Fizz 5: Syracuse vs. Penn State Game Sheet, What to Keep an Eye Out For

Will Jerome Smith be the top dawg in the backfield for the Orange this season?

Tomorrow Syracuse will open its season at the Meadowlands against Penn State, and it also marks a new chapter for SU as a program. The first season in the ACC is also the end of the Ryan Nassib era. The coaching staff says a starting quarterback will not be named publicly prior to the game. When the Syracuse offense takes the field,we will finally know the answer to the long awaited question.

Here are five things to keep an eye out for.

1) Who is the starting quarterback? Allen or Hunt? Regardless of who it is, how will he play? Will Hunt be calm and relaxed in his first career start? Will Allen be able to be a leader of this team after being a newcomer to the program? The stage is big. Rather than playing in the Dome, it’s a national TV stage with bright lights in New York City. It’s opening day. There is a lot of pressure coming from fans and coaches expecting their team to make a strong first impression. Hunt is young and Allen is inexperienced as a starter. How will either guy cope with these possible issues?

2) If Hunt is the quarterback, how will he use Jarrod West? In the spring game, West caught six passes for 82 yards and two touchdowns. Clearly, these two worked well together. West is one of the only targets with any experience. Look for JW to be very active right away, regardless of who the quarterback is. West and Adrian Flemming are listed as the two probable starters, with Christopher Clark and Jeremiah Kobena as the key reserves. But West right now appears to be the #1 option through the air on the outside.

3) PTG or Smith? Prince Tyson-Gulley and Jerome Smith will be the two major ball carriers in the backfield. Both are certainly capable of being the lead guy. Smith was third in the Big East last season with 90.1 yards per game and had five 100-yard performances. For PTG, he led the Orange with 11 touchdowns. Both should see plenty of carries in an offense that will be breaking in a new QB and have lots of green wideouts. Look for both guys to get equal touches on Saturday, but the one who ends up being most productive against Penn State may get a leg up in being the top option.

4) Shafer’s debutThis is Shafer’s first game as head coach of any program. He’s a defensive coach trying to figure out a QB decision, and breaking in a first-time offensive coordinator too. How will Shafer deal with this? Penn State is a tough opponent on a big stage for him to begin his head coaching career. How Syracuse handles this challenge may tell us a little about how effective Shafer will be in his new position.

5) Will Syracuse pick up where it left off? The Pinstripe Bowl was a tremendous performance, but even the most optimistic Orange fan doesn’t think it’ll be that east vs. PSU. Syracuse won seven of its final nine last season, so there’s momentum for many of the returning players. The problem is how much was lost to graduation (Nassib, Pugh, Lemon, Sales, Shamarko), and how new so much of the program looks (coaching staff, conference). Can the Orange carry anything over from last season when there’s all these new dynamics?

Buckle up. It all starts on Saturday against Penn State at 3:30 p.m.

Posted: Austin Pollack

11 Comments on this Post

  1. LETS GO ORANGE!

  2. SU wins if they play error free ball.

    GO SU!!!

  3. HEy Austin pollack. I think that no matter who is the QB the team will be just fine. I know it’s your job to ask the question. Which is great. I just feel that there is confidence with both of them. With the rb situation. I think teams know how good both of our rbs are, I feel they will croud the line to hold them. This should be our receivers game. Tight end too. The one thing bout HCSS is his record in opening games. I like him. Just hope he comes out with a win. Also the thing I wonder bout is what kind of game plan our OC has in store. If he can keep PS off balance and constantly guessing than I feel this game is in our hands.

  4. Time will tell.

  5. I look for a lot of short passes, bubble screens, slants, etc. to get the QB comfortable and to open up the middle a little since everyone will be keying on the run. I think Smith is the guy. PTG is the change up and will be more effective later in the game after Smith beat them up a bit. I don’t know if they will carry anything over from last season due to all the change, except maybe a winning attitude, but I really don’t see the ACC switch affecting the team at all for this game. They have not played an ACC game yet.

  6. upstate andy,

    I agree. One concerning thing about the WR situation is that it’s kind of hard to tell who the “star” or “go-to” receiver is. Last year it was Lemon and Sales. Both are gone….

    AP

  7. zetabeta5

    Starting Hunt? The New York press will eat Shafer alive….He gets a gift of a player who was nationally ranked in high school, recruited by big time schools who we’ve never been able to recruit with for talent, spent years in the best qb program in the country (an All American and a Heisman while he was there), game experience in big time venues.and could have transferred to several other programs…and Hunt? SU was his only offer and Marrone used him on special teams..It is reported he can’t throw deep and is slower than Allen who can reportedly throw seventy yards in the air..This would not be Hunt’s first career start….It will be his first snap in a game since high school a couple of years ago..A no brainer!

  8. @zetabeta5,

    I like your post,straight to the poing and honest opinions is always welcomed here.

    Shafer already knows that Drew Allen is going to be the starter tomorrow against Penn St

    I believe Terrell Hunt will see time against Wagner and Tulane. If Drew Allen leads Syrqacuse to victories against Penn St and Northwestern,then Terrell Hunt doesn’t see the field until 2014.

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