The Syracuse Orange have their first big win of the Dino Babers era. The Orange (3-4, 1-2 ACC) stunned No. 17 Virginia Tech (4-2, 2-1) 31-17 on Saturday at the Carrier Dome. The Orange got the lead early and never relinquished it, leading to their biggest win of the season.
The Orange started out strong with a six play, 75-yard drive capped off by an Eric Dungey touchdown pass to Ervin Phillips. Dungey, who was injured in the second quarter but came back in, was fantastic all day. He threw for over 400 yards and had a rushing touchdown as well.
After Virginia Tech got on the board with a field goal late in the first quarter, the Orange used some trickery to pad their lead. Running back Dontae Strickland took a toss from Dungey, then proceeded to throw the ball to Brisley Estime for an 84-yard touchdown pass. The Orange added a field goal before half to give them a 17-3 lead.
Virginia Tech got their first touchdown in the third quarter, trimming the Orange lead to 17-9. The Hokies tied the game early in the fourth after a touchdown and a two-point conversion, but the Orange had other plans. The Orange went on a game-clinching 17 play, 75-yard drive ended with a Dungey rushing touchdown to put the Orange up 24-17. The much-maligned Syracuse defense, which was excellent all day long, came up with a huge three-and-out, after which Syracuse effectively ended the game with a Strickland touchdown.
This win can’t be overstated. The Orange needed to show they can win against good teams, and this proves that. The offense was excellent, but the defense is what stands out. After being picked on so much this season, they came up with big stops, and gave the Orange their biggest win in what feels like a lifetime.