Syracuse coach Dino Babers was all smiles following his team’s 31-17 win over No. 17 Virginia Tech on Saturday. It wasn’t just the fact this win marked Syracuse’s first over a ranked opponent since 2012. Or the fact the win ended a two-game losing streak. Or the fact the night ended with fans storming the field to celebrate with the team.
It was more.
When asked what exactly this win meant, Babers said it brought this team closer together; it made them a family.
“The biggest thing about this win is anytime you take over a new program, you’re trying to get everybody to buy in, you’re trying to get everybody to work as one. And no matter how hard everyone wants to do that, there are always the naysayers.
There are always those ones who say, ‘Hey, maybe we should be doing it the way the old people, the old team, did it, or the old coaches did it.’ And it’s always that way, until you get that one win that solidifies you, that brings you together – that hardship that brings the family closer together.
That’s what happened today. We are now a family. We’re an ‘Ohana’. We’re a ‘La Familia.’ Now we are five fingers that are a fist. And now we can go out and play some Orange football.”
That family doesn’t just end with the players in the locker room. Although Babers couldn’t have known it at the time, former Syracuse football players congratulated him and the team on their upset win – furthering Babers’ claim that members of Syracuse football, both past and present, are a family.
Former starting quarterback Ryan Nassib
Former offensive lineman Justin Pugh
Congrats to my Cuse boys on a huge win at home!!! That post game speech by @CoachBabersCuse gave me goosebumps. Keep it rolling!— Justin Pugh (@JustinPugh) October 16, 2016
Former safety Shamarko Thomas
Former linebacker Chandler Jones
Syracuse football baby!! Great win!!— ♛Chandler Jones (@chanjones55) October 16, 2016
Former punter, quarterback, running back and savior Riley Dixon
Cuse!!!!!!— Riley Dixon (@RileyTDixon92) October 15, 2016