Last Friday night’s win over Clemson will be a program-defining win for the Syracuse Orange and an eternal chapter in Eric Dungey’s Syracuse career. After the game, there was a lot of praise for the Lake Oswego, Ore. native, and deservedly so. This was one of the better recent games we’ve seen by a Syracuse quarterback against Power Five competition.
Naturally, we wanted to see where this ranked in all-time Syracuse QB performances. Unfortunately, CFB Reference only goes back to 2000, and there have been a handful of performances that match what Dungey did vs. Clemson (by passer efficiency rating).
Andrew Robinson’s 2007 win over Louisville and Ryan Nassib’s 2012 win over South Florida are the only two games that look more impressive in the box score -- at least against Power Five opponents. Zack Mahoney’s seven total touchdowns and astronomical overall numbers against Pitt lap everything else that’s happened at SU. But the rating wasn’t necessarily there, and that’s what we’re filtering by here.
But back to Dungey, not only was his game impressive by Syracuse standards; it was also a rarity against Clemson since Brent Venables took over the defense. Since he arrived in 2012, just three players have thrown for over 250 yards and three touchdowns with an efficiency rating over 150. Two of those three — Pitt’s Nathan Peterman and Dungey won, while the third (UNC’s Marquise Williams) lost.
Dungey’s overall body of work also compares pretty well to some of the top quarterbacks in the college game right now.
Last 12 full games…— #DaHale (@DavidHaleESPN) October 14, 2017
Eric Dungey: 4325 total yards, 33 TD, 9 TO
Darnold: 3577 yds, 33 TD, 20 TO
Rudolph: 4096 yds, 41 TD, 9 TO
For reference, USC’s Sam Darnold came into this season being seen by some as the No. 1 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. Mason Rudolph plays for a top-15 Oklahoma State team and is also looked at as a serious first round prospect (and some think he’s even better than Darnold).
Dungey’s sort out-performed both when healthy, even if the numbers are pretty close. And that’s largely relying on his prowess as a passer.
When comparing dual-threat performances over the past two seasons, he also appears pretty favorably. Looking at quarterbacks that have thrown for at least 275 yards, ran for 50 and accounted for at least three touchdowns against P5 opponents, Dungey has two of the top 16 performances (ranked by efficiency rating) since the start of 2016.
That’s tied for the most in the country, along with Lamar Jackson (whose first appearance on the list is at 10th). It’s more than Deshaun Watson’s one such game, too. Dungey’s top performance (vs. BC last year) sits all the way up at No. 4 overall.
Some of this can seem like picking and choosing statistics to make a point, and to a degree, that’s fair. But to some extent, that’s what writing with stats is always about. And we’re not just looking at one game for Dungey. There are numerous performances that show him above the level of the sport’s top QBs.
Inevitably, this will start a flame war with Clemson and Louisville fans claiming we called Dungey better than their respective quarterbacks. That’s not the case at all. But it’s worth calling out that the numbers have stacked up well, at least.
Dungey will have his work cut out for him for the rest of this season. However, if he gets close to these numbers in one game again, you have to like our odds to hit the six-win mark.