Syracuse runs over Wake Forest for 1st November win in Dino Babers era

first_img Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on November 3, 2018 at 3:44 pm Contact Andrew: | @A_E_Graham WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Dino Babers was confident Syracuse could beat Wake Forest by running the football with its running backs. He also knew with Eric Dungey toting the rock, he said, the Demon Deacons couldn’t stop SU.So, Babers went to his senior quarterback.“‘There’s a very good chance that we can win this game running the ball through the tailbacks,’” Babers remembered telling Dungey, “‘but if we run you, they won’t have a chance.’“‘And he says, ‘Coach, let’s go.’ And I said, ‘Are you sure?’ And he said, ‘Coach, let’s go.’”Dungey did go, running 24 times for 119 yards and a touchdown amidst a rushing attack that put up 264 total yards and five touchdowns. No. 19 Syracuse (7-2, 4-2 Atlantic Coast) recognized Wake Forest’s (4-5, 1-4) abandonment of run defense due to a banged-up linebacker core and exploited it, grabbing a 41-24 victory at BB&T Field. It’s the first November win of the Babers era at Syracuse and just the second ACC road win during his time at SU.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“They really weren’t going to let us throw the football,” Babers said postgame. “And we were like, ‘OK, maybe they’ll change their mind.’ No. They weren’t going to change their mind, so we said, ‘OK, we need to run the football.’”Syracuse, as Babers said, struggled to move the ball in the air early. The Orange ran 10 plays for 14 yards on its first three drives. Wake Forest, after a Greg Dortch punt return set up the Demon Deacons in SU territory, settled for a field goal on it’s fourth drive. Down 10-0, Babers decided to test the ground game.And on came Moe Neal, who promptly jolted the offense into life with four carries for 40 yards and a touchdown on the ensuing drive, getting SU on the scoreboard. Later in the quarter, after WFU freshman quarterback Sam Hartman coughed it up on the 10, SU took the lead, 14-10, after four straight handoffs — two to Neal, and two to Jarveon Howard, who got the score and another later on.SU never trailed from that point.“I think that kind of balanced out the score very quickly,” Babers said of the adjustment to running the ball.It was a necessary tweak, as the Demon Deacons sold out to stop the pass — Dungey went 23-of-35 for 157 yards — regularly sending seven or eight defenders in coverage. Facing three and four man fronts and a linebacker core that on Saturday featured one healthy scholarship player, the difference was immediate for the Orange.From Syracuse’s first touchdown drive and onward, SU possessed the ball for 35:18 to Wake Forest’s 16:13. SU outscored WFU 41-14 from that point.Dungey starred, but the running backs all churned out positive carries.Neal had 67 yards and Dontae Strickland added 65 of his own. Jarveon Howard took seven touches for only 12 yards, but scored two touchdowns in the process. Even fullback Chris Elmore got in on the action, carrying twice for six yards and a score.When asked about running himself, Dungey demurred, and highlighted the other runners. “Our backs did a good job of carrying the ball,” he said postgame. “When you try to stop the throwing game, you also have to take into account our run game.”Syracuse’s overwhelming of a lesser, banged up opponent on the road echoed Wake Forest’s 64-43 win over Syracuse nearly a year ago. Without Dungey, the Demon Deacons came to the Carrier Dome and outpaced SU, hanging 64 points on a defense that gave up 371 rushing yards. SU took a 17-point lead in that game and let it slip away, unable to defend the run.On Saturday, Wake Forest took a 10-0 lead, let it slip away, and lost 41-24 while surrendering 264 yards on the ground to SU, in large part because of a thin linebacker group.Babers didn’t show pity for his own team last year, and though he commended Wake Forest, he understood the position the Demon Deacons were in all too well.“They’re banged up right now,” Babers said Saturday, “and it’s unfortunate. And when you get to November, you gotta win the surest way and that defense was banged and that’s the way we needed to attack them. It wasn’t exactly fair, but this is not intramurals.”Out of halftime, Syracuse continued its ground onslaught. Dungey carried four times himself on the first series. After a 13-yard scamper from the quarterback took SU to the Wake Forest five, Elmore lined up to Dungey’s left in the shotgun.The quarterback took the snap, turned his hips and placed the ball in Elmore’s stomach. The 282-pound fullback rumbled forward, through the hole the offensive line had opened to the right, and there was one defender — 205-pound safety Cameron Glenn — in the way.“My mentality is run anything over,” Elmore said. “Everybody knows that I’m not that shifty guy. Just run downhill, run anybody over.”He continued: “It’s there, go get it. He tried his hardest, but hey.”All game, Syracuse was just that much better.last_img

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