By: Kylan W. Watson
When Dino Babers first came to Syracuse in 2016, he talked about faith and believing in the program and what he was trying to build. It took three years, but Dino now has a 9-3 team and a very highly touted recruiting class coming in 2019. The Syracuse Orange have their best record since 2001 and are bowl eligible for the first time in five years. Babers has turned Syracuse into a football school.
Nobody outside of Syracuse thought they would have such a great season. They were projected to finish last in the ACC Atlantic division. Now the Orange have the second-best record in the ACC and are on the cusp of going to a bowl game.
They capped off this season by finishing undefeated at home and having five games where they scored 50-points or more. Dino Babers has really made his mark on this program.
He got the most out of Eric Dungey. A quarterback whose best skill maybe his running ability, but under Babers, Dungey looked like he could play on Sundays. His athleticism and arm propelled the Orange this year.
When his quarterback was not performing up to his standards, Babers was not afraid to put Dungey on the bench and bring in his prize possession and number one recruit Tommy DeVito. That move during the UNC game really set a tone. It showed his players that no one was safe in the Babers era.
Babers wants players who will execute and dominate on the field. That was evident against Clemson this year where turnovers and dumb penalties killed the Orange, but they led through out the whole game. If it wasn’t for mental errors and dumb decisions, they would have beat Clemson in back to back years.
After that loss some fans might of thought this, “Here we go again, Syracuse being Syracuse it’s basketball season.” Another loss to Pittsburgh didn’t help either, but this team really showed its grit in a two-overtime thriller against UNC. Then they went on and beat NC State the biggest win of the season.
Even though they failed to defend their home state against the Irish. This is not the same team that folded at the first sight of adversity. This team was built for those tough games, and a lot of that is owed to Dino Babers who made sure he found the right guys for his program.
Now Babers maybe having the last laugh as the Orange appear to be on the rise in the ACC and will be a force to be reckon with. Its all because of a man from Hawaii who had faith in what he was building.