The Syracuse Orange and Eric Dungey capped off a tremendous 2018 season down in Orlando at the Camping World Bowl. The Orange defeated the West Virginia Mountaineers by a score of 34–18 to finish the season 10-3.
After back to back 4-8 seasons, the Orange were looking to go 6-6 at best and were predicted to finish last in the ACC. However, the Orange were able to turn their record around finish second in their conference. Head coach Dino Babers was also extended well into the future following a successful season.
The first half of the game turned into a defensive battle for both teams. Without quarterback Will Grier, the Mountaineers offense struggled. Prior to this game, sophomore Jack Allison had only completed 10 total passes in his career before filling in for Will Grier. The Orange took advantage of this as Allison only had 77 passing yards in the first half. Eric Dungey had just over 100 passing yards for the Orange and an interception in the first half. The Orange lead 14-12 going into half time.
The second half of the game opened up for both teams. Eric Dungey set a Syracuse school record for passing yards on a 6-yard toss to tight end Chris Elmore. Dungey passed former NFL quarterback Ryan Nassib’s 9,191 yards record that stood for six years. Dungey finished the game with 303 passing yards, setting the record at 9,340 yards.
The future looked bright for the Syracuse Orang in this one. Since the academic year was complete, that meant players who transferred were eligible to play. This was important for the Syracuse offense since the first three touchdowns were scored by transfers. Abdul Adams, a transfer from Oklahoma, only had 19 yards on 8 carries, but scored the first two touchdowns for the Orange, doubling the number of touchdowns he had with Oklahoma in two years.
In addition, wide receiver Trishton Jackson scored a touchdown early in the second half that put the orange ahead for good. Jackson is a junior transfer from Michigan State and will look to build off his three-reception game for the Orange next year.
The play that sealed the victory for the Orange never should have been a completion. Eric Dungey dropped back out of the pocket and lobbed a pass to running back Mo Neal as Dungey was hit. Mo Neal then converted the expected sack into a 43-yard gain for the Orange. This set up the put-away-touchdown by Jarveon Howard, who is expected to have a big year in 2019 for the Orange.
It is the end of an era for the Syracuse Orange as #2 Eric Dungey will no longer be under center. However, the Orange’s future looks bright. Abdul Adams is a former 4-star transfer from Oklahoma who already set his feet in the running game tonight. Meanwhile 4-star quarterback Tommy DeVito is expected to take the reigns and lead the Orange next year. Dontae Strickland will be graduating, but Mo Neal will be back for another year.
After a 10-3 season and a contract extension, Dino Babers and the Orange will be ready to make their mark in the ACC for the second straight year in 2019, get ready Syracuse fans!