Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey threw for 303 yards and a touchdown in his final college game, and Oklahoma transfer Abdul Adams scored two rushing touchdowns in his Orange debut as Syracuse defeated West Virginia 34-18 in the 2018 Camping World Bowl.
Last night was fun! Thanks to all those who joined us in Orlando and to those who watched at home helping us trend #1 nationally. Check out the highlights as we relive the glory of last night's game. pic.twitter.com/sBYVQPYS0S
— Camping World Bowl (@CWBowl) December 29, 2018
The game featured eight lead changes before the Orange outscored the Mountaineers 17-0 in the fourth quarter to pull away, with Dungey taking home game MVP honors.
“I’ve been through a lot,” an emotional Dungey said after the game. “To have Coach (Dino) Babers believe in me, it just means a lot, you know? … I’m going to get grief for crying, man, but been through a lot here. I’m just — all I can say is I’m very thankful.”
Following the victory, Babers praised Dungey and his senior class, which helped guide Syracuse to a 10-3 record this year, the team’s best finish since 2001.
“This senior class will be etched in stone,” Babers said. “When it comes to Eric Dungey, the tall tales are true. The stories are true, and we’re going to be telling them for a very long time. The guy is amazing. He has the heart of a lion, and he’s going to be a fabulous, fabulous player at the next level.”
West Virginia got on the board first Friday, as kicker Evan Staley connected from 42 yards out — the first of a bowl record four field goals by Staley on the night — to put the Mountaineers up 3-0. Less than four minutes later, Adams scored from four yards out to put the Orange on top.
Adams’ second touchdown run came with 8:30 left in the second quarter to put Syracuse up 14-9, and the Orange took the lead for good on Dungey’s 14-yard touchdown pass to Trishton Jackson on the opening snap of the fourth quarter. Like Adams, Jackson — a Michigan State transfer — was also making his first appearance for the program.
“They did a good job,” Babers said of Adams and Jackson, who will enter the 2019 season with two years of eligibility remaining due to the NCAA’s new redshirt rule, which allows players to participate in up to four games while still taking a redshirt. “They were going to play, and they did a nice job on their exams, so it looked like they knew what to do.
After @CuseFootball win over @WVUfootball in the @CWBowl, quarterback Eric Dungey became emotional at the podium after reflecting on his SU career. #OrangeInOrlando #OrangeEmpire pic.twitter.com/TdSwC40mH4
— Spectrum News CNY (@SPECNewsCNY) December 29, 2018
“It’s different coming from the schools they came from playing at the tempo that we play at,” Babers continued. “If they get out there and they can’t process it fast enough, they can’t go. It’s as simple as that.”
West Virginia was led offensively by Kennedy McKoy, who had 17 carries for 73 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Jack Allison, a Florida native, completed 17 of 35 passes for 277 yards in his first career start, and star wide receiver David Sills V also added four catches for 90 yards on the evening.
“I think they were kind of game planning against our pass game and stuff like that, so they did a good job,” Sills said of the Syracuse defense. “I think we as players could have helped Jack out a little bit more when the ball’s in the air and protecting out front, but that’s on us. We gave everything we had and it was a little bit short.”
With the loss, West Virginia dropped to 8-4 on the season.
“It’s always nice to be able to end the year with a win, but we know we had a good year,” West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen said. “People could be disappointed all they want to, (but) we know we had a good year. We battled hard all year long and we came up a little bit short. Welcome to big time football.”