first_img Published on September 4, 2015 at 10:09 pm Contact Sam: sblum@syr.edu | @SamBlum3 Facebook Twitter Google+ Steve Ishmael could sense the nerves Eric Dungey battled as he entered his first huddle. He could see it in his eyes. And he could hear it the first time he opened his mouth.Dungey, a true freshman not even eight minutes into his first collegiate game, wasn’t supposed to be the Syracuse quarterback. It was supposed to be Terrel Hunt, the incumbent senior who just moments before had spent minutes writhing in agony near the 40-yard line as three trainers circled him.But nothing on Saturday — aside from a Syracuse win — was as it was supposed to be. And Dungey, who had only a few tosses to get ready, entered the game yelling louder in the huddle than the man he replaced ever did.“I was just trying to be heard, have some confidence,” Dungey said. “A lot of the guys were looking at a true freshman … I felt I was prepared. I felt confident going in there.”Dungey became the centerpiece of a game that wasn’t his to headline. But his 10-of-17, 114-yard, two-touchdown performance eased the stress of Syracuse (1-0) losing it’s No. 1 option at quarterback and helped propel it to a 47-0 home win over Rhode Island (0-1) to open the season.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textHunt was on track to start his much anticipated return, but his first game since Oct. 5 might also have been his last. Head coach Scott Shafer said after the game Hunt’s Achilles’ injury was “not good.”His replacement was far from perfect. He missed a cadence on the first play. He lost track of the clock twice, and twice missed open receivers. But he showed poise in his first chance, and offensive coordinator Tim Lester said Dungey will be the starter moving forward if Hunt doesn’t return.“We really didn’t anticipate or want to throw him to the wolves like this so quick,” Shafer said. ”But God love him … I liked his reads, he was on the right side of the field with a lot of his preparation.” Lester gave Dungey a play sheet earlier in the week and asked him to highlight the plays he felt comfortable with. When he got the sheet back, highlighted in orange marker, Lester said he was surprised by the number of plays that Dungey professed his ability to execute.On Dungey’s first full drive of the game, and on just the fifth snap of his career, he found Ervin Philips on a screen pass that ended with the sophomore hybrid scoring a 32-yard touchdown. Midway through the second quarter, he connected with Philips again on the goal line for a 9-yard touchdown that put SU up 24-0.He had a few miscues — a pass just off the mark to a leaping Alvin Cornelius and another overthrow to Philips in the waning minutes of the first half — but largely provided a serviceable effort.“Eric has got the skill set that can do every part of our offense,” Shafer said. “I’m looking forward to seeing him do it.”Hunt had talked all offseason about reinventing himself as a quarterback. He wanted to become more of a pocket passer. He lost weight to do so. He learned a new offense geared around that transformation. But instead his night, and possibly his season, ended with him walking on crutches out the same tunnel he had stormed through just minutes before.Before the reality of Hunt’s injury began to seep in, Dungey was just feet away on the sideline, zipping passes to Zack Mahoney, getting his arm loose. Shafer walked up to him, told Dungey he believed in him, then walked away clapping his hands. Ishmael approached him next, bumped him on the chest, then let him continue to get ready.It wasn’t the way it was supposed to be, but it was the reality. Dungey had to adjust to on the fly. And when he departed midway through the third quarter, he did so by instilling a sense of optimism in a game in which the final score was largely an afterthought.“I don’t know where it can go with Eric,” Lester said of his offense. “It depends how well he does and how well we can run the ball and keep him in manageable situations … It will be interesting to see what his ceiling is.“I thought the ceiling was pretty high with Terrel. We never got to see it on Saturday. We got to see it all camp, we just never got to see it on Saturday.” Commentslast_img read more