North Carolina State too much for Syracuse
After several tough losses, including an overtime heartbreaker against No. 3 Clemson, North Carolina State is now poised to go to a bowl after a 35-20 victory over Syracuse at the Carrier Dome.
After several tough losses, including an overtime heartbreaker against No. 3 Clemson, North Carolina State is now poised to go to a bowl.
All they need is one more win.
Matt Dayes ran for 108 yards and three touchdowns, and the NC State defense held Syracuse to 218 yards in a 35-20 victory on Saturday.
“The resiliency of our football team, losing four of our five games by a possession, they’ve been able to stick together. I’m really proud of them today,” Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren said. “This gets that carrot in front of their nose for the bowl opportunity. You want to feel the pleasure of your work and you can’t do that by almost winning. This gives them the satisfaction of the grind and they needed that today.
“I feel very confident about our bowl chances,” added defensive end Bradley Chubb. “We have two opportunities and need just one more win.”
Ryan Finley was 20-of29 for 340 yards and one touchdown for the Wolfpack (5-5, 2-4 ACC). Kelvin Harmon had 101 yards receiving and one touchdown and Bra’Lon Cherry had seven receptions. Dayes scored on runs of 7, 20, and 13 yards.
The Wolfpack defense held the Orange, 113th nationally in rushing, to just 28 yards on the ground and 190 yards passing.
Syracuse (4-6, 2-4) played without sophomore quarterback Eric Dungey, who was hit in the head/ shoulder area during the first quarter of a 54-0 loss to No. 3 Clemson last weekend. Dungey, third in the ACC and 16th nationally in passing yards, was replaced by junior Zack Mahoney. Dungey practiced during the week but was not cleared by the team’s medical staff.
“Obviously, we were at a disadvantage without Eric Dungey being able to participate,” said Syracuse coach Dino Babers. “Before the Clemson game, I think he was ranked in the top 10 quarterbacks in the country. Obviously, we missed him a great deal out there. There would’ve been a lot of things that we could’ve taken advantage of.”
The Orange was also without starting wide receiver Steven Ismael who dressed but not play. Ishmael has 41 receptions this season.
Mahoney, a walk-on who was awarded a scholarship before the 2016 season, led the Orange to a touchdown on their first drive. He was 5-of-6 passing, including a 12-yard completion to Erv Philips on fourth down. But the Orange offense bogged down the rest of the half, managing just a 48-yard field goal by Cole Murphy.
Mahoney finished 13-of24 for 190 yards, a touchdown and interception. Amba Etta-Tawo caught three passes for 84 yards and one touchdown.