It’s November 5th, 2018 and Syracuse is No. 13 in the nation in the AP poll. Like any season, there have been some critical moments that have pushed the Orange in both the right and wrong directions. I’ve always found it funny how sports work: the result of a single play can can totally change the outlook of a team’s season.
With that said, here are the three biggest plays that have changed the fortune of SU’s 2018 season.
1. Dino Babers’ quarterback change
There’s no arguing this one. Babers’ decision to change quarterbacks with the game on the line has done wonders for his team. Not only did Tommy DeVito deliver in crunch time against UNC, be he lead the Orange to their first win after the bye in the Babers era. The next game? Eric Dungey delivered one of his best performances in a Syracuse uniform. If Babers didn’t make that move, who knows where the Orange would be right now. They probably wouldn’t have beat North Carolina and almost certainly would have lost to NC State. They pay football coaches the big bucks for a reason and Dino delivered that time.
Everyone repeat after me: I believe in Tommy Football. I believe in Tommy Football. pic.twitter.com/O50GCIWPDp
— Orange Fizz (@OrangeFizz) October 20, 2018
2. Clemson’s fourth down conversion
Keep this in mind: if Syracuse had beaten Clemson in September, the Orange would be in line for a trip to the ACC Championship game in Charlotte next month. Both teams would have one loss and Syracuse would be in first place because of the tie break. Instead, freshman quarterback Chase Brice delivered a strike when he needed to most. A few plays later, Travis Etienne broke SU’s back with his third touchdown of the game. It’s crazy to think how much that game actually ended up meaning. At the time, it was thought of as a fun rematch of one of last season’s biggest upsets. Now, it looks like a game that could end up deciding the division.
Touchdown Clemson. Travis Etienne. A 94-yard drive is capped by a score. Clemson 27, Syracuse 23. :41 to go.
— Brent Axe (@BrentAxeMedia) September 29, 2018
3. Eric Dungey’s overtime interception
The next loss on Syracuse’s resume doesn’t look quite as good. Sure, Pittsburgh is currently leading the coastal. However, the Orange had a chance for a bounce back win after their loss to Clemson and couldn’t get it. After Pitt scored on its first drive in overtime, Dungey tossed an interception on the Orange’s first play from scrimmage. If Syracuse would have closed the deal, we may be looking at a top-ten football team in November.
What three plays will we be talking about in December?