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Wake Forest visits Syracuse in ACC season opener

By John Kekis, Associated Press | Posted - Sep. 11, 2015 at 12:41 p.m.

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — If Syracuse has deja vu on the mind, it's understandable.

It's a new season, and for the Orange (1-0) that means a new freshman quarterback will be at the helm for the second straight year against Wake Forest (1-0) when the teams kick off the Atlantic Coast Conference season on Saturday in the Carrier Dome.

Last fall, starter Terrel Hunt was lost for the season with a broken calf bone and freshman AJ Long made his first college start, leading the Orange to victory against Wake Forest on the road.

Fast forward a year and Hunt again is out for the season, this time with a torn Achilles tendon. Now, it's freshman Eric Dungey who will make his first college start.

Syracuse beat Wake Forest easily, 30-7, last October behind Long, who threw for 171 yards and ran for one touchdown. Orange coach Scott Shafer figures his team can win again with Dungey calling the shots after his successful college debut last week in relief of Hunt, who was injured midway through the first quarter of last Friday night's 47-0 win over Rhode Island.

"It's hard not to think — here we go again," Syracuse linebacker Zaire Franklin said. "But we rallied around Eric. He's a baller. He can play. We believe in Eric. We just know we have to do our part."

Dungey completed 10 of 17 passes for 114 yards and his first college throw is one he'll never forget. He rolled right, jumped, found Ervin Philips with a screen pass, and Philips took it 32 yards for a TD. Dungey, who also combined with the shifty Philips on another scoring pass, also rushed for 20 yards on eight carries.

"I think he's a very good fit to run their offense," Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson said. "Eric's a guy that we watched film on in high school and we liked him a lot. I think his skill set is a very good fit for what they're trying to do offensively."

Other things to know when the two teams picked to finish at the bottom of the ACC's Atlantic Division meet on Saturday:



The Syracuse defense knocked Wake Forest quarterback John Wolford out of last year's game in the second quarter, rendering the Demon Deacons' already-struggling offense even more ineffective. Wolford ended his freshman year last fall with a three-touchdown performance against Duke and picked right up last week in a 41-3 win over Elon, passing for three more TDs and a career-high 323 yards and tacking on a 70-yard scoring run. "Their quarterback is a year older," Syracuse DC Chuck Bullough said. "He's much improved from last year. We just have to worry about ourselves."



Dungey became the 10th freshman to take snaps for the Orange since freshmen became eligible in 1972. He and Long are the only two Syracuse freshman quarterbacks to throw a touchdown pass in their debuts.



Even with a freshman starter at quarterback, Shafer doesn't have to limit the playbook, a real luxury. "It means a lot. He's fully capable of running the whole offense," Shafer said of Dungey. "He's almost too quick on his reads sometimes, which is a good thing. I'd rather slow him down than have to try to speed him up."



Syracuse held Rhode Island to just two first downs, four yards rushing, and 64 yards of total offense, the latter the lowest total allowed by an Orange defense since limiting West Virginia to 61 yards in 1967. Wake Forest's 591 yards of total offense against Elon was the school's highest since a 598-yard performance against Virginia in 1975. The Demon Deacons allowed Elon to cross midfield just once.



Former Syracuse coach Dick MacPherson will be honored at halftime. During his 10-year tenure, MacPherson coached the Orange to one of just two undefeated seasons in school history — 11-0-1 in 1987 — and had two of the school's six double-digit win seasons.



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John Kekis


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