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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 26, Digital 5

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Page 39 of 92

GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED OLUME 26, ISSUE 5 40 BY STACY CLARDIE T im Lester, honestly, did not want Eric Dungey to see the field in 2015. And Lester definitely did not want sophomore walk-on Zach Mahoney to get any game snaps. It'd only mean bad things for Syracuse — what with a fifth-year senior primed to not only start but to lead the program to potentially big things. But on the seventh snap of the season, Lester watched as that senior, Terrel Hunt, crumpled to the field with a non-contact injury. Hunt had just torn an Achilles' ten- don, ending his season. So, as offensive coordinator and QB coach, Lester had no choice but to trot true freshman Dungey out onto the field, a guy who hadn't had a single game snap, a guy who hadn't faced a first-team defense, a guy who hadn't stared down a coverage in real-time yet. And yet … it'd have been hard to tell. In that first game, Dungey completed 10-of-17 passes for two touchdowns. He was efficient in Week 2 in a victory against Wake Forest, hitting 8-of-13 passes for 221 yards and two TDs without an interception. Week 3 started off well, too, a 62-yard completion at the end of the first quarter followed by his own rushing TD. But in that third game, Dungey was wrapped up at his ankles when he got drilled on a vicious helmet-to-hel- met hit, knocking him out of the game. And the next week. So Lester had no choice but to trot Mahoney out onto the field, a junior college transfer who wasn't on schol- arship and who not only hadn't gotten significant reps against a first-team defense but instead took reps in training camp holding kicks, a guy who started the sea- son as the fifth-string quarterback, a guy who hadn't started a game since playing JV in high school. And yet … it'd have been hard to tell. In that first game, Mahoney completed all four of his passes. In his first start the next week, against eighth- ranked LSU, he completed 16-of-38 for three touch- downs and only one INT. How'd Dungey and Mahoney do it? How'd they not crumble in the spotlight? How'd they feel comfortable in first-time, big-time college experiences at the most important position on the field? Lester points to a cutting edge program designed and distributed by EON Sports: Virtual reality software and goggles that train quarterbacks. Virtual reality changes the game for Purdue QBs Purdue's quarterbacks got a new training tool this spring: A virtual reality program that helps them get as many "reps" as they want without being on the football field.

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