’m not the one responsible for making the call on Dungey playing against NC State.
But if I were, I’d sit him. In fact, I’d sit him or the rest of the year. I know a status update on Dungey will come out this evening, but frankly I don’t think that matters.
We all saw Eric Dungey on the SU sideline Saturday after he took a hit to the head from Clemson linebacker Dorian O’Daniel. He looked dazed. He looked depressed. He looked like he didn’t know where he was.
Remember this isn’t the first time Dungey has been knocked out of a game because of a blow to the head. He suffered the same fate last season against Central Michigan and again against Louisville.
There are only so many head shots a player can take.
Eric Dungey is good. Really good. He has passed for over 400 yards in two separate games this season. He’s developed an electric connection with Amba Etta-Tawo and his ability to keep plays alive has made him a fan favorite.
Those facts make this situation so difficult.
Dungey undoubtedly gives Syracuse its best chance to win and knowing the type of player he is, I’m sure he wants to play. He’s a fighter.
But I don’t. To me, the risk outweighs the reward. Play him again this season, there is a good chance he suffers another head injury. On average, Dungey has taken a major head shot and been forced to leave the game once every five starts. This does not even factor in the blow he took against Pittsburgh last year.
There is a serious upside to playing him however and I understand that. Syracuse has an opportunity to go to its first bowl game since 2014. It’s obvious why so many people want to see him out there.
If Dungey passes the “tests” we’ve heard about this week and does indeed want to play against North Carolina State, then he’ll be out there Saturday.
I just hope the decision-makers in this scenario have Dungey’s best interests at heart this week and going forward. With his history, the next hit he takes really could be his last.
Knowing what we know today, I think it’s really tough to justify playing Dungey again this season.
Posted: Connor Morrissette