It was a dream come true to be a Syracuse Orange fan during last Saturday's contest against Virginia Tech. The Orange, 0-12 against their last 12 ranked opponents, defeated the 16th-ranked Hokies for their first win against an AP top 25 team in years. Eric Dungy became the first QB in SU history to throw for over 300 yards and rush for over 100 yards, but statistics aside, this game was about pride for the football program, the school, and its many enthusiastic students and fans.
The Orange secured their win with a kneel to run out the clock in the fourth quarter, which then lead to a once in a lifetime event. I glanced over my shoulder to see the next four rows of seats compressed into one row directly behind me, ready to flood onto the field to celebrate. Student after student, fan after fan, the Dome's field eventually had football players outnumbered. Next thing you know, the entire crowd was chanting and jumping all around as if we had won a national title.
Football players chanted along with students, posed for selfies, and celebrated as if we were all a part of the team. The true moment that all Syracuse fans and players alike shared was when the marching band played the university's alma mater, in which normally all the players gather by the entrance to the locker room and sway together with arms around one another. This time was truly special, as the entire on-field crowd mixed with students, players, coaching staff, and fans emotionally sang along to the tune. Those who could not make it onto the field could only watch and sing along in spirit.
I was in the press box. I wish I was down there, you don't understand- Andrew Chelney, Broadcast and Digital Journalism Major, Syracuse Class of 2019
This was not the final part of Syracuse's triumphant day, however. Although I had left the Carrier Dome after taking many selfies with friends up and down the field, the locker room was just getting started. Dino Babers, Syracuse's first year head coach, delivered a speech that was so powerful and moving it went viral in less than an hour.
Syracuse fans now have something to be excited for beyond the normal draw of basketball. While the football program has not been as popular in recent years, Babers' impressive win proves that he is here to lead the Orange back to dominance on the field and develop a winning team alongside more legends like Ernie Davis, Jim Brown, and Donovan McNabb. I will always bleed Orange no matter how well the sports teams play, and my experience in the Dome that day has only solidified that fact further.
Lead Image Credit: Andrew Chelney, Syracuse Sophomore, Class of 2019