By: Kylan Watson, Syracuse, N.Y.
There were five-minutes and seven-seconds left in the fourth quarter and the Syracuse Football team was in a dire situation. They were down by a touchdown to a more than ready UNC football team. The offense was stalling, and it needed a spark. So, Syracuse Football coach Dino Babers made a hard decision, and benched his star quarterback Eric Dungey, for Redshirt Freshman Tommy DeVito. Babers made the right call as DeVito led the team to a game tying touchdown drive, and the offense was alive again. It took two overtimes, but DeVito hit Tight End Ravian Pierce on a crossing route to seal the game. The Orange won 40-37.
DeVito was the spark the Orange needed. Especially after the Orange choked away a six-point lead at half-time.
Things were looking good for the Orange early in the second-half Dungey scored on a 16-yard touchdown run and put The Orange up by 14 points. However, that lead did not feel safe especially with the way the Syracuse defense was playing.
UNC was able to claw their way back because of defensive lapses, turnovers, and a big punt return. The Syracuse defense once again had a poor showing coming off a bye week. Not only did they give-up 37-points to a 1-4 team.
They also could not stop the run. Carolina Receiver Dazz Newsome specifically had a big day against the Syracuse defense he was able to get a rushing touchdown and got a big 75-yard punt return which switched the momentum of the game and put UNC in the lead by seven-points late in the third quarter.
A lead which they held on to until late in the fourth quarter. The team needed a spark and Dino Babers went to his Freshman quarterback who hasn’t played in a while.
According to WAER, Babers said, “I just felt like it might be a spark. We needed to do something different.”
DeVito would make his coach look like a genius as it seemed the playbook was opened for him. He was able to hit receivers on some deep throws. One throw he connected on which tied the game was a 42-yard deep ball to sophomore wide receiver Nykiem Johnson.
DeVito completed 11 of 19 passes for 181 yards and had three touchdown passes.
DeVito did look like an inexperience quarterback at times as he was picked off by a Carolina linebacker late in the game. However, his defense bailed him out.
Babers hit the right buttons by putting in DeVito. His young quarterback ended a two-game losing streak and put the Orange in position to become bowl eligible if they can beat NC State next Saturday.
With the way DeVito played there might be a quarterback controversy brewing in Syracuse as Babers will want to make sure he has a good quarterback in the game with “The Wolfpack coming to the Carrier Dome on October 27th.