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Ranking Syracuse’s quarterback matchups for 2017

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Eric Dungey opposes some quality passers this fall.

NCAA Football: Virginia Tech at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterbacks don’t necessarily “face” one another, because they’re never on the field at the same time. The far more important matchups for a team’s QB are between them and the opposing defense — or their offensive line with the opponent’s defensive front.

Nonetheless, Athlon took a shot at ranking some of the ACC’s best quarterback matchups of 2017 (Eric Dungey got a mention at eighth, vs. NC State’s Ryan Finley) and it got us thinking about the Syracuse Orange’s top quarterback matchups this season.

So below are the top passer vs. passer games, based on a combination of total talent — both shown and potential — between the two starting QBs.

1. Dungey vs. Lamar Jackson, Louisville

Obviously, Jackson is last year’s Heisman Trophy winner, so he sits atop this list. In 2016, Jackson and Dungey combined for 884 total yards and nine touchdowns at the Carrier Dome. Sure, plenty of those numbers belonged to the Louisville passer, but Dungey held his own in contributing to all four SU touchdowns on the evening. Expect similar fireworks from both when they match up in late November.

2. Dungey vs. Deondre Francois, Florida State

Dungey didn’t suit up against FSU, but Francois managed 315 passing yards and two touchdown passes at the Dome. Florida State’s scary defense could put a lid on Syracuse’s offensive abilities, but TBD if the Orange can stop the ‘Noles at all. Still, even a “down” game from Dungey and this offense could put up big numbers.

NCAA Football: Florida State at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

3. Dungey vs. Brent Stockstill, Middle Tennessee

Stockstill plays in a similarly fast-paced offense to what Syracuse runs, and the Blue Raiders’ defense may be even more questionable than SU’s (even with Scott Shafer now on board). Even an Orange win should produce some staggering statistics on both sidelines. This game could arguably put up more combined passing yards than any of the others.

4. Dungey vs. Ryan Finley, NC State

This was Athlon’s pick, as Finley is coming off a strangely “quiet” effort which included over 3,000 yards and 18 touchdown through the air. And while it’s not our top choice, his potential to hit something near last year’s 340 yards is worth considering here. Dungey was injured and missed the Wolfpack game last year (and the year before as well). In his first outing against NCSU, there’s potential for a big stat line.

5. Dungey vs. Max Browne, Pittsburgh

Pitt had some luck with its last transfer quarterback (Nathan Peterman), so now they’ll try their luck with Browne, the former USC passer. The numbers were never gaudy in limited action, but Browne was a highly-touted recruit, and did play reasonably well when given consistent snaps. His experience in the matchup vs. Dungey gives him an advantage over several of the options below him here.

6. Dungey vs. Hunter Johnson, Clemson

Johnson’s a former five-star prospect who looks like he could be the Tigers’ starter this year over Kelly Bryant. SB Nation’s Ian Boyd praises the QB’s precision and laser arm -- something that should probably terrify us unless the Orange defense improves. Clemson’s defense removed Dungey early in last year’s matchup. Let’s hope history doesn’t repeat itself this fall.

7. Dungey vs. Danny Etling, LSU

Etling may be more of a game manager, but with Matt Canada as his new offensive coordinator, there’s far more potential for him now to put up numbers to compete with Dungey. LSU’s defense alone may remove the need to score in the high 30s or 40s. But the play-calling and talent around Etling make this one a worthwhile pairing.

8. Dungey vs. Kendall Hinton, Wake Forest

Hinton’s missed both potential career games vs. Syracuse, while John Wolford’s done pretty well in his stead (513 passing yards over the course of two starts). Dungey had his original coming out party against the Deacons at the Dome in 2015, so we know what he’s capable here, minus hurricane conditions. A close game between these teams could push numbers higher than expected.

NCAA Football: Delaware at Wake Forest Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

9. Dungey vs. Malik Rosier, Miami

Rosier’s only thrown a handful of passes for Miami, but he’ll be the likely starter for 2017 with Brad Kaaya off to the NFL. The dual-threat passer’s a former three-star prospect, so he didn’t come in with the sort of hype that other Hurricanes’ players have. But as the only experienced option, we’ll slot him in here.

10. Dungey vs. Darius Wade, Boston College

Wade played briefly vs. Syracuse last season, completing three of six passes for 19 yards. His career hasn’t been filled with eye-popping statistics, or many opportunities, but at this point, he’s sort of all BC has. No matter what sort of game these two rivals play come Thanksgiving weekend, it’s unlikely we see big numbers coming from the Eagles’ at QB.

11. Dungey vs. Tommy Lazzaro, Central Michigan

Lazzaro hasn’t taken any FBS snaps, but at Dodge City Community College, he threw for over 2,200 yards to go along with 14 touchdown passes. The Colorado product can also run a bit, and has the size to avoid tacklers for a bit at 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds. The SU secondary is the only thing that gives this matchup a little potential to produce some bigger numbers.

12. Dungey vs. Jacob Dolegala, Central Connecticut State

Dolegala’s actually put up better numbers than most of the quarterbacks on this list -- 2,934 yards and 15 TDs — but he was assembling all of that against FCS opponents. That may seem counter-intuitive given the quarterback above him getting the nod with JUCO numbers. But CCSU’s unlikely to be able to put up the sorts of points that Central Michigan may against Syracuse.

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