Tommy DeVito should be Syracuse’s starting quarterback vs. NC State

(Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) Tommy DeVito
(Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) Tommy DeVito /

The Syracuse football team has an important game this Saturday against NC State and their redshirt freshman should be the guy starting under center.

For the past few seasons, Eric Dungey has meant a lot to the Syracuse football program. The senior quarterback has basically been the Orange’s main source of offense since he first took the field for the school in 2015.

Despite some of the impressive numbers he has put up in a Syracuse uniform, his performances haven’t always translated to wins though. Due to a combination of injuries and disappointing play, Dungey has never won more than four games in a season with the Orange until this year.

Since he got the start, the senior quarterback got credited with Syracuse’s win over the North Carolina Tar Heels last week. But Dungey was definitely not the reason why the Orange were able to come out with a victory.

Despite jumping out to a 20-7 lead, Syracuse found themselves down 27-20 to a one-win North Carolina team in the fourth quarter of last week’s game. Unable to get anything going in the second half with Dungey under center, Orange head coach Dino Babers decided to replace the senior quarterback with redshirt freshman Tommy DeVito.

The decision proved to be a wise one.

DeVito came out firing, tying the matchup with a 42-yard touchdown pass to Nykeim Johnson and sending the game into overtime.

Two plays into the first overtime period, the young Syracuse quarterback tossed a 25-yard pass to senior receiver Jamal Custis for his second score of the day. North Carolina was able to tie up the game with their own touchdown and the contest continued into a second overtime period.

Down by three in the second overtime, DeVito found senior tight end Ravian Pierce in the back of the end zone for the game-winning touchdown.

There is no doubt about it. If not for their redshirt freshman quarterback being inserted into the game, the Orange would not have left the Carrier Dome with a win last Saturday.

In two overtime periods and five minutes of the fourth quarter, DeVito end up throwing for 181 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. His very first pass of the day was a 50-yard bomb to Custis.

Syracuse Orange
Syracuse Orange /

Syracuse Orange

For this week’s game against the No. 22 NC State Wolfpack, Babers has kept quiet about who will be Syracuse’s starting quarterback. Most likely, the decision won’t be revealed until right before kickoff on Saturday night.

At least for this week though, DeVito should be starting under center for the Orange. Not only did he earn a shot to start with his performance last Saturday, but his abilities will come in handy for the specific opponent Syracuse has this week.

NC State’s defense has been pretty impressive this season, especially against the run. In six games this year, the Wolfpack are allowing their opponents to average just 104.7 rushing yards per matchup.

Even during their blowout loss to Clemson last week, NC State’s defense still only gave up 91 rushing yards on 32 carries.

A strength of the Orange’s offense this season has been their ability to run the ball (214.6 yards per game). Especially Dungey, who has 477 yards on the ground this year and a team-leading eight rushing touchdowns.

No matter who Syracuse decides to start at quarterback on Saturday, the Wolfpack are likely going to focus on stopping the Orange’s rushing attack. Doing so will force Syracuse to try and make plays with the weaker part of their offense; their passing game.

If Dungey is the starter, he’s likely going to have difficulty relying on just his arm to put points on the board for the Orange (see last week vs. North Carolina).

But if DeVito is selected as Syracuse’s starting signal-caller for this week, the team can take advantage NC State stacking the box to stop the run by letting the redshirt freshman unleash his cannon of an arm.

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Now, starting DeVito for the remainder of the season may not be the best choice for the Orange. But for this specific matchup against the Wolfpack, the redshirt freshman is the passer that should give Syracuse the best chance to come out with a win.