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Syracuse football’s recent history with senior starting quarterbacks

Relive the fun from Troy Nunes to Zack Mahoney...

Troy Nunes calls a play

As you know, Eric Dungey will (barring something entirely unforeseen) be the starting quarterback for the Syracuse Orange to open the 2018 season.

The senior hasn’t necessarily finished up any of the three years he’s been a starter. However, we’ve enjoying his time on campus for his play-making ability and harrowing style of play. Now he just needs the winning record to cap things off.

Being a senior would seem to predispose you to a chance at that — having experience is huge, and hopefully that lifts up even a young team around you — though Syracuse’s own recent history there has shown mixed results.

Since the turn of the century, the Orange have started nine seniors at quarterback for at least a game, and they’ve assembled a 28-42 record (sans two wins that were largely attributable to the QB that succeeded them).

Past results do not indicate future returns at all. But here’s a look at those nine quarterbacks before Dungey’s final ride (and final shot at getting to a bowl) begins.

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

2017: Zack Mahoney (471 passing yards, 3 TD, 4 INT, 0-2 record)

If only we could always have that 2016 Pitt game and the first half against Wake last year... with Dungey out for the final three games, Mahoney got two starts against the Deacons and Louisville. And while he was able to put up big numbers in those first 30 minutes, all of that fell apart thereafter. As we mentioned last year, he leaves a complicated legacy.

2015: Terrel Hunt (2 total yards, 0 TD, 1 INT, N/A record)

Game one against Rhode Island couldn’t have started worse for Hunt, and he wasn’t around long enough to play any part in the eventual 47-0 win engineered by Dungey. His injury here, coupled with one the previous season, made for a sad finish on what was at one point a fun career at SU. We’ll miss you, Texas Bowl.

2013: Drew Allen (666 passing yards, 2 TD, 9 INT, 0-2 record)

There was a legitimate amount of hype when Allen transferred in from Oklahoma, but turnovers erased all of that rather quickly. SU hung with Penn State in the opener, then got stomped by Northwestern the next week. Allen and Hunt started the Wagner game splitting time, but Hunt grabbed the starting job by halftime and that was that.

2012: Ryan Nassib (3,753 passing yards, 25 TD, 10 INT, 8-5 record)

Nassib showed a ton of promise in 2010 and 2011, and in 2012, he led a senior-heavy team to the program’s best season in a decade. In camp, SU opened up the offense, and we saw big results immediately in a 42-41 shootout (loss... bullshit) to Northwestern. Nassib holds a lot of single-season passing records as a result of the aggressive offensive approach.

Syracuse v Penn State Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images

2009: Greg Paulus ( 2,024 passing yards, 13 TD, 14 INT, 4-8 record)

(Saint) Doug Marrone wanted to make a splash in year one, and didn’t want to throw Nassib to the wolves. So he brought in former Duke basketball guard Greg Paulus to play QB and somehow, it almost worked. Paulus was accurate, threw for over 2,000 yards and managed to keep Syracuse in games. This was better and more fun in hindsight than it was in real-time.

2008: Cameron Dantley (1,298 passing yards, 11 TD, 5 INT, 3-8 record)

Dantley, a former walk-on, started the final 11 games of the 2008 season and led Syracuse to an unlikely win at Notre Dame in a contest that still puzzles anyone alive to see it.

2006: Perry Patterson: (1,865 passing yards, 12 TD, 4 INT, 4-8 record)

Patterson’s numbers actually weren’t too bad senior year — the only one in which he had more touchdowns than interceptions. That didn’t make up for the Iowa game (UGH) or the defense getting blown up by mobile QBs and spread attacks. But this was the least miserable season of the GERG era.

Syracuse v Miami Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

2003: RJ Anderson (2,422 total yards, 15 TD, 8 INT, 6-6 record)

This remains one of the better single-season quarterbacking efforts in team history because Orange QB records are weird. It was finally Anderson’s team and despite only winning six games, he made the most of it on the stat line to cap off an interesting career in CNY.

2002: Troy Nunes (1,337 passing yards, 8 TD, 7 INT, 3-2 record)

Nunes started the final five games of 2002, but of course, he’s best known now for accidentally birthing the name of a certain blog in a game against Auburn earlier in the season. Considering how weird that QB arrangement was that year between him and Anderson, he actually put up decent numbers.

Which of these past senior seasons will Dungey’s look like most? Or is he set to forge his own path... one that hopefully ends with at least 12 starts?