Eric Dungey was always going to see action for the Syracuse Orange in their season opener. However, the plan was to see a glimpse of the true freshman after they got out to a big lead. Mop-up duty was the plan.
Then, in one play, Dungey went from promising (and surprising) backup quarterback to starter. The man on which the 2015 season may, in fact, rest. I said, ‘go have a blast, man.’ Winked at him and said ‘let’s go.’”
”I said, ‘this is what we brought you in here to do,’” head coach Scott Shafer told Dungey before entering the game. “
Yes his first collegiate game experience was against Rhode Island, an FCS squad that is not expected to be very competitive at that level. Still, there was much with which to be impressed.
”I thought Eric did a nice job,” Shafer said. “Eric Dungey did a nice job. We didn’t really anticipate or want to throw him to the wolves like this so quick. But God love him. He’s a great kid. He works extremely hard. He’s going to have a good future here.
”I liked his reads. He was on the right reads and he was on the right side of the field. With a lot his preparation going into the thing, I knew he’d be that way. He was just a little quick on a couple of them. Came off a couple reads. But I was pleased with him.”
Dungey finished 10-17 for 114 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 20 yards. Maybe most importantly, he did not turn the ball over.
The true freshman out of Oregon showed poise, mobility, a strong and accurate arm, and gave Orange fans hope that without Terrel Hunt, the 2015 campaign can still be a positive one.
”It was all the other guys,” Dungey said. “They were all picking me up and keeping me calm. I really wasn’t expecting to go in that early. T-Hunt, he’s like a mentor to me. Hearing the news about him, it’s hard. I know he’s going to still be there, helping me out. Helping me learn and get better every day. I’ve got a great coaching staff to help me out also.”
After the game, sophomore wide receiver Steve Ishmael told Jess Dougherty of the Daily Orange that Dungey came into the huddle screaming louder than Hunt and demanded control of the offense. A good sign going forward.
An added benefit will be Dungey receiving first team reps in practice all week. Becoming the clear-cut starter and leader of the offense. With players such as Ervin Philips, Steve Ishmael, Brisly Estime and the emerging Jordan Fredericks at his disposal, he has enough weapons to get it done.
From what he showed in week one, there is plenty to be excited about. Dungey never looked scared. The moment never looked too big. On top of that, he threw an accurate ball, had command of the offense, and showed good footwork on his drops and when escaping the pocket.
Dungey seemed poised to take the reigns next season. After Hunt exhausted his eligibility, Dungey would become the guy. That now starts a year early. A tough situation, but one he seems poised to be able to handle.