Syracuse’s Rushing Attack Finally Shows Up Making Orange More Dangerous

Without a consistent ground game from Jerome Smith and co. SU will not be nearly the team it wants to be.

When the Orange started 0-2 this season, Scott Shafer realized how important it was to get back to basics. The strength of the offense does not start with the new quarterbacks, but rather a slew of tough and tenacious running backs that showed up to play this weekend.

Many fans have wondered where the rushing threat has been thus far. It was almost non-existent against Penn State and Northwestern, mustering up a combined 204 yards in the first two games. While that would be a huge success for the Giants or Steelers, it was not nearly enough for the Orange. Shafer was not too concerned with the slow start, acknowledging the solid run defenses of both B1G teams. The story was different this weekend as SU ran all over the Seahawks for a whopping 236 yards and three touchdowns.

More impressive than just the total yardage was how many running backs were involved. Devante McFarlane scored his first career touchdown and George Morris was the 2nd leading rusher on the team. With an average of 6.2 yards in his nine carries, Morris continues to show his potential. GMII gives Shafer and Syracuse fans confidence in the running attack once Jerome Smith and PTG leave. Rome talked after the game about how important it was to let the younger guys get opportunities.

“I think we did a really good job in the beginning of the year giving them carries in games so when we got home they were used to being in front of a crowd, they were used to taking carries.”

Smith only had 61 rushing yards but two scores on the day. Even Adonis Ameen Moore got action when he is usually only used in the “Tank Package.”

Terrel Hunt and the aerial attack was the big story after the 54-0 massacre, but it was the running game that set up open receivers. Granted it was against Wagner, but a balanced offensive attack will prove vital in a few weeks. The Orange will need to create offensive flow similar to this game when it starts playing ACC schools. In fact, some think one reason why Allen has struggled has been because of a lack of a running game when he is under center. Unfortunately for Allen, Hunt seems to be responding more with his backs and receivers in the huddle than he is. That is why Shafer announced Monday than Terrel Hunt will start against Tulane, with Allen getting snaps later in game. When asked about if he thought he took the lead in the QB race after the Wagner game Hunt responded, “I’m not really worried about that. I just maximize on my opportunities and whatever the coach’s decision is that’s the coach’s. I’m more worried about the team than myself”.

With Tulane coming into the Dome, the running attack will have another opportunity to show what they are capable of. Smith still has not rushed for more than 73 yards in a game thus far and is due for a big offensive day, especially against a Conference USA school. Hunt will be relying on it to set the tone in his first career start this Saturday, because the best Syracuse offense is one that starts on the ground.

Posted: Zephan Mayell

9 Comments on this Post

  1. 4orty4our

    That quote from Hunt says it all and is the exact reason why he should be the #1 signal caller from here on out. I read a quote from a player that basically insinuated that Drew Allen was not on the same page as his WRs and RBs. The quote was along the lines of Drew being a little to harsh on his teammates following unexecuted plays. I think the QB does need to hold his teammates accountable, yet at the same time you must command that respect of your teammates in order for them to take to heart what you say. I fully support Hunt going forward and I hope that he can get better each week.

  2. Look for WR Chris Clark to be big this Saturday. zthe running game will only go as far as the O-line allows it to go.Hunt’s success also is in their level of play. I would lovr Hunt to revive an old play that was called far too often when Coach P and Deleone were around. That would be the quarterback draw. Hunt is quick enough to get some big yards on this and keep the DL honest in its charge.

  3. zetabeta5

    Give me a break….Rushing and passing successfully against the preseason #25 in Division 11 is not a serious accomplishment….Wagner would lose to most big time high school teams in California, Texas and Florida…I assume that PSU and NWU could have put up even higher numbers….Likewise, comparing Hunt’s performance against Wagner to Allen’s performance against a good PSU team and NWU…currently #17… is a joke….Is there a D1 QB or running back anywhere who wouldn’t look great against Wagner? Guess the score if NWU played Wagner? C’mon….you can do it!

  4. If Hunt had started against Psu and NW and did about as well as Allen did the “fans/supporters” of the team would have tossed him under the bus. Both of these guys are classy and this will lead the team to great success in league play.

  5. Mike Orth

    With all due respect, this is a totally useless article. 236 yards against Wagner? Who cares? Look, anyone who was paying attention at all knew there would be a QB problem this year; maybe that’s the reason Doug bailed. The running backs and the O-line will have to step up. Duh! There are some real teams coming up on the schedule. If they don’t beat Tulane, this team might not win three games. I think all right-thinking and reasonable alums and fans from Albany to Binghamton to Watertown to Buffalo will give Shafer a bit of a pass this season.

    But—-this team will really need to show some improvement in 2014 to begin to be relevant again. UConn and Temple are no longer on the schedule. No one expects to be Alabama or Ohio State. We do, however, expect relevancy, and they should be able to recruit D1 players regularly and have winning seasons. These expectations shouldn’t be a big surprise to Nancy and Darryl. If they’re surprised by these reasonable expectations, they are both in the wrong job.

    Regards- Mike O.

  6. @Mike O:
    Do you really believe Doug Marrone bailed because of a QB problem? I think the obvious facts are that he bailed to advance his career and to earn more money. Those are two pretty normal goals. He could have handled the QB situation, and I’m not sure he’d have handled it differently than HCSS did.

    I think this team will do better than most expect that it will.

  7. Did the administration match the deal the Bills offered Marrone ? If not we have a real problem.

  8. Mike Orth

    Saltine- keep your shirt on, bud. Did I say I blamed Doug for bailing? I have to believe he doubled his salary in Buffalo; I would never begrudge anyone for that career move. Any of us, especially me, would have done that. But do I think there’s a possibility that his QB situation entered into his decision? Sure. Maybe he went to Darrel and wanted a raise and a longer term contract, and Darryl said no. We don’t know, do we?

    Now back to this tem. Take a good look at the schedule and tell me which of the remaining eight games you are confident of winning. Go ahead, I’ll wait…..hmmm. I didn’t think so. Wake? Yep. Maryland? Maybe, but that one is on the road. Any others? So if they don’t beat Tulane, and they don’t pull any crazy upsets, they’ll most likely be 2-10. As Yogi Berra said, I think that’s a definite possibility.

    Now you said you think this team will do better than most expect. If you expected 2-10, then I guess 3-9 would exceed your expectations. That means they go 2-2 v. Wake, BC, Maryland and Pitt. What I said was, if they finish 2-10, they’d really need to improve next year to begin to be relevant. That’s what I think.

    When does basketball season start?

    Regards- Mike O.

  9. Mike Orth

    P.S. I’ll make you a deal. If they finish 6-6 or 7-5, I’ll come on here and eat my words.

    Regards- Mike

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