Syracuse Orange Upsets No. 17 Virginia Tech Hokies

Syracuse Orange Upsets No. 17 Virginia Tech Hokies

It had been a long thirteen years since the Virginia Tech Hokies and Syracuse Orange met inside the Carrier Dome. On Saturday, the 31-17 victory for Syracuse seemed to be the likely thing to happen based on the history of this match-up.

“We obviously didn’t play as well as we should have, and that’s obviously my responsibility,” said Tech coach Justin Fuente, who also added that he didn’t feel like his players were looking ahead to the Miami game.

Tech may not have been looking ahead to next Thursday, but it sure seemed like their focus was elsewhere. Both the Hokies and Hurricanes were defeated on Saturday.


Prior to the Hokies match-up against the Orange on Saturday, the Hokies were 2-6 all-time inside the Carrier Dome, with four of those six losses coming when Tech was ranked inside the Top 25.

Saturday was no different. Virginia Tech was outscored, outplayed, out-manned, and outclassed in every aspect of the game, especially on defense.

“I thought we were undisciplined,” Hokies defensive coordinator Bud Foster said. “I thought we jumped out of gaps. I think what happens is guys start feeling like they’ve got to make the play, and do more than they need to do instead of just doing their job.”

Tech came into the game giving up an average of just 237.6 yards per game, but were outgained 561-468 by Syracuse. That is the eighth most yards since the start of the 1987 season against a Hokies defense.


“The guys are keeping me alive, and vice versa. We knew it was a big game, because every game is a big game, but we still have a lot to play for,” Hokies quarterback Jerod Evans said.

“That’s my [Evans] first taste of ACC defeat — the first time I’ve ever been at this level. It’s my first time tasting it. It doesn’t feel good.”

Virginia Tech was a 20-point favorite over Syracuse, very similar to how they had been favorited against four of their first five opponents.

It is obvious that the Hokies took a step back in their 14-point loss to Syracuse, but to not give credit to Syracuse for playing a all-around solid and sound game would be absurd.


“You can’t explain it. It’s unbelievable,” Syracuse coach Dino Babers said. “Anytime you’re trying to rebuild a program, you need that one signature win. To get this game right now, at this time, at this moment — this is big.”

Last week Syracuse was throttled by Wake Forest in which the Orange allowed the Demon Deacons to sack Dungey and Mahoney a combined five times. They only allowed the Hokies to sack Dungey once – that’s a good adjustment.

Three Syracuse players completed passes in the first half: Dungey, Strickland and Estime. One of those plays went 85-yards on a trick play putting the Orange up 14-3. That score was increased when Cole Murphy’s 51-yard field gave the Orange a 17-3 halftime lead.

Evans was trying his best to get his team back into the game with a nice 10-yard pass to Bucky Hodges on a screen pass. That combined with a two-point conversion catch by Chris Cunningham. Dungey took over after that.

Dungey worked the Syracuse offense on a 17-play, 75-yard play that put the ball in the end zone on a one-yard run. It wasn’t quite over yet for Dungey or the Orange. The nail in the coffin would come when Dungey found Dontae Strickland who broke several Hokies tackle attempts for a 16-yard pitch and catch.

“A lot of people doubted us in this game, but once we had it on the field, you saw it on the sideline and you saw it in the crowd — it was electrifying,” Syracuse wide receiver Strickland said.

Syracuse was hyped after their big win.

“I’m really excited for the fanbase, the University and the community,” Babers said. “For them to be able to experience that celebration — that’s what college football is all about. That excitement, that energy, it’s so pure.”


The Orange will now shift their momentum, hitting the road to face a struggling Boston College team. The Hokies will have a short week as they go back to more familiar territory to face a very tough Miami Hurricanes squad.

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