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Steve Infanti’s Keys to Victory: SU vs Wake Forest

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Syracuse takes on Wake Forest this Saturday at the Carrier Dome. 

NewsChannel 9’s Sports Director Steve Infanti breaks down what the Orange will need to take down the Demon Deacons. Both teams are 4-5 overall.

QB Concerns

I don’t think it’s overstating Eric Dungey’s importance to say that if he plays, Syracuse will be favored to win. 

If he doesn’t play, then advantage Wake Forest.  

Dino Babers indicated on Monday at his weekly press conference that Dungey would be “ready to go” against the Demon Deacons, but Thursday night’s injury report suggests otherwise.  SU’s junior quarterback is officially listed as “questionable” after appearing to injure his right foot early in the first quarter of the Florida State game last weekend. 

Even though he was clearly not 100% when he returned in the second quarter, Dungey reminded us all just how crucial it is for the Orange to have him out there.  

He rallied the team and got SU in position to attempt a potential game-trying field goal in the final seconds.

The health of #2 is without a doubt the #1 factor in determining the outcome of this game.

Protect & Serve

Either way, Dungey’s injury will put more pressure on the offensive line. 

If he does play, I believe it’s safe to say that he’s not going to be 100%.  

The O-line is going to have to do everything in its power to limit the number of hits Wake Forest gets on him.

It’s also quite possible that his ability to scramble will be compromised.  So, time in the pocket will be very important.

The same holds true if Dungey can’t play.  Zack Mahoney is the next quarterback listed on the depth chart.  Mahoney has made seven previous starts in place of Dungey at Syracuse.  His record in those games is 1-6.  
The lone win came against Boston College in the 2015 season finale.  That was a game in which Mahoney threw for a grand total of 86 yards. 

If Dungey can’t go, there’s a real fear that the ‘Cuse running game will be nonexistent.

As a result, the offense would then have to rely on its talented wide receivers to make plays.  Giving whoever is in there time to throw will be a must.

Watch Out For Wolford

Should Dungey not play, the other unit that will have step up even more than usual is Brain Ward’s defense.  
Wake Forest comes to town this week with the highest-rated quarterback in the ACC. 

John Wolford not only leads the conference in QBR, but he also is averaging a league-best 8.8 yards per pass attempt.

Wolford is getting ready to make his 45th career start for the Demon Deacons.  In each of the previous three seasons, Wolford threw more interceptions than touchdowns.  So far this season as a senior, the veteran QB has thrown 17 touchdowns and just three picks.  

That is quite an improvement.  Putting pressure on the opposing quarterback is always important.  

This Saturday, it could be even more so with SU’s offense potentially limited.  Getting Wolford to make quick decisions may force him to revert back to his old ways.

A couple of turnovers one way or the other could ultimately end up deciding this game.

Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. 

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