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Eric Dungey: ‘Nobody believes in us except for us and that’s fine’

Somehow, Syracuse shocked Clemson last night.

Clemson v Syracuse Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Out of absolutely nowhere, the Syracuse Orange (4-3, 2-1) knocked off second-ranked defending national champion Clemson Tigers (6-1, 4-1).

After dominating the statistics, SU’s defensive and offensive line (yes really) controlled the line of scrimmage. On offense, they created holes for the run game, set up a pocket for junior quarterback Eric Dungey to throw -- just long enough to avoid the pressure. Defensively, outside of two long touchdown runs, SU held the Clemson offense in check.

“There’s no rotation with the offensive line,” Babers said. “They’re playing every snap unless they go down... But the way we were running the ball in the fourth quarter — the defense was getting taxed.”

Eric Dungey played perhaps one of his most impressive games. He exploded for 278 passing yards, three touchdowns, and 61 rushing yards (including two key long rushing plays). Even playing through a shin injury, he did not appear to miss a step. He controlled the pace and tempo of the game, leading to a tired opposing defense.

NCAA Football: Pittsburgh at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

For Dungey, this game means more than just a victory on the win column.

“Nobody believes in us except for us and that’s fine,” said the junior quarterback. “I put my pads on to play for these guys, the seniors, Coach Babers, all these guys… It feels good.”

On the other side of the ball, the defense was outstanding. While they did allow some big plays, they were pretty solid overall, and generated an enormous pass rush all game. Only allowing 317 yards, Perris Bennett once again lead the way. His nine tackles and a sack proved why he has received attention around the ACC.

Bennett credits the crowd for their energy they put into the team today.

“I’ve never felt like I’m going to go into a football game and lose,” Bennett said. “We fed off the energy. Third down, rocking, you could tell those guys could hear it and feel it. Guys felt more confident… When you get as loud as that, guys feel like they’re on top of the world.”

As Clemson junior quarterback Kelly Bryant went down with an injury late in the second quarter, freshman quarterback Zerrick Cooper took over and simply could not figure out the Syracuse blitz scheme, as he was sacked three times.

Clemson v Syracuse Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Babers had nothing but positive things to say about the defense’s performance.

“From a defensive stand point, we’re getting better,” he said. “Guys are rotating and they’re giving a fantastic effort.”

After watching this team play against MTSU, I would have never expected this. Yet, here we are, beating the No. 2 team in the country. Hopefully, this team plays this well again next week. SU faces Miami down in Florida.