Syracuse coach Scott Shafer says injured freshman quarterback Eric Dungey is not likely to play Saturday against No. 8 LSU.
Shafer said Tuesday that Dungey is listed as probable but will take few snaps, if any, in practice this week. And with an off week after LSU, it’s likely that Dungey won’t play even though he’s listed as the starter on this week’s depth chart.
“He’s doing well. We’ll just take it each day at a time,” Shafer said.
Quarterback Zack Mahoney, a walk-on, is “the guy” for Syracuse this week, offensive coordinator Tim Lester told Syracuse.com on Tuesday.
Lester said Mahoney took most of the first-team reps Tuesday, according to the website.
Missing Dungey would be a big setback for the unbeaten Orange, who are 3-0 for the first time since 1991. Pressed into action when senior starter and captain Terrel Hunt suffered an Achilles tendon injury in the first quarter of the season opener against Rhode Island, Dungey had performed well above expectations until he suffered an apparent head injury in a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit Saturday in the Orange’s 30-27 overtime win over Central Michigan.
Midway through the second quarter, the 6-foot-3, 202-pound Dungey was speared by Chippewas linebacker Mitch Stanitzek, who was ejected for targeting. Dungey walked off the Carrier Dome field but did not return.
“He’ll be back when the doctors tell me he can be back,” Shafer said. “We can’t wait.”
Dungey has been a revelation in his brief tenure calling the shots for the Orange. He has a 204.03 pass efficiency rating, which would lead the nation if he had enough pass attempts. Dungey, who is shy of qualifying by nine attempts, has completed 21 of 36 passes for 428 yards and five touchdowns with zero interceptions and no lost fumbles. He also has rushed for 106 yards and one score on 24 carries.
Three quarterbacks combined for 161 passing yards and two touchdowns for the Orange against Central Michigan, with Dungey leading the way with 93. Backup Austin Wilson was 4-of-7 for 49 yards with one touchdown and one interception, while Mahoney finished 4-of-4 for 19 yards.
Mahoney, the team’s fifth-string quarterback, made a key play in overtime against Central Michigan when he connected on a 13-yard pass to tight end Kendall Moore on a third-and-5 play from the 20-yard line.
Shafer again will lean on Wilson, Mahoney, and maybe even AJ Long, who’s recovering from a broken bone in his right (throwing) hand suffered during the summer. Long made his college debut last fall against top-ranked Florida State and became the first freshman to throw two touchdown passes in a game in Syracuse history, so he has big-game experience if he’s able to play.
“We’ll play any and all of them,” Shafer said. “Some of these young men will be getting more reps (in practice) than they’ve ever had in their life, especially Zack. It’ll be interesting to see how they manage the whole offense.
“Will we use all of them if we need to? We’ll use one if that works,” Shafer said.
Shafer also said that wideout Steve Ishmael, center Rob Trudo, and tight end Josh Parris are healthy and will play.
Ishmael, the Orange’s top wideout with five catches for 144 yards and one touchdown, did not play in the second half against Central Michigan after suffering a neck injury. Trudo and Parris missed the game after suffering lower-body injuries in the Orange’s 30-17 win over Wake Forest the previous week.