Orange Watch: Part II — Greatest Syracuse victories against its new ACC opponents

Syracuse won a rare game in the Greg Robinson era over Notre Dame

Item: There’s plenty of victorious history in the “sports TV era” for the Orangemen and Orange against the ACC.

With the 2013 ACC Football Kickoff coming up crazily soon this weekend at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro, N.C. as the summer flies by, the Aug. 31 opener versus Penn State at MetLife Stadium will be here before you know it.

We first want to enjoy all of summer’s finest offerings before the sixth earliest (tied) football start in school history, so on that note some hazy, lazy day Orange reading about great football/basketball games of the past against the fresh ACC rivals for 2013-14 (in alphabetical order from North Carolina to Wake Forest. For Part I from Boston College to Miami, click here):

Syracuse won a rare game in the Greg Robinson era, beating Notre Dame

North Carolina-The obstacle to Jim Boeheim’s first Final Four was a No. 1 seeded North Carolina team that was so loaded seven players would go on to play in the NBA.  Yet, the Orange would have some future NBA players of their own, one being junior center, and future renowned global club DJ Rony Seikaly, who dominated at both ends of the East Regional final at the N.J. Meadowlands, finishing with 26 points and 11 rebounds in the 79-75 victory over Carolina to deliver the Orangemen to New Orleans.  Runner-up: The non-televised 49-47 triple OT football victory in Chapel Hill in 2003.

» Related: Syracuse legend Don McPherson likes SU’s move to ACC

North Carolina State-SU is winless all-time (0-6) in football against the Wolfpack, including a disheartening 32-31 loss in it’s first-ever OT game in 1997 in the Dome, so on the hardwood we’ll look to the Dec. 2011 win in Raleigh.  Highlighted by a 23-0 late first-half run in which the No.1ranked Orange looked the part, and displayed to the national pundits an ability to schedule, and win, a true early-season road game, 88-72 keyed by Dion Waiters’s 22 points.

Notre Dame-We were tempted to say the 1961 football game at South Bend, but we forgot, with SU leading 15-14 with seconds to play an officials mistake on a roughing the kicker penalty (on the late Walt Sweeney) interpretation allowed the Irish a second-chance field goal with no time on the clock and a 17-15 victory they refused to forfeit to SU, and a result that could not be overturned.  So, instead we’ll go with the only highlight of the Greg Robinson era, a highly improbable 24-23 road win led by backup quarterback Cameron Dantley, over an Irish team that had never previously lost to a team entering a game with eight defeats.  SU would finish 3-9 in Robinson’s final season.

Pittsburgh-It isn’t often that a crowd storms the court three times during a basketball game, but that’s exactly what happened in the Dome when the Orangemen ended-up knocking off No. 2 Pitt 67-65 during the 2003 championship season. At the end of regulation SU up two, it appeared the Panthers lost the ball out of bounds as the clock struck zero, and the crowd rushed the floor.  But the officials put 0.8 on the clock, cleared fans off, and Pitt inbounded.  A desperation 40 foot shot hit nothing but net as the horn sounded, the crowd rushed the floor sensing the shot came too late.  After clearing the court to review the video, with the help of Jim Boeheim on the PA microphone, the referees waved off the shot and with the game official, the crowd rushed the floor for a third time.

Virginia-Not a lot stands out in football/basketball games against the Cavaliers, an impressive 37-0 win in Charlottesville in 1975 helped a decent Frank Maloney team finish 6-5, but we’ll cite a 70-68 road win over UVA in 2007, only the Cavs second loss in 22 games played at the then-two year old John Paul Jones Arena.  One year Orange forward Donte Greene had 12 of his 20 points in the final 9:00 of the game to lead the ‘Cuse.

» Related: Read Part I of SU’s best games against the new ACC

Virginia Tech-No doubt the 2001 football win in Blacksburg was the sweetest during the last great season under Paul Pasqualoni.  After all, two seasons before on the same field Tech sent SU home with the largest margin of victory by a ranked team over an opponent in the then-63 year history of the Associated Press poll, 62-0.  In gaining their first win at Lane Stadium in 14 years, Jamel Riddle set the tone with a first quarter punt return for a TD and James Mungro rushed for 102 yards in the 22-14 final over No.4 VT.

Wake Forest-This is the ACC program the Orange have played the least, but do sport a basketball win in the 2001 Preseason NIT at Madison Square Garden, and a terrific comeback in a 36-29 overtime football victory in the 2011 season opener in the Dome.  Trailing by 15 points with 11:00 left to play, the Orange rallied behind Antwon Bailey who gained 144 yards and scored twice, and Ryan Nassib who threw for three scores including the eventual game-winner to Van Chew on the first series of OT, before the defense stopped the Demon Deacons on four downs to ice the first win over a FBS team in nearly two seasons.

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About Brad Bierman 848 Articles
Now in his sixth decade of covering SU sports, Brad was sports director of WSYR radio for eight years into the early 1990s, then wrote the Orange Watch column for The Big Orange/The Juice print publication for 18 years. A Syracuse University graduate, Brad currently runs his own media consulting business in the Philadelphia suburbs. Follow him on Twitter @BradBierman.