Second-Half Surge Sends Syracuse Past Wake Forest

 

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (cuse.com) - The Syracuse football team outscored Wake Forest 17-0 in the second half on Saturday afternoon, opening Atlantic Coast Conference play with a 30-17 victory over the Demon Deacons at the Carrier Dome.

Led by two touchdown passes from freshman quarterback Eric Dungey, Syracuse (2-0, 1-0 ACC) dominated the second half. The Syracuse defense kept Wake Forest (1-1, 0-1 ACC) off the board after allowing 17 points in the first half.

Dungey finished the contest by completing 8-of-13 passes for 221 yards, including an 89-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Brisly Estime. It marked the third-longest pass-play in program history.

The Orange defense forced three interceptions while also tallying four sacks for a total loss of 30 yards. Sophomore linebacker Parris Bennett led Syracuse with eight total tackles.

Bennett made his presence known defensively on the opening Wake Forest drive by recording his first career interception, which set up the first points of the game. Sophomore kicker Cole Murphy booted a 35-yard field goal at the 4:17 mark of the first quarter to give the Orange a 3-0 lead.

Wake Forest bounced back offensively on its next drive, finding the end zone with a 40-yard touchdown reception by wide receiver KJ Brent from quarterback John Wolford. Wolford registered 373 total passing yards, completing 30-of-45 passes, but was a non-factor in the second half.

Murphy pulled the Orange within one point after knocking in a 39-yard field goal for his second of the day to make it 7-6. It marked the 16th field goal of his career, which ranks 11th in Syracuse football history.

Senior defensive end Donnie Simmons gave the Orange back its lead on the following Wake Forest drive, returning an interception 41 yards out for the score, putting Syracuse up 13-7 with 14:07 left until halftime. The pick-six from Simmons makes it the first time since 1966 that the Orange have returned an interception for a touchdown in consecutive games.

The Demon Deacons scored 10 unanswered points to close the first half with a 17-13 lead, which included a six-yard touchdown rush from Wolford.

The Orange opened up the scoring late in the third quarter as Dungey connected with junior wide receiver Brisly Estime for an 89-yard touchdown; the third longest pass play in Syracuse history. The touchdown gave Syracuse a 20-17 lead as the Orange would never look back.

Sophomore wide receiver Steve Ishmael helped put 'Cuse up 10 early in the fourth quarter by catching a pass along the sideline, taking it 53 yards for the score. The Orange capped off the scoring with a 20-yard field goal from Murphy with 1:47 left to go. Murphy's three field goals match a career high, which came against the Demon Deacons last season.

After dominating the Demon Deacons in the second half, Syracuse improved to 2-0 with the 30-17 victory over Wake Forest.