Dungey Poses Problems For WVU Defense
When Dana Holgorsen first met with his West Virginia football team to prepare for Friday’s Camping Bowl match up with Syracuse in Orlando, Fla., the message he carried to his defense was one they probably did not want to hear.
Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey is a stud.
And he’s the kind of stud WVU has trouble with.
Ask defensive coordinator Tony Gibson whom he reminds him of and this is what he offers.
“Ehlinger more than anyone.”
That would be Sam Ehlinger, the Texas quarterback, who sliced WVU apart this year with 25 completions in 36 attempts for 354 yards and three touchdowns without an interception while also running for 52 yards on 11 carries with a touchdown.
And, there is talk, too, that another comparison would be to Virginia Tech quarterback Josh Jackson, who led the Hokies to victory in 2017’s opening game by running 11 times or 101 yards and a touchdown while completing 15 of 26 passes or 235 yards and a touchdown without an interception.
Both of them are big, strong quarterbacks who can run and throw.
This is what Gibson says about Dungey.
“He’s big. He’s 6-foot-4, 230 (pounds). He can run, he can throw.”
That sounds awfully familiar.
“He does a really nice job of running the game, and they’re probably going to be the fastest tempo that we’ve faced all year long,” Gibson added, about to offer some more good news.
“They’re very similar to Oklahoma State, I would think.”
Thanks a lot. Oklahoma State had 604 total yards and scored 45 points against the Mountaineers.
Now just how good is Dungey?
Good enough to be compared with the all-time greats at Syracuse, beginning with the legendary Donovan McNabb, who did his own number of WVU over the years with arm and his legs.
McNabb beat WVU in three of the four years he faced them, completing complete 52 of 95 passes — without an interception — for 780 yards and 10 touchdowns, while also scoring twice in the running game.
So let’s look at Dungey’s place in Syracuse history and how he can improve his standing significantly with a good performance against the Mountaineers.
If he can gain 29 rushing yards he will be only the second Syracuse quarterback with 2,000 yards on the ground, joining Bill Hurley. He needs to be responsible for four touchdowns to tie McNabb’s career record of 96 TDs.
As he enters the game he owns 18 Syracuse records and others are in reach, needing 26 completions to tie Ron Nassib’s school record of 871 and needing 153 yards passing to tie Nassib’s record of 9,190 yards.
He is the definition of a dual threat quarterback, the first QB to lead Syracuse in rushing last year since Don McPherson did so in 1986. He owns six 100-yard rushing games and one 200-yard game.
It may not be Pat White but it is a real challenge.
“It’s going to create some issues,” Gibson admits. “We have to do a great job of trying to win first down, get them behind the sticks and slow them down a little bit. If they do what they want to do and stay ahead of the sticks, it’s going to be tough.”
That means controlling Dungey.
The players know that won’t be easy.
“The quarterback is good,” WVU All-American linebacker David Long said. “What is he, like 6-2, 240? He’s a nice size quarterback and he’s got some good wideouts and running backs. From what I’ve seen on film, they’re a solid team.
“[Dungey] does a little bit of everything. He’s really balanced. He throws a nice ball and he’s hard to bring down from what I’ve seen on tape. I feel like he controls their offense pretty well.”
“He’s a really good quarterback,” added defensive lineman Reese Donahue. “He’s not like most quarterbacks. He’s not going to slide, he’s going to run. He’s a hard runner. Even though he’s more of a passer, when he does tuck it, he’s not afraid. When he runs, he’s going to run.”
If WVU can figure a way to control him, they have a chance to get what is becoming rarer and rarer… a bowl victory.