After Syracuse took a lead late in the third quarter, they seemed to have all the momentum with a defensive stop. The offense had a chance to extend the lead and take complete control of the game, something they would do early in the fourth quarter when Eric Dungey hit Steve Ishmael on a 53-yard scoring strike.
Both Syracuse and Wake Forest line up in basic formations. Syracuse has three wide receivers, one running back and Dungey in the pistol. Wake is playing Tampa-two coverage with the corners playing short zone and the safeties having deep coverage over the top. This leaves them vulnerable along the sideline in the intermediate range.
As the play starts, Dungey is reading the safeties in order to identify the coverage. The Wake corner tries to jam Ishmael to throw off his timing, but he is able to power through it, a testament to his offseason strength work.
Once Dungey identifies the coverage, he makes the throw anticipating the corner letting Ishmael go, believing he has safety help. A precisely timed throw allows the ball to get there before the safety. An alternate angle can be seen below.
The ball is dropped in a tight window perfectly by Dungey, over the corner and prior to the safety’s arrival.
The Wake Forest safety is sprinting towards the sideline, trying to get there in time to break up the pass. When he is late, it allows Ishmael to run past him and into the open field as he walks into the end zone. Had the Wake Forest safety taken a better angle and worried about making the tackle rather than playing the ball, it would have simply been a first down for Syracuse rather than a touchdown that all but sealed the victory for the Orange.
If Dungey does not read the coverage correctly, he likely misses the chance to hit Ishmael for a big gain. An inaccurate or poorly timed pass also could result in an incompletion or worse. Everything came together perfectly and Syracuse took full advantage.