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Syracuse’s 180: Easy Wins Over Wagner & Tulane Are Not Fool’s Gold

Here’s why the blowouts over the last two weeks mean the Orange can be competitive in the ACC.

What a difference two weeks makes. Syracuse looked to be dead in the water after suffering a beat down to Northwestern at Ryan Field. Scott Shafer fielded a multitude of questions as to where the direction of this team was headed. The schedule favored the Orange to even up its record at 2-2 prior to ACC action, but SU handled Wagner and Tulane with such ease it has given fans hope. Despite these convincing victories over what some call “JV squads,” Syracuse is ready for Clemson and conference play.

We’ve now seen a complete 180 at the quarterback position, as Terrel Hunt continues to tear it up since taking over for Drew Allen. Hunt was sensational for the second straight week. He completed 14 of 17 for 168 yards and three touchdown passes in the opening 30 minutes alone. When the day was done, he accounted for five Orange TDs. SU finished the day a perfect eight for eight on red zone opportunities. Hunt continues to execute masterfully with his receivers and work nicely with the running game. Brent Axe recently looked inside Allen’s impressive numbers to date (33-for-43 for 462 yards with seven touchdowns and no interceptions, completion percentage of 76%) and it’s one of the best QBR’s in college football.

Shafer says Hunt is constantly doing what he’s asked to get the job done offensively. Hunt’s poise and demeanor heading into the Clemson game is at a very high point. There’s still plenty of room to grow as well, and even more elements to his game every drive and every play.

The running attack has finally gotten itself going, especially Jerome Smith. Last year the bulldozing back struggled most of the season to find the end zone. Now it’s a different story. Rome has already hit the end zone six times on the ground. His leadership and mental toughness have been huge for this team since the losses to start the season. Smith remains hungry for the football. Don’t forget Prince Tyson-Gulley’s 13 carry, 83 yard performance. The combination of Smith and PTG, plus other contributors in the backfield, gives Syracuse some scary dimensions. George McDonald has the bye week to rev up the playbook even more to develop this offense. He’ll need the extra time against the Tigers, one of the best teams in the nation.

The SU offense covered ground quickly against Tulane. The opening drive covered 75 yards in seven plays and 2 minutes, 21 seconds while the second chewed up the same amount of turf on the same amount of plays in one less tick of the clock. With a fast-paced offense, SU’s defense saw a lot of time on the field and it delivered once more.

Chuck Bullough’s defense was all over the place making plays and causing turnovers left and right. SU blocked a Tulane field goal attempt as well as a pair of punts. SU defenses under Shafer have been looking to not just get stops, but accumulate turnovers. The unit officially had two Saturday, one Nick Montana interception and a muffed Tulane punt. The activity from this defense is something else to watch. Constant defensive movement had the Seahawks and Green Wave looking lost. When your offense explodes for fifty plus points in back to back games, the defense can go unrecognized. It’ll need a rest and a boost with faster ACC offenses coming up.

In the last two weeks Shafer got this team to bounce back after it battled a pair of tough, solid Big 10 teams. Merge the smoothness of Hunt under center with the balanced ground game, and a stingy, gutty defense, Syracuse’s prospects are far different than two weeks ago. Clemson is an elite team. Luckily, the Orange has a solid two weeks to prepare for one of the nation’s best teams.

Posted: Brendan Glasheen

13 Comments on this Post

  1. The Cuse can still accomplish every realistic goal that was on the table before the season started, unless someone thought they could go undefeated and win a National Championship. They can still win the Atlntic Division and play in the ACC Championship game and go to a BCS bowl.We just gotta believe.

  2. orangeinva

    Fla St at their place is “mission impossible”. They ate PITT alive..of course so did Duke as they hung 50+ on the Panthers.
    Clemson at our place has the look of the Lville and West Va. games of the past few years. The main problem I see is can our DBs stay with Clemson’s WRs. If yes…we win.

  3. I’m a believer. It could go this way, we beat Clemson at our place and Clemson beats Florida St. State beats SU, we all have one loss in the Div. It comes down to who does the best at the other Div games and I think all of our other Div games are winnable. It’s not out of the question that we win the Division. After that we take on Miami for the ACC championship

  4. A Cuse/Cane ACC Championship would rejuvenate the old rivalry.

  5. hey you guys I’m feeling the Love here. Hold on a minute,please let me check to see if I’m still on the Orangefizz website?

    Just finished checking other threads and sure enough I am on the ORANGEFIZZ!!!!!!

    Thanks for your comments fella’s,you’ve made an old man very happy. Yes Terry I still believe that we’re going to beat Clemson.

  6. @JB;

    After watching a few of the ACC games JB,starting a rivalry with anyone of the other teams would be great for me. But I think the natural would be Boston College and Pittsburgh. Maybe after spending a couple of years and becoming successful in the ACC everyone will want to play Syracuse and mark it as one of the big games of the season,just like all of the schools in the old Big East did.

    I wonder what WVA is feeling now that they jumped ship to the Big 12 and is getting their rear ends kicked on a weekly basis?

  7. Ron,BC or Pitt,I agree!The “U”?Lets start winning regular again before talking about Fla rivals with the guy who thinks UCF is the #1 team in Fla!Heck they(Miami) can’t get fans to there home games anymore for some reason in the last 4/5 years?

  8. @Russell Stugots;

    I think BC and Pitt would be tyhe best for an old rivalry to form replacing the likes of WVA. I thought that I would never say this Russell,but after watching some the other ACC teams play this year,Syracuse Football is really becoming interesting.

    I’ve always hated Duke and North Carolina. Lost a lot of respect for Miami and Virginia Tech for leaving the Big East. In the end,after I calmed down, I’m happy that we jumped ship to the ACC. I think we’re going to surprise a lot of people and do ok in the new league Russell.

    I’m looking forward to the day Syracuse becomes a perennial power in the league.

  9. Ron I have the same thoughts on WVU. They did what they had to do, I don’t think the ACC would take them, so without the B1G or SEC, they went to their only option. Their coach supposedly knows that conference. I say supposedly because it hasn’t shown on the field. I don’t think he’s a good recruiter or strategist. He seems to have focused too much on on side of the ball and then abandoned the areas they got most of the talent to make that offense run. WVU started a slow fall when Rich Rod left. We are now starting to see the depths of damage they sustained in all their moves after his departure. Holgerson will go down as their GROB

  10. Yes Malone I also am saddened by WVU’s slow gradual decline after rising to #5 nationally early last year in the rankings!No east coast kids seem to want to play in a Texahoma conference so Holgersen is leading them down a Grob-type path into strange-fruit recruiting grounds where there is no historical ties!Too bad the Acc didn’t see the value their teams(WVU) bring to perception of our new conference but now w/o Texas the Big12 now seems shaky with limited national appeal?The ACC should be fine now though!

  11. @Malone,Russell Stugots;

    I agree that Rich Rod should never have left WVA. Wasn’t we all told about how much of a genius Holgersen was? I just haven’t seen anything close yet,have you?

    The way I’m reading and understanding some articles about Texas is Head Coach Mac Brown will be gone after the 2013 season and at this point is only conjucture/speculation that the ACC might go after Texas. I feel if that does indeed happen the Big 12 is history.

    @Malone,As of 8:00 pm on Thursday Sept.25 2013,I haven’t seen any construction equipment at the new facility yet. What gives? I know things take time,but come on,when you have ground breaking ceremonies one day you usually start construction the following day.

    Oh!!!!!Russell and Malone,I’m in no way feeling sorry for WVA.

  12. Ron,my mom lives with my sister in my WVU grad nephew so the whole house by proxy have been WVU fans since “99/03″ so for them I feel…Im indifferent about them but they belong in the East!How can Rich Rod live with himself desserting a winner at his home state school of which he’s an alum?Now he’s a “rolling stone” sorta homeless!

  13. for some Russell,you know the old saying,it’s always greener on the other side of the fence. Well it might have been greener for RR because of the amount of money he recieved from Michigan. If I were in his shoes and had what he had at WVA,I would have never left. For some of us Russell there are things more important to us than money,gaining ones respect/honesty and being truthful are just a few of them.

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