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Babers, Dungey and Syracuse Shake Things Up

By BJ Bennett
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It was Dino Babers, Eric Dungey and Syracuse with a performance to remember and an upset that reshuffles the deck.

Most assumed Friday night in the Carrier Dome would be yet another showcase for the defending national champions, one more stage for Clemson, winners of eleven in a row entering week seven, to stand out. As it does quite often in college football, however, the story changed. It was, instead, Dino Babers, Eric Dungey and Syracuse with a performance to remember and an upset that reshuffles the deck. 

Already a star in the coaching ranks, Babers, an offensive mastermind and former head coach at Eastern Illinois and Bowling Green, now has a signature victory. His attack is the first in 12 games to compile 440 total yards against the Tigers, reaching a milestone that Alabama, Auburn, Louisville, Ohio State and Virginia Tech, twice, could not. Syracuse amassed 28 first downs and held the football for nearly 35 minutes. The end result was the program's first win ever over a team ranked second in the AP poll.

Quarterback Eric Dungey was the catalyst. He became just the third quarterback of the Dabo Swinney era to throw for 270 yards against Clemson while completing at least 60% of his passes with no interceptions; the other two, Jake Coker and Jameis Winston, won national championships and a Heisman Trophy. Dungey was smooth throughout, setting the tone with early scores to Dontae Strickland and Ervin Phillips and, later, adding a critical touchdown to Steve Ishmael.

This triumph changes everything for Syracuse, suddenly contenders in the vaunted ACC Atlantic. Already with college football's best win, the Orange currently have something even more valuable: opportunity.  At 2-1 in conference play, Syracuse will have a chance to continue turning heads. The next two games for the Orange are at undefeated Miami and at Florida State. Syracuse has the nation's attention.  

Babers and Dungey are one of the most dynamic duos in the game, a head coach-quarterback combo that perfectly pairs scheme and skill. The numbers have already been in place, now a spot in history is also reserved.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: / Twitter: @BJBennettSports