With the way the Syracuse Orange has performed against two top 10 teams with Zack Mahoney under center, there has been some chatter about Mahoney possibly earning a scholarship, and maybe even competing with Eric Dungey for the starting job next season.
Let’s stop with that discussion. Please.
Mahoney has filled in admirably, and the Orange has probably played its two best games since the start of the now 7 game-losing streak when Mahoney has started. And those two games just happen to be the two highest ranked opponents on the SU schedule.
I’m not trying to deny that Mahoney filled in and likely played as well as he could have, but his best is not enough to warrant a QB competition with Dungey, who is a much better quarterback, even if Mahoney is a smarter runner.
Lets take a look at Mahoney as a passer. In two games, he has completed 40% of his passes for 234 yards. Sure, that came against some tough defenses, but more important than the yardage is the low completion percentage. It simply isn’t good enough to win games. Even when Mahoney came in in relief of Eric Dungey in the Central Michigan game, he threw just 4 passes, a clear sign that the SU coaches did not feel he was ready, especially when the game got close near the end. Of course, he could improve over the course of the offseason, but as of now, Mahoney is nowhere near the level he needs to be passing to be a legitimate starting QB of a power-5 team.
If you want to compare running styles, Mahoney is far smarter and doesn’t take the hits that Dungey does. But Mahoney also isn’t nearly as explosive a runner as Dungey, who picks up far more “big plays” on the ground. Mahoney has added 116 yards in his two starts, just a little less than 7 yards per carry. That is nice, and roughly double the yards per carry average that Eric Dungey has put up, but Mahoney has been running a lot more of the triple option than Dungey has. The triple option, by nature, is a great system for a running quarterback. The defense doesn’t know where the ball is going and who will take the ball, giving a heavy advantage to the offense. Dungey has rarely run the triple option, for whatever reason.
Basically, the Syracuse offense has been very different when Mahoney is under center than when Dungey is taking the snaps. So it is almost unfair to compare the performance of the two QBs. But it is going to happen. At the end of the day, I want my quarterback to be able to throw the ball, and there the advantage goes to Dungey, by a lot.
Posted By: Seth Goldberg