If you’re a soccer fan, you probably know Clint Dempsey. Hell, if you’re American and reading this, you’re probably a fan of the recently retired USA Soccer star.
Dempsey was so remarkably different than any USA player before him. He had swagger. He had skill. He had an American edge and toughness paired with more skill than any player before and most who will come after. As his former national team coach said, “He tries shit.”
All of this ran through my head Saturday afternoon during a series that so perfectly sums up Eric Dungey. On a dead ball, Dungey was flagged for unsportlike conduct for flipping the ball into the face of Boston College defensive player. Sure the call was soft, but a senior shouldn’t be making those plays. The next drive was capped by a Dungey scramble for 18 yards, complete with running over a safety along the way.
He made shit happen.
And he has his entire career. With 11,008 total yards, 92 touchdowns and a highlight reel of scrambles, Dungey hasn’t always played smart. Games like this year’s against Pittsburgh remain fresh in our minds, only to be countered by his more-than-occasional brilliance we saw on Saturday, or in the Dome last year versus Clemson.
Pretending that the Dungey who puts his head down for an extra yard only to be injured exists separate from the quarterback who runs a 75-yard drive with two step drop bullets is beyond foolish. Dungey’s confidence to throw that 65-yard bomb to Sean Riley comes from turning a 6 yard run into 10 by not sliding.
You could make a mile-long list of other plays large and small: Forcing a fumble against Miami, last year’s sneak vs. the Tigers, the hurdle against Virginia, the first glimpse of brilliance on a deep pass against Wake Forest in 2015. We could go on...
This preseason, we said Syracuse would go as far as Dungey could carry the team. Games like the one versus UNC showed that there’s plenty of supporting talent on the Syracuse Orange roster tow in without him. Saturday showed just how easy it is to win with him.
A 9-3 season happened because more times than not, Eric Dungey made shit happen. There aren’t many players with that singular blend of creativity and toughness, who then have the skill to see their vision through.
No matter how many stars the next 10 quarterbacks have, they won’t be Eric Dungey. They may be great, they may even be legendary, but they won’t be Eric Dungey.
No Syracuse QB will be.