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Let’s Go Bowling: Syracuse Tops NC State 51-41

Syracuse football is bowl eligible for the first time since 2013 and they’ve only played 8 games. Man that feels good to type. SU outlasted NC State in a shootout 51-41 Saturday night in the dome.

Say what you want about this season so far. It’s been a weird one. Lots of twists and turns and yeah SU has given us fits with its defense and looked like the 4-8 teams of the past far too much, but let’s not get picky. If you asked anyone if they would’ve taken 6-2 at the start of the season they’ve would’ve run for the exits and said yes.

This was a big win for the program. It’s the type of win that proves you belong in the Atlantic division for the foreseeable future. That’s a good NC State team they beat. A ranked team on a primetime stage.

For years we’ve complained about this programs inability to win this exact type of game. They’ve beaten the UCONN’s and even had their fair share of big time upsets. But they haven’t been able to beat the peer slightly above them. That’s exactly what you have to do to change a five win season into a seven or eight win season. That’s what you have to do to get to that next level in the ACC.

On Saturday night, Syracuse officially moved up a tier in the ACC. They went score for score with one of the best teams in the conference and controlled throughout.

Not to mention, Eric Dungey proved he is indeed still really good at football. Maybe it was wrong to doubt that in the first place but he snapped out of his funk in a big way Saturday night. That’s some of the most accurate pocket passing I’ve seen from him. Yeah, the second quarter was rough offensively for SU and Tommy DeVito came in briefly. But I don’t really even blame that on Dungey. The play calling got a little tentative, if anything.

This obviously doesn’t mean we won’t see DeVito anymore this season. Far from it. He will always be there to provide a spark when needed and I trust Dino to manage that in the right spots. It’s reassuring honestly and from their interaction on the sideline, it seems like the two quarterbacks are both helping each other out. It appears this is a healthy situation for everyone and it could’ve easily been anything but that.

Look the Clemson and Virginia Tech wins were more impressive, there’s no denying that. They put the program in the national spotlight. This Saturday night game though Syracuse started in front of the national spotlight and proved it belonged there. That to me is more meaningful.

It’s been a brutal stretch for Syracuse fans. Lots of lows. But exhale and smile before you go to bed tonight because the Dino Babers era has officially arrived. This team has taken a leap to another tier in the ACC. They already topped their season over under of 5 ½ wins with four weeks left and you know what makes this even more fun: next years team is probably going to be even better.

Other Notes:

  • I’ve never really been a Sean Riley fan but he stepped up tonight. Yes, the roughing the punter was rough and sway the momentum of the game. But just in terms of his offense, he played one of his best games for SU. 10 catches for 164 yards tonight from him.
  • Iffy Melifonwu continues to impress. What a difference two weeks makes. From the bench and no playing time to one of the most trustworthy corners on the team. They need him to continue to grow though because the secondary overall was rough Saturday night, granted against a deadly NC State passing attack.
  • Andre Szmyt continues to go under-the-radar. I would trust that guy to watch my back in war. He is straight up nails and been such an added bonus for this team.
  • The 3rd and 21 around the 12 minute mark was the biggest play of the ball game. Such a low percentage conversion and you could feel the momentum slipping. Who knows what happens if Dungey doesn’t put that ball right on the money and Riley doesn’t haul it in.

 

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