While we all expected this one to be a shootout, it was slow to warm for much of the first half. SU found itself down 10-0 early, but earned the 14-10 advantage by the end of the first quarter. They’d ride a 21-10 lead into halftime and then both teams’ offenses seemed to figure things out by the third, exploiting each others’ struggling defenses.
With the win — Syracuse’s first road victory in ACC play since 2016 (at Boston College) — the Orange move to 7-2 on the year (4-2 in conference play). Wake Forest falls to 4-5 (1-4).
This was not the air show from last week, when Eric Dungey threw for 411 yards against NC State. In this one, he tallied just 157 yards on 23-of-35 passing, as the run game took center stage along with the Orange defense. SU picked up over 280 yards on the ground, with Dungey picking up 119 of those. Both Moe Neal and Dontae Strickland also passed the 60-yard mark. Jarveon Howard had two rushing score, while Neal, Dungey and Chris Elmore had one apiece.
Though the passing game was off-kilter most of the game, Dungey was pretty accurate for the second half. He completed 16 straight at one point, too. Sean Riley had eight grabs for 67 yards and Jamal Custis had five for 62. Ravian Pierce caught four passes, and Nykeim Johnson had three.
Defensively, Syracuse got off to a similarly rocky start to the offense, but picked it up after a tough few drives to open. Ryan Guthrie had his third straight strong week, picking up 11 tackles with two sacks and a pass breakup. Fellow linebacker Kielan Whitner had 10 stops as well. The team had six sacks of Wake Forest QB Sam Hartman on the day — all in the first half.
The difference ended up being turnovers, which shouldn’t surprise for anyone who’s watched the Orange this year. Hartman fumbled twice, with recoveries from Evan Foster and McKinley Williams. Chris Fredrick ended up collecting the most critical one, though, snagging an interception in the end zone around the six-minute mark to stop a threatening Wake offense from scoring.
It wasn’t pretty, but impressive work by this Orange squad once again continuing to score points, this time on the road. At 7-2, they’re likely to stay at No. 19 at the very least in next week’s College Football Playoff rankings. They have Louisville up next with a real shot at eight wins with two to play.