RIDING THE WAVE: Syracuse thrashes Tulane in 2nd straight 50-plus point victory

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Terrel Hunt is a gamer. As Syracuse heads into its bye week that much is clear.He’s played the majority of the Orange’s past two games, including his first-career start, and done so brilliantly. Each game he’s completed at least 75 percent of his passes and tossed at least three touchdowns. He’s rejuvenated an offense that could best be described as sleepy through the first two games of the year.So how could this dynamic, dual-threat signal caller, one that’s done everything a coach could ask in less than two full games, not have beaten out Drew Allen for the starting quarterback job in the preseason?“I knew he was a gamer,” H-back Ashton Broyld said. “Some people just—you get tired of practicing, but as soon as the lights come on, then the intensity picks up. That was the thing in practices — his intensity wasn’t where it needed to be. But I knew that when the game came he was going to pick it up and perform.”On Saturday against Tulane (2-2), he followed up one of the best quarterbacking performances in SU (2-2) history with perhaps an even better one, energizing the 36,128 that showed up in the Carrier Dome on Saturday. He threw for nearly 100 fewer yards — just 175 on Saturday — but completed 16-of-21 passes and threw a career-best four touchdowns. He scrambled seven times for 39 yards, including his second-career rushing touchdown, to piece together another offensive clinic in Syracuse’s 52-17 win, the 700th victory in program history.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBy halftime, for the second straight week, Hunt had blown his opponent away. A remarkable first half saw him complete 14-of-17 passes for 168 yards and three touchdowns, rendering the final 30 minutes meaningless.He opened the game with three straight completions, spread around runs by Prince-Tyson Gulley and Jerome Smith. On the very first play, Hunt had a new challenge: pressure.Against Wagner, he never even saw a hand in his face. When he dropped back for his first pass against the Green Wave, he ended up on the ground. But he got his check-down off in time and Smith turned downfield for 20 yards. Less than three minutes later he got hit again and once again found Smith for a sizable gain and a touchdown.“The game plan was a lot easier and we’re just executing like that,” Hunt said, snapping his fingers.With Hunt behind center, Syracuse has found its rhythm. The Orange scored on its first three drives to extend his streak of scoring drives to 11 before SU was finally limited to a three-and-out.With Hunt, Syracuse has simplified its game plan. The quarterback said everything has been smooth since he’s taken over, from the practice field to game day, while the Orange has still been able to up the tempo.When the Orange retook possession, Hunt marched SU 75 yards in just seven plays and 2:10. He capped the drive with a perfect strike to Christopher Clark. A coverage breakdown left the wide receiver unguarded on a post route, but Hunt still fired the pass in with precision — something that wouldn’t have been guaranteed just weeks ago.His teammates joke that Hunt throws a “game day adrenaline ball.”“He throws the deep ball better than he does in practice,” head coach Scott Shafer explained. “There might be something to that.”On his final drive of the first half, Hunt faced his stiffest challenge yet. Syracuse led by 18 at that point and would have to go 85 yards in just 1:44 to pad that lead.Hunt started things off with a 10-yard pass to Ashton Broyld for his first catch of the day. The quarterback got both Broyld and Beckett Wales involved for the first time on that drive and spread the ball to eight different receivers on the day.Then a 4-yard run by Prince-Tyson Gulley turned into 19 after a late hit. Another late hit five plays later put Syracuse at the 21-yard line. He got help from Tulane, but Hunt was in range to cap a marquee drive.“Coach kept trying to slow us down in the last two minutes,” Hunt said, “but we kept saying, ‘We want to score, we want to score.’”He connected with Clark on the goal line and two plays later Smith plunged in to hand the Orange a 42-17 halftime lead. Hunt chased after Smith in the end zone to celebrate.Just a week ago, the quarterback spot was a battle. Now it’s hard to imagine that it could have been any other way.“He’s the same calm guy, he’s just not taking anything off the ball he’s throwing,” Broyld said. “He was throwing the ball, but he wasn’t really throwing it. Now he’s throwing it like you’re supposed to.” Comments Published on September 21, 2013 at 4:06 pm Contact David: [email protected] | @DBWilson2last_img


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