Syracuse faces a tall order as they host Virginia Tech tomorrow, but the Orange have overcome steeper odds against the Hokies in years past. In particular, back in 2002, Syracuse pulled out the wildest victory I’ve ever seen in person, toppling the No. 8-ranked Hokies 50-42 in triple overtime.
That was my senior year at Syracuse, and it’s the second to last game I’ve actually seen in person. It was also the last in person victory I saw for the Orange, as life has taken me to different parts of the country since graduating from SU in 2003.
Virginia Tech came in heavily favored and boasting an 8-1 record, while Syracuse was sitting at 3-6. By any estimation it should have been a blowout, but instead turned into one of the most entertaining football games you’ll ever see – assuming you don’t mind terrible defense.
The teams combined for 1,163 yards and eight turnovers, with Virginia Tech quarterback Bryan Randall throwing for 504 yards and Troy Nunes adding 403. By the way – somehow, astonishingly, Nunes only had one touchdown pass in a game that saw 92 combined points get scored. That’ll never cease to amaze me.
The real story was the back and forth battle between each of the team’s top receivers. Ernest Wilford hauled in eight passes for 279 yards and, astoundingly, four touchdown receptions. Future Super Bowl hero David Tyree, on the other side, caught nine passes for 229 yards.
Walter Reyes – perhaps the most overlooked great running back in Syracuse history – rushed for 118 yards and three touchdowns, but it was another tailback who most Orange fans remember best. Damien Rhodes, the true freshman and local star, went 25 yards for a touchdown and then also converted on the team’s 2-point attempt in the third overtime to seal the deal.
So yeah, Syracuse faces some pretty steep odds tomorrow. But the Orange have overcome steeper. Check out the video proof right here.