After Eric Dungey delivered a pretty strong tackle and got himself involved in a sideline dust-up, we were worried. Some in the TNIAAM comments and on Twitter thought there was a possibility he could get tossed from the game (a la Terrel Hunt in the Villanova disaster of 2014).
Thankfully, that wasn’t the case. The Syracuse Orange quarterback accounted for 488 of the team’s 532 yards, and threw for three touchdowns in a 28-20 victory over rival Boston College. While he’s been putting up strong numbers all year, there’s been an even greater uptick in his production running the offense these past two weeks (both wins):
Eric Dungey over the past two games, against a pair of top-10 defenses:— Orange Fizz (@OrangeFizz) October 22, 2016
60-for-91, 745 yards, 4 TD; 41 carries, 160 yards, 1 TD.
As Orange Fizz points out there, These weren’t just any victories against random opponents. Both Virginia Tech and Boston College are top 10 defenses, and their strengths -- like getting after the quarterback (BC) and defending the pass (Virginia Tech) — play counter to what Syracuse wants to do game-in and game-out.
And yet, he continues setting the Orange football record book ablaze, putting up numbers even Donovan McNabb didn’t touch during his illustrious SU career. Last week, he was the first Syracuse QB to throw for 300 yards and run for another 100. This week, he threw for the second-most yards in school history. As we’ll discuss further tomorrow, Dungey now sits in the top-five of most major single-season passing records for SU, and he still has four games to go.
One of the first player quotes after the game was from Amba Etta-Tawo, the recipient of 10 of today’s 32 completions for Dungey. He, as you figured, is a believer in is quarterback:
Amba Etta-Tawo takes the podium next. Quickly praises his QB, says "Eric is the man." pic.twitter.com/wpFYtURg8H— Z89 Sports (@Z89sports) October 22, 2016
While it’s easy to nit pick him taking more hits of late, and perhaps embracing some unnecessary risk too, that comes with the territory of putting the Orange on his back in these wins. He’s not the only contributor, of course. But with an anemic ground game, he’s taken on an increasing amount of the load. And it’s paid dividends.
It’s also put a target on his back, much like the one we saw at various points last season too.
“Everybody is going to take a shot at him if they get a chance,” Parris Bennett told the Daily Orange after the game. And he’s certainly right. You witnessed it on the first play against the Eagles, when he was hit well after releasing the football and it just continued from there. Dungey also isn’t backing down as a result, as he told the D.O.:
“I was trying to finish the tackle. I get tackled all the time so when I get a chance to tackle, I’m just trying to tackle him. Some guy’s standing over me talking smack and I just try to get him off me and one thing led to another.”
While he downplays what happened, we are certainly seeing a more demonstrative Dungey in direct correlation with his level of play. With wins and highlight reel plays, it’s easy to just see it as excitement and exuberance about the positive results. But you have to wonder if it will continue into upcoming tough matchups with Clemson and Florida State, among others.
Dungey gets a well-earned week off before the Orange head down to Clemson to face the top-five Tigers on the first Saturday in November. Whatever’s fueling the fire for him these last few weeks, we hope it (and the incredible numbers he’s been putting up) continue if SU wants to make it to the postseason.