Syracuse scores 28 unanswered points as Orange bury Wake Forest

Sean Riley
Syracuse wide receiver Sean Riley (10) can't break away from Wake Forest defender Alex Bachman (1) in the first quarter at BB&T Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports.

Behind an array of ballcarriers, #22 Syracuse ran over Wake Forest on Saturday, 41-24, snapping a road losing streak in ACC play of eight games. The Orange (7-2, 4-2 ACC) rolled up 264 yards and five touchdowns on the ground as they defeated the Demon Deacons (4-5, 1-4). Four different players posted scores as SU set a school record for rushing tallies in an ACC game.

The Syracuse offense started slowly, logging a three-and-out on each of their first three drives as Eric Dungey misfired on his first five passes. Wake was much more successful, posting a touchdown on their second possession and adding a field goal on their fourth. The kick gave them a 10-0 lead with less than nine minutes elapsed.

Dungey had his sixth straight incompletion to start the game, but then connected with Jamal Custis for a 33-yard gain. That completion got the Orange offense going and Moe Neal finished the drive three plays later by scampering in for an eight-yard touchdown. Andre Szmyt added the extra point to pull SU within 10-7 with a little over four minutes left in the first.

The SU offense could not move on their next possession, but their defensive mates got them the ball back quickly. When the Demon Deacon quarterback had the ball slip from his hand when getting ready to pass, McKinley Williams scopped up the loose ball and rumbled to the Wake 10.

On fourth-and-goal from a yard out, Jarveon Howard stretched across the end zone stripe for a touchdown. Szmyt’s extra point made it a 14-10 game in favor of Syracuse.

The Orange strengthened their lead late in the second quarter, moving 57 yards in a clock-eating drive of ten plays. SU got possession of the ball with just under five minutes left in the half and used almost four minutes of that time before Howard zipped into the end zone for another one-yard score. Szmyt’s kick made it a 21-10 game with under a minute left in the half.

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Syracuse kept the momentum on the opening drive of the third quarter, using ten plays to go 65 yards for another touchdown. This time, Chris Elmore rumbled into the end zone from five yards out for the score and Szmyt tackled on the conversion for a 28-10 lead.

Wake matched the touchdown, but the Orange struck back on their next possession. Dungey had his hand in all but a single yard of the 75-yard drive, including scrambling in from 26 yards out for a touchdown. Szmyt added the extra point for a 35-17 lead with under six minutes to go in the third quarter.

The Demon Deacons added a touchdown to their side of the ledger on their next drive to make it a two-possession game once more.

Szmyt pushed the SU lead out to 14 points when he connected on a 28-yard field goal from the left hash just over three minutes into the fourth, then tacked on another field goal, this one from 34 yards, to cap the next possession and make it 41-24 in favor of Syracuse with seven minutes to play. The latter kick closed the scoring as the Orange defense stopped Wake on their next three possessions by getting stops on a pair of fourth downs and an interception in the end zone from Christopher Fredrick.

Eric Dungey paced the Orange ground attack with 119 yards on 24 carries and also was an efficient 23-of-35 through the air for a modest 157 yards. The performance moved Dungey to second all-time in passing yards at Syracuse, passing Marvin Graves and Donovan McNabb.

Moe Neal (67 yards) and Dontae Strickland (64 yards) helped out the SU ground game while Eric Riley led the receiving corps with eight grabs for 64 yards.

Evan Foster and McKinley Williams each had a fumble recovery while Christopher Fredrick had an interception. Ryan Guthrie had a pair of sacks as part of his team-leading 11 tackles while Foster, Alton Robinson (three tackles for loss), and Kenneth Ruff were each credited with a sack, as well.

The Orange return to the Carrier Dome for their home finale on Friday when they welcome Louisville. The Cardinals (2-7, 0-6) are in a tailspin, having lost six straight games. The Cards’ defense has been abused in that time, giving up at least 56 points in three of their last four games, including 77 on Saturday at Clemson.

Kickoff is set for 7:00pm Eastern on Friday and ESPN2 will televise the game, which will also be available online at ESPN3.com.

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Jim Stechschulte
About Jim Stechschulte 511 Articles
A 1996 graduate of Syracuse University, Jim has reported on Syracuse sports for the Syracuse University Alumni Club of Southern California on nearly a decade, where he currently resides. He has also written a fantasy basketball column published by NBA.com. Follow him on Twitter @DSafetyGuy.