The day was bright, blue and full potential this mid-September Saturday in Syracuse, N.Y.
The hometown Syracuse Orange football squad was 2-0 as fans climbed the hill to the Carrier Dome to ready for the contest against Atlantic Coast Conference rival Florida State. The fact that the Orange has not fared well against the Seminoles since joining the ACC earlier this decade? That Florida State is one of the sport’s powers of the more recent past and Syracuse of a more distant time? Well, this season, the team from the south has a new coach and a loss, and the northern team is in the third year and so far unblemished under Dino Babers.
We shall be gracious to our visitors leading up to game time. After encountering this photo opportunity, I asked, took the smart phone, and captured their picture all together so they can remember that lovely morning outside the Carrier Dome.
Inside it was hot, the digital thermometer on the high wall reading 80 F for the outside but my dear wife Karen and I deciding it felt 90-plus.
I was again disappointed at the size of the crowd there for the noon kickoff. Bigger than the home opener, yes, but smaller than deserving for the allure of Florida State, I thought. The box score next day would tell me 37,457. Hmmm. Still some 10,000 to go to fill the joint.
The home team’s defense looked good right in front of our section, holding the Seminoles in check the entire first half.
The offense scored an early field goal, and then came the moment all Syracuse fans dreaded. A helmet-to-helmet hit in the second quarter on super senior QB Eric Dungey drew a penalty on the Florida State defender. Dungey did not return to the field.
In came redshirt freshman Tommy DeVito.
He looked calm, running in for his first collegiate TD in the third quarter, which I caught in video mode on my iPhone 8.
DeVito passed well, too.
Of course, with Dungey’s injury history of concussions and more, Orange fans are left to fret until more news comes down from the SU hill. All three of Dungey’s previous three years have been cut short by injury. All wish a different outcome this time. At his news conference, Babers said Dungey had blurred vision from a play even before that hit.
Still, the 30-7 victory over Florida State went over quite well, indeed.