Dino Babers finally ran out of chances at Syracuse, and Wake Forest’s Dave Clawson might not be far behind.
Six days after firing their coach, the Orange will host the Demon Deacons on Saturday in the regular-season finale for both teams.
Babers posted two winning seasons in eight years at Syracuse and just watched his team collapse following a 4-0 start in non-conference action. The Orange (5-6, 1-6 ACC) have lost six of seven games since then and are coming off a 31-22 defeat at Georgia Tech last Saturday.
That loss proved to be the final straw for Babers, who was relieved of his duties Sunday. Tight ends coach Nunzio Campanile was named interim coach and will try to get Syracuse into a bowl game, which it will be eligible for with a win against Wake Forest.
Nevertheless, the school felt it was time for a change.
“What the exit really boils down to is November. We’ve not had the success in November,” Syracuse athletic director John Wildhack said Monday.
The Demon Deacons (4-7, 1-6) are looking to end the season on a high note, having dropped seven of their last eight after a 3-0 start. They were trounced 45-7 by Notre Dame last Saturday and have scored 21 points or less in eight straight contests.
Still, Clawson — who is wrapping up his 10th season with the team — is holding his head high.
“I think our guys played hard, and I can’t fault their effort,” Clawson said. “We have one more week to play as a team. I’m really impressed with the way these guys have stuck together and they continue to practice hard and give effort.”
Michael Kern made his first career start in the loss to Notre Dame and went 11 of 20 for 81 yards without a touchdown or an interception.
Syracuse has quarterback questions of its own, as Garrett Shrader (upper-body injury) has been severely limited in recent weeks, forcing the Orange to adopt a creative wildcat offense in which running back LeQuint Allen and tight end Dan Villari have taken the bulk of the snaps.
The Demon Deacons have won the last three matchups against the Orange, including a 45-35 win in 2022.
–Field Level Media