Dino Babers has spoken the words since the day he’s walked into town. It’s at times been hard to believe. The Syracuse head coach has said the program will eventually notch the big victories that define winning schools. He finally made good on that promise.
In fact, he’s now made good on that promise twice. Last year Syracuse beat Virginia Tech in an otherwise lost season, a rare bright light at the Dome amongst a 12-week slog of mediocrity.
Friday night was different. It was the defending national champs, the #2 team in the country, the power broker who would eventually roll over the inferior Orange. Yet, here was the unranked Orange outplaying the Tigers in almost every facet of the game. SU threw the ball downfield and connected. Eric Dungey was masterful with the play-action freeze. The special teams wasn’t fooled by Clemson’s fake punt with 6 minutes to play.
Dino outcoached his counterpart on the sideline, and there’s not many opportunities that happens to Dabo. Maybe we should’ve listened to Swinney as he spoke all week glowingly about the Orange and that SU would eventually be a contender in the ACC. Perhaps Dabo saw on film what we saw last night. Syracuse is a dangerous team and can run with anyone.
SU came out swinging, scoring early and making the Orange the aggressor. This is Dino’s signature. The confidence, the stones to land the first punch. Clemson had every chance to pull away after that, but SU found the stops and scores to make it hold up.
This is a program defining win, the same way the win over Nebraska in ’84 was the seminal moment of Coach Mac’s teams. That win planted the seeds for the run in ’87. It’s impossible to say this will do the same. But for tonight, Syracuse football is the biggest story in college football. And that is Dino Babers delivering on his promise.
Written by: Damon Amendolara