Syracuse punter Riley Dixon has more touchdown passes than the rest of the Syracuse roster. That includes starting quarterback Terrel Hunt and backup Austin Wilson who was forced into action after Hunt was ejected for throwing a punch in the second quarter.
As if it wasn't enough that the Orange needed double overtime to defeat FCS Villanova in their season opener Friday night, the way in which they pulled out the victory was just as strange as the game itself.
Syracuse started with the ball at the beginning of the second overtime. They quickly moved inside the Wildcats' five yard line, but were once again stifled at the face of the goal-line. When Adonis Ameen-Moore failed to punch it in on third and goal, head coach Scott Shafer had a tough decision.
Go for it on fourth and goal from just outside the goal-line? Or kick a field goal and give Villanova a chance to win it with a touchdown?
Shafer chose neither.
"Coach Shafer came up to me and asked, and said the purple call as we call it," Dixon said. "He asked if it was there. For me, I'm an athlete and I'm a competitor. I'm a punter so you may not think so. I was excited to go out there and try to help the team win."
The 'purple' call was a fake field goal. From inside the one. With a punter making the decision who had not thrown a pass since his junior year of high school.
Dixon executed the play. He took the snap, ran quickly to his left, pump faked and floated a pass towards Kendall Moore who made the catch beyond the goal-line for what would prove to be the game winning score.
So while Syracuse can consider itself quite lucky for escaping their matchup with Villanova on the positive side of the win-loss column, they inexplicably have a touchdown pass from their punter to thank.
"It was pure joy," Dixon said of the feeling after Moore came down with his toss. Joy, with a little bit of luck, and a whole bunch of relieved Orange football fans.