Syracuse football backup quarterback Austin Wilson struggles in relief of Eric Dungey in 54-0 loss to No. 3 Clemson

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ CLEMSON, S.C. — Austin Wilson lay in the back corner of the end zone as Clemson celebrated its seventh touchdown and final score of the day. He got up, grabbed receiver Sean Riley to talk for a few seconds, then watched the play unfold again on the jumbotron that towered over the end zone with his hands on hips.There was an inside screen. Wilson tried to throw the ball to Riley in a mass of players, but the pass hit off Riley’s forearm. Then it bounced up in the air off SU lineman Aaron Roberts’ leg. Two Clemson players tipped it before Tanner Muse picked it off and ran 64 yards.“I couldn’t —,” Wilson said of what happened on the play. “I really don’t know.”Wilson didn’t have much time to process what happened on that play or in the game. One play he was on the sideline — as he had been for the entirety of the season. The next, he was in shotgun as starting quarterback Eric Dungey was helped into the locker room near the end of the first quarter.Despite, not being on the two-deep depth chart, Wilson came in and threw 27 passes for 17 completions, 116 yards, two interceptions and no touchdowns. Zack Mahoney didn’t enter until the fourth quarter. With Wilson at the helm, SU (4-5, 2-3 Atlantic Coast) was shut out, losing 54-0 to No. 3 Clemson (9-0, 6-0).AdvertisementThis is placeholder textIt’s the first time a Dino Babers-led team has ever failed to score a point.Wilson had taken reps with the second team this week so he knew he’d be the second option if needed.“You lose your starting quarterback early in a game, it normally doesn’t work out well for you,” said Babers, who declined to evaluate Wilson’s play before watching film of the game. Babers added that the situation was right for Wilson over Mahoney.Wilson’s first chance to address the reality of the situation he was in was eight plays into his performance and the break between the first and second quarters.He consulted with co-offensive coordinator Sean Lewis on the sideline before gathering the offense around him in a huddle. Tight end Kendall Moore dapped him up. A staff member and other players reached out to tap Wilson on the helmet. Babers and Lewis stood at the outskirts of the group observing.“‘Let’s go,’” running back Moe Neal said, recalling Wilson’s address to the team. “‘We’ve got to keep at it. Keep our heads up and keep fighting.’”One pass thrown out of bounds on 3rd-and-22 later, Wilson’s first drive was done. After the first drive, Wilson walked up to every one of his teammates on the sideline to give a high five and say some words.“He did his best given the situation,” Amba Etta-Tawo said.On the next drive, Wilson tossed one pass way over Etta-Tawo’s head and spiked a ball on third down pass while under pressure into one of his linemen’s legs to earn intentional grounding. Mahoney started throwing passes on the sideline.Wilson came back out, but threw an interception into double coverage along the sideline, nullifying Sean Riley’s 68-yard kickoff return. He sat on the bench, listening to tips from Dungey, who was now in street clothes.“I was trying to stay in the game. He was just kind of giving little tips,” Wilson said. “… I haven’t been out there in a while. Just staying within myself. Just calming me down a little.”Clemson’s defensive line sent Wilson running and put him on his back several times, despite only recording two sacks. Wilson over compensated on one play, throwing the ball into the sideline with several steps of space. It was only not ruled intentional grounding because he wasn’t under pressure.Wilson’s best throw of the day, according to Etta-Tawo, came in the fourth quarter when Wilson ran away from pressure to the left and threw across his body for a 20-yard completion to Etta-Tawo along the sideline.But one play later, Wilson threw the pick-six, marking the end of his tumultuous day. Comments Published on November 5, 2016 at 9:38 pm Contact Jon: [email protected] | @jmettuslast_img read more

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