Well, that escalated quickly. Syracuse needed double overtime to get its first win of the season–and let me tell you, it was not pretty at all.
Terrel Hunt shocked the Carrier Dome when he was ejected late in the first half for throwing a punch at a Villanova player. A missed chip shot by Villanova gave the Orange life and Syracuse took advantage with a game-winning fake FG from punter Riley Dixon to Kendall Moore.
Hunt, who was 10-of-27 for 94 yards and 27 rushing yards, was totally inexcusable, especially given the consequence that followed.
Coach Shafer addressed the ejection:
“Any time you swing at a guy, it is suppose to be called and it is an automatic ejection, so it was a good call by the officials.”
But Shafer seemed understanding of Hunt, saying after the game:
“It’s an emotional game. You suffer the punishment and then you bring him back and get going.”
Luckily for the Orange, Shafer was able to come up with a plan during halftime with backup quarterback Austin Wilson. Wilson came out of the gate, completing eight of nine passes and leading a drive down the field to put the Orange up 17-7 midway into the third quarter.
The Wildcats dominated most of the fourth quarter, tying the game with 7:14 left. However, with the missed field goal and a failed but ballsy attempt for the 2-point conversion in the second overtime, the Wildcats could not hold on.
“At that time you have to pray that the defense will make a play and they came through,” said Ashton Broyld.
The Syracuse defense looked below average for a team that relied heavily on its defense last season. Julian Whigham did not play well in the first half and got beat several times down the field. As competition will only increase, the Orange will have to tighten up its pass coverage. Syracuse got to quarterback John Robertson, but only to see him scramble for several first downs. Robertson single-handedly kept Villanova in the game with his elusive running, which will give Syracuse defenders nightmares this week.
Syracuse might have snuck out with a win, but the team has plenty of issues to attend to before heading to Central Michigan.
Posted by: Zephan Mayell