SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- When you're the grandson of a legendary Syracuse head coach, you tend to know a thing or two about rivalries. Senior Tight End Cameron MacPherson, grandson of Coach Dick MacPherson, may seem too young to remember the Syracuse glory days of recent decades. Sometimes even older fans can have a hard time remembering whether or not such a time existed. So does a young MacPherson remember the significance of the Orange rivalry with Virginia Tech?
"Oh absolutely," exclaims MacPherson. "I was on the sidelines as a ball boy in that famed double or triple overtime game that they had. That's one of my fondest memories in the Dome."
The year was 2002. Virginia Tech had entered the Carrier Dome as the 8th ranked team in college football. What many expected to be a decisive victory for the Hokies was anything but. The affair went to extra periods - three of them to be exact. It was a 25-yard scamper by Orange running back Damien Rhodes and a two-point conversion that ultimately put Syracuse in the win column that day, 50-42.
That year the big combination was Troy Nunes and David Tyree. This year, there's another notable one. Eric Dungey and Amba Etta-Tawo. Through six games, the pair have connected for 876 yards and 6 touchdowns. That's 146 yards and a touchdown per game. Those numbers happen to be good enough to make Etta-Tawo the nation's leading receiver through six games.
"Offensively we've had a lot of success in the Dome, particulary in our passing game," says MacPherson. "It'll be exciting to get all of the playmakers that we've been accustomed to seeing this season...get them really involved."
Weathering the Storm
On the whole, offensive involvement hasn't seemed to be too much of an issue for the Orange passing attack. However, in the shadow of a devilish hurricane, in the heart of Demon Deacon country, the passing game faltered on Saturday. Dungey and Etta-Tawo were only able to connect on four occasions, for a total of 36 yards. Dungey threw for 156 yards, far below his average of 336 yards-per-contest.
"It's tough to throw in the rain," Dungey says. "But they're throwing in the rain as well, so you can't really make excuses for it."
"Ultimately, whatever happens, if the roof of the Dome opens up and it starts raining, we're still going to go out there and try to win," adds MacPherson. "Try to move the ball and score some points."
Was there anything in particular that Dungey, MacPherson, and the rest of the gang plans to work on coming out of Winston-Salem, and heading into a rivalry-renewing contest with Virginia Tech?
"Score points," Dungey says with a smile.